Did Rajkummar Rao help girlfriend Patralekha bag City Lights?

“Do you think Bhatt sahab and Hansal Mehta will cast me because I am in a relationship with Rajkummar?” – Patralekha

The new Mahesh Bhatt film, CityLights, stars Rajkummar Rao with his longtime girlfriend Patralekha, who makes her debut. Considering how close Rao has grown to the Bhatts (he is also doing their next film, Hamari Adhuri Kahani) and Hansal Mehta (with whom he has done Shahid), it was being tomtommed that it was Rajkummar who had got the role for his girlfriend in the film.

Exasperated, Patralekha fires: “Everybody is asking me the same thing. Do you think that Bhatt sahab and Hansal Mehta will cast me because I am in a relationship? Of course not! You can’t take that credit away from them. Hansal sir will never compromise with his work. I would suggest that people should go and watch the film … then everybody will realise I didn’t get the film because I am dating Rajkummar. I have put up tremendous hard work to reach where I am today.”

Patralekha also worked hard to slip into her character of a village woman. “I understood her angst but she is a complete antithesis of me. I am an independent urban girl and my upbringing is very western but Rakhi has been brought up in a male-dominated society. The only thing I could connect with was her strength. I spent three weeks in Rajasthan to understand their way of living, the way they speak and body language.”

What also gave her confidence was to have Rajkummar acting alongside. She refuses to deliberate on how different Rajkummar is in reel and real life, saying, “He is not the person that he is onscreen. I have no opinion about Rajkummar — he is my boy friend and that’s it.” At the same time, she acknowledges there was “tremendous pressure.” She explains: “He had just finished Shahid so there was a certain level of performance that I had to live up to. I didn’t want to let anyone down because they had faith in me.”

Don’t however pin Patralekha down as someone who succumbs to pressure. She declares: “I am a very strong headed girl. I believe in setting a goal and achieving it. Nothing can deter me.”

- Anita Britto, Bollywood News Service

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