At close quarters, Rajpal Yadav looks small and simple- not unlike the typically non-descript rustic man he portrays so often on screen. Clad in a white Nike T-shirt and blue jeans, he settles down on the sofa and politely asks, “Would you mind if I smoke?” Then, blowing away big spirals of smoke, he starts answering my questions and soon, it becomes apparent than behind this simple exterior lies a sincere, talented artist blessed with a sharp thinking mind. He is happy when I start conversing in Hindi and is quite candid in sharing his thoughts on his career. Quite a few times, our conversation gets interrupted by passers-by in the hotel lobby who request him to pose with them for photographs. Funny part is when some of them then ask him his name! He takes it in his stride- after all, he has just begun his journey to fame!
Here are the excerpts of our conversation:
On why he became an actor:
My parents wanted me to become a doctor. So dutifully I joined the Science stream in college. But I was an average student and hated all those lab experiments. Finally I switched to Arts stream for graduation. Meanwhile I had started doing roles in college plays and even had joined a local theatre group. The public appreciation that I got as an actor in one such play- Andher Nagari Chaupat Raja made me change my career choice.
I then realized that acting not only made me happy but it also satisfied my inner urge to be recognized. It became my passion and what better way than to convert your passion into your profession!
On his training as an actor:
Like in any field, training is important for an actor. I did a two year-diploma in acting from Lucknow’s BharatenduNatyaAcademy and then, received further training at Delhi’s National School of Drama for further three years. Earlier I was a raw actor but this training gave me the technical know-how and the confidence to tackle different characters in different situations. There I learnt to experiment and also to explore new things about acting. After this stint, I felt that I was ready to seek higher goals in my field and thus, made my way to Mumbai.