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for the game and his friends,” Rajput says.
In 2005, Rajput dropped out of college and moved to Mumbai, where he joined Nadira Babbar’s theatre production company, Ekjute. “I had to start somewhere and theatre felt like a good place to do so,” he says.
Television followed theatre soon enough. A Balaji Telefilms employee, impressed by his performance in a play titled Pukar, invited him to audition for the role of Manav, a self-respecting mechanic in Pavitra Rishta on Zee TV.
His stint in television not only trained him to act before the camera, it also whetted his appetite for more. “After four years of playing Manav, I wasn’t learning anything new in terms of acting. I quit at a time the show was about to take a leap, and decided to wait till something good came my way,” he says.
The opportunity presented itself sooner than he had thought, in the form of an audition for Kai Po Che. “When I had signed on Kai Po Che, I was called to audition for Peekay. It’s all fallen into place on its own,” he says. Not one to attribute much to luck, Rajput believes hard work always pays off. While thousands of others who are still struggling for a break in Bollywood may disagree, Rajput says he was equally happy and satisfied when he was doing theatre. “Yes, I was travelling in a rickshaw back then and I have a fancy SUV now, which is great, but I get as excited to play an interesting character in a film as I used to when I would prepare for a theatre performance,” he says.
The actor credits his stint in theatre for learning the techniques of acting. “One may believe that theatre needs spontaneity but in truth, it demands that an actor perform a scene repeatedly with the same intensity and freshness each time. As jaded as I may sound, it taught me the importance of researching the character, so that I can look for the stimulus when I need it,” he says.
Jaded or not, Rajput is currently being viewed as a rising star in Bollywood. His moving and honest performance in Kai Po Che proved that he can carry a film on his shoulders, becoming Banerjee’s choice for playing the iconic character from Bengali literature, detective Byomkesh Bakshi.
“We needed a young star with a growing following, but who is not yet overexposed,” says Banerjee, explaining