Rajkumar Rao – “I have been dating Patralekha for more than three years.”

“I am very proud of my relationship (with Patralekha). I have been dating her for more than three years.”

Your recent films – Kai Po Chhe, Shahid and Queen — have transformed your career.

It’s just that I was getting film offers post Kai Po Chhe. If I got 20 scripts a month earlier, now I am getting 40 scripts a month.

In your next film CityLights, you play a small-town guy. Do you identify with the character?

My character in the film, Deepak, belongs to a village whereas I am from a small town, Gurgoan. When I first came to Mumbai, I found it a very different city from Gurgoan; it was very fast paced. So somewhere there were similarities but my difficulties were not similar to Deepak’s. My challenge was to look for that one film; everyone goes through a struggle and so did I.

CityLights is your second association with director Hansal Mehta after Shahid.

With Hansal sir, it’s going to be lifelong association now; we share a special bond. On the very first day we met there was this natural connection. We understand each other really well and don’t need too many words to communicate on the sets.

Hansal (Mehta) says that you are his muse and praises your acting abilities to the skies.

I don’t mind being his muse but I think we have lot of great actors in the industry ­­ — Irfan Khan, Aamir Khan, Manoj Bajpai. I also really like Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh’s work.

Actors are often secretive about their relationship whereas you have been quite open about your relationship with the CityLights leading lady, Patralekha.

I don’t think there is any harm. I am very proud of my relationship; I am not ashamed of it, so there is no reason to hide it. A lot of my friends from the industry knew about us.

Are you worried that this will shift the spotlight away from the film?

Not at all, the film is too strong to take away the spotlight.

How long have you been dating her?

I have been dating her for more than three years.

What kind of advice did you give Patralekha since she is new in the industry?

I didn’t give her any advice; she is a very natural actor, very organic in her process.

You have many interesting projects coming up with the likes of Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan.

Dolly Ki Dolly is a light-hearted fun film and I have almost finished shooting for it. It was a breather for me after doing character like Deepak and Shahid. Sonam is a fantastic human being. She’s a fun-loving girl who is equally serious about her work as well.

Then there is Humari Adhuri Kahani with Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi that Bhatt saab is writing straight from his heart. There’s still time before that shoot commences.

Buzz is you are doing a film with Ramesh Sippy.

Yes, it’s a love story.

And you have a road film too…

Yes I will be doing a film with Akash Khuranna which Bejoy (Jain) is producing. It’s a story of a loner Avinash who has to deliver a dead body. It’s a fun comedy about his relationship with his father; and his journey both internal and external.

- Anita Britto, Bollywood News service

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