Hey People! I have actor Raj Arjun ji with me in this week’s #BlabWithSandy. His act in Aamir Khan and Zaira Wasim’s Secret Superstar won rave reviews. After acting in a number of Tamil films, he recently made his Tollywood debut in Vijay Deverakonda’s Dear Comrade.
The interesting part is, he and I have a great bonding with the city of Bhopal. Let’s dive into the blab I had with him:
Sandy: Hello Raj ji! What’s up? Could you let us know a little about your background?
Raj: I belong to Bhopal and lived in Bairagarh (much like your family :)). I studied at Saraswati school and was the school captain. I used to participate in dramas and was never really interested in being a part of our family business.
I got inclined towards acting and joined theatre. I became serious about making my career in acting and started prepping myself for NSD, though I could not pass, haha! I lost my dad in 1999 February and in July I came to Mumbai. Things weren’t working out and I went back to Bhopal.
I joined my family business for 5-6 months but literally felt like a dead body. I again went to Mumbai and tested my luck in acting. Many years passed by, but nothing was going right. Finally, I got a very small role in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday and I accepted it. The film has difficult times in its release.
I did many small roles in films like RGV’s Company, Gayab, D, and ones wherein I am one of the 4-5 people standing behind the hero (laughs).
Sandy: Interesting indeed! What was your first claim to fame?
Raj: I got a meaty role in RGV’s Shabri which had Isha Koppikar in the lead. Unfortunately, the film got delayed. My role in Kaalo was appreciated. I did act in Tamil films too such as Thandavam, Thalaiva, Devi 2, etc.
At a point of time I had long hair and beard, and that’s how I was picked for a small part in Rowdy Rathore. I was also seen in Raees and Satyagraha (were my role was cut). But, my main claim to fame must be Secret Superstar!
Sandy: How did Secret Superstar happen for you?
Raj: After years of small appearances, I took a decision to wait. I sincerely feel, if you give time to Universe and try your best with shear determination, things shall fall into place. There were days where I used to feel bad and cry. I used to find anger within me and show it on people, especially on casting directors that why aren’t they picking an actor like me?
When I got to audition for Secret Superstar, I told my brothers. They were like it must be a documentary and not a feature film. 🙂 I auditioned for the role and I must say, it isn’t an easy process to be picked by Aamir Khan.
He is so clear in what he wants that even the audition and workshop process take time. I was picked by the casting director but, after some time he left the team. Once again auditions had begun, and I was like, phir se karna padega. To my bad luck, my pulse wasn’t good during the second time of auditioning and it did not go as per plan.
But, as I said, the Universe shall bring you things if you wait with true instincts. They saw my initial audition tape and picked me. Meher Vij also wasn’t the first choice. Actresses were changing in the period of one year. We had a mock shoot wherein we had to shoot certain scenes and send them.
This was the main hurdle and I was lucky enough to cross it. Once the workshops and selections were done, there wasn’t any involvement of Aamir Khan after that!
Sandy: Looks like a different journey altogether. 🙂 Talking about Dear Comrade, a few snippets on it and Vijay Devarakonda?
Raj: I feel Secret Superstar paved way for me in the South. I was never looking out for quantity but only quality. Director Bharath Kamma’s assistant Ramu saw Secret Superstar and told Bharath about me. Bharath was keen to put me onboard for Dear Comrade and the interesting fact is, producer Yash Rangineni too, on the side lines was interested to pick me for the film. 🙂
It has been an awesome journey in Tollywood for me. Vijay Devarakonda and Rashmika Mandanna are wonderful co-stars. I thoroughly enjoyed my work whilst shooting for the film. Without talking, if one can understand the emotions of a role, then this would be it!
Quick Shot Round:
- Love: It’s a feeling
- Bollywood: Passion
- A film that you regret doing: None
- Directors that you’d love to work with: The list is big Sandeep, ha-ha! I would say SS Rajamouli, Murugadoss, Raju Hirani, Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, Neeraj Pandey, Advait Chauhan
- You are stuck in an Island and can take three things with you. What would those be? My beti, beta, aur ration paani 🙂
- Imagine being stuck in a lift and you can tag along three people. Who would those three be? Bachchan saab, Alia Bhatt, and Ranbir Kapoor
- One good thing and one bad thing about the film industry: Bad is that people are not straightforward. They twist their words. And, cinema making is itself a good thing
- Vijay Deverakonda: A wonderful soul
- Dream Role: No dream roles as such
- Biggest regret in life: No major regrets. Just that I was doing small roles and the fight was with myself, so I do not categorize it as a regret
Sandy: Your daughter Sara Arjun has already done some remarkable works in her acting career. Few snippets her acting journey so far.
Raj Arjun: Yes, she is a well-known child actress. Right from the age of two, she has been into acting. I say, she is a born to be an actress. I was earlier known as Sara’s father but now, people have started calling her as Raj Arjun’s daughter, ha-ha-ha! Happy to see her work which is more of quality and class.
Sandy: Any piece of advice that you’d like to give to the newcomers?
Raj: It is difficult to sustain but at the same time, if you are true to yourself, one or the other day chance shall come to you from nowhere. Keeping pushing yourself hard and as I said, Universe shall make things happen for you.
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you?
Raj: I am currently shooting in Kargil for movie Shershaah which stars Siddharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani. It is being produced by Karan Johar. Other interesting things are coming soon.
Sandy: A few words about Hyderabad Local.
Raj: I feel that your words come from the heart and you are a genuine person. You try to bring out the thoughts that are inbuilt inside a person and want to know the personal journey of ours rather than just concentrating on the movie aspect, and I love this thing about you.
I appreciate your work, it is sensible. It is great talking with you Sandy!
Editor’s note: Wishing Raj Arjun ji a remarkable film career ahead. It is my pleasure getting to know more about this talented man, and with all the goodness that he carries, I got to term him as bade bhayya. All the best Raj Arjun ji.