A TWO-DECADE-LONG journey has seen award-winning actor Rajesh Kumar star in popular TV shows and demonstrate his versatility with a wide array of characters.
The prolific Indian small screen star has used lockdown to slow down, spend quality time with his family, learn cooking and do yoga. He has also had a chance to look back on his amazing acting journey filled with highs, including starring in legendary TV serial Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai.
Eastern Eye caught up with Rajesh Kumar to talk about his journey, acting and hopes.
How do you look back on your acting journey?
It’s been two decades and when I look back I think I am doing fine. The initial days were the starters and the main course is still happening. I am still at 2-3pm of my career, so the sun is not going to set very soon. Thankfully, people have admired and loved my work. So that work will fortunately not stop. The bond with the producers has grown and matured me as an actor. I have learned a lot and that learning is still going on.
You have played a lot of roles, but what has been your favourite?
Undoubtedly Rosesh (Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai) is my favourite and like a gold medal for me. That was a tough role to play, but the best part about it was that it got properly recognised when the serial went off air and subsequent generations appreciated it. Even a seven-year-old kid loves it, even though Rosesh was created before they were born. So that’s why it is my favourite.
Which role challenged you the most?
There are a couple of them. My title role in Mrs & Mr Sharma Allahabadwale was challenging because it was a completely different dialect and tone. Rosesh was even more challenging. The role in my current project Excuse Me Madam is also very challenging because I have my look from real life, but need to create a new character.
Who has been the most memorable person you have worked with?
One of the most memorable was the late Manohar Singh. I did the serial Kaun Apna Kaun Paraya with him back in 2001-2002. He taught me discipline, as an actor and in real life. I learned a lot from him and miss him. We had a father-son kind of bond. I didn’t go to drama school, but under him learned a lot.
Which is the genre that you most like?
I love thrillers and comedy. With both genres, story,
content and character is very important. So, these genres are very challenging.
What can we expect next from you?
There is a long way to go with my current serial Excuse Me Madam, so I don’t know what I will do next. But after it gets over, I want to play a negative role and am waiting for something great in that space.
Do you have a dream role?
I would love to play Kamal Haasan’s characters in Chachi 420, Pushpak or Nayakan. These are definitely my dream kind of roles.
What according to you is the secret of a great performance on-screen?
Discipline, relentlessly working towards making a character and enjoying the process, rather than thinking of the outcome. To be very honest with your work and respect whatever you get, and make the best of it.
What is it that inspires you as an actor?
Being able to play different personalities with the same physical appearance inspires me a lot. You get to be anything you can’t in real life, whether it is a father, son, officer, killer, lover, good husband, bad husband or anything else. It is very inspiring that you get to play so many roles and live so many lives, which you can’t do in your own life.
Why do you love your job as an actor?
There are amazing perks to being an actor, but I like that you can provoke so many reactions and emotions. People can feel, know, hate, admire and love you. And they can be inspired by you when the work is meaningful.