Taking part in the dialogue on the need for a level playing field in Bollywood — voiced by actors Kunal Kemmu and Vidyut Jammwal after being snubbed by an OTT platform during the announcement of their films — Gajraj Rao hopes that the industry would now start functioning in the right way.
The audience knows what they want to accept or reject, says the senior actor. “I also want to get that space for myself, and why not? We need equal opportunities for everyone, whether one flourishes or not depends on their talent. It’s the audience who gives the final verdict and viewers can’t be fooled,” he opines.
The 50-year-old elaborates that when one goes to a theatre to watch a film, whether it has stars or no star doesn’t matter to them.
“Agar aisa hota to Badhaai Ho successful nahi hoti. We all know what happens to films of even big stars. There was so much talk around Thugs of Hindostan (2018), big stars and much money being spent, but it’s for everyone to see what happened when it released. People forgot about the film in three days,” says the Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan actor.
Sharing his views on the ongoing discussions around nepotism and favouritism, Rao agrees that they both happen but is quick to point that it’s there in every profession.
“A lot of the popular actors in the industry are outsiders. If you see many stars kids haven’t done well. And there are others who’ve surpassed their parents like Hrithik Roshan, or Tiger Shroff, who has created his own space in the industry. Being born in a certain family isn’t a crime, you need to have it in you (to make it big). In fact, I sympathise with these star kids; they have this extra pressure on them to prove themselves,” he opines.
Satisfied with his career graph so far, the actor doesn’t really believe in any sort of comparisons. “If I start thinking ‘Had I got this fame earlier, it would’ve been better’ or ‘Ab toh kya yeh level playing field jo chal raha hai chalne do’, then I won’t be able to work. Such things happen to us all. I know of actors who’re far more talented than I am, who haven’t got their due yet,” he shares, adding that at least he is getting to play central and substantial characters now.
However, he feels, “This might not be permanent. After some time, I might start getting roles having seven or right scenes like I did in Black Friday. Ambition hai, par main usme beh nahi jaata.”
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ