Rajkummar Rao really won hearts after his gorgeous wedding with Patralekha in 2021. But before that, he was the star who broke through Bollywood’s walls of nepotism and created some stunning masterpieces.
Born in Gurgaon as Raj Kumar Yadav, the actor is one of the few in the industry who rose to fame from scratch. He is a student of the famous Film and Television Institute of India where he studied for 2 years in 2008. He moved to Mumbai after graduating and kickstarted his magnificent career. There is much to be said about the 38-year-old star’s impact on Bollywood movies. From his debut in Love, Sex Aur Dhokha to the highlights of his career with Shahid, Citylights and Badhaai Do, Rajkummar Rao shows us that true talent can never be hidden.
If you want to experience his Bollywood movies, here are a few films for binge-watching this weekend.
Kai Po Che (2013)
Kai Po Che is a feel-good movie based on the popular novel by Chetan Bhagat - 3 Mistakes of My Life. The story follows the lives of three friends in rural Gujarat who are hellbent on building a cricket academy together. However, in their dedication to pursuing their dreams, things take an unexpected turn that changes their lives forever. This is one of Rajkummar Rao’s first films where he set the tone for his acting style as that adorable boy next door. The movie was nominated for 34 awards and featured the late Sushant Singh Rajput as well.
Ludo is one of the few films that take Bollywood storytelling to a whole new level. The anthology-cum-movie focuses on four different characters, their stories and how their lives intertwine in the end. Rajkummar Rao stars opposite Fatima Sana Shaikh as Kabir Sagar, a die-hard Mithun fan who is madly in love with her. His impactful performance really sets the tone for the upbeat, high-paced movie and this is one of his many characters that will be remembered for a long time. The movie also features the famous Pankaj Tripathi, Abhishek Bachchan and Sanya Malhotra. It makes for the perfect weekend family movie.
Based on the book of the same name by Aravind Adiga, the White Tiger is a film released by American Director Ramin Bahrani. The dark crime drama, lined with some comedy, follows the life of Ashok, a driver who rises to the top with his cunning and wit. It is a gripping story with Priyanka Chopra as the female lead. Inspired by the New York Times Bestseller, the movie was nominated for several awards, including one Academy Award. It is perfect for binge-watching, but keep in mind that it has received an ‘R’ rating. Due to the violence and sexuality involved, it’s best to not watch it with your kids.
Of all movies that feature Rajkummar Rao, Shahid is a true masterpiece. The dark biography and drama tell the true story of a Human Rights lawyer on a path to seek justice. Based on the life of Shahid Azmi it follows the lawyer’s journey against the communal tensions in India. He was slain after being wrongly imprisoned under the anti-terrorism law which led him to become a criminal lawyer. We love Rajkummar Rao’s suits in this movie as he brought a complex character to life. It was nominated for several awards, including Filmfare Awards and the Bombay International Film Festival. Rajkumar Rao’s body transformation for this film also won him the Best Actor Award at the National Film Awards in India in 2014. He was also nominated for the New York Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in 2013.
In a revolutionary development in Hindi cinema, Badhaai Do shed light on the LGBTQ+ community in India. It revolves around the lives of Shardul Thakur (played by Rajkummar Rao), a gay police officer who is constantly under the pressure of getting married. He gets into a wedding contract with Sumi (played by Bhumi Pednekar), a lesbian teacher who is stuck in the same quagmire as him. Chaos ensues when their families try to push them into having children. The actors’ brilliant performances make the movie a good watch. Rajkummar Rao was also nominated for Best Actor at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne for this role. It’s a fun, light-hearted family movie.
Monica, O My Darling
Few roles match the sinister one that Rajkummar Rao plays in this comedy-thriller. Starring Huma Qureshi, the actor plays the lead role of a young engineer who has worked his way up to become the CEO of a massive MNC. However, his secret love affair threatens to topple his house of cards by revealing her pregnancy. In order to keep it from his fiance (the daughter of the company’s ex-CEO), he plans the murder of two other victims of this femme fatale. However, things don’t really go as per his plan. Rajkummar Rao plays a convincing role that keeps you hooked to the screen. The movie has a parental rating of U/A in India and is appropriate for viewers older than 16 years.
Bareilly Ki Barfi
Bareilly Ki Barfi is a beautiful light-hearted movie set in the gorgeous town of Bareilly. Not only does it show you the beauty of this town, but it also reveals the poignant acting of its cast. Rajkummar Rao plays the supporting role of Pritam Vidrohi, Ayushmann Khurrana’s friend in the film. In the movie, Khurrana coaxes him to pretend to be the author of a book that Bitti (played by Kirti Sanon) gets hooked on. They meet on her quest to meet her author but chaos ensues. This is one fun Bollywood movie, perfect for light-hearted binge-watching.
Some other movies that come recommended are Stree, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha, Newton and Roohi. Shimla Mirch, a film starring the actor, was one of the many foreign films remade into Hindi.