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How Newton's Rajkummar Rao is turning into a star, and a profitable one, in Bollywood

It is safe to say that most of his movies are either critically acclaimed or commercial success or both.

Anwesha Madhukalya   New Delhi     Last Updated: September 26, 2017  | 13:54 IST
How Newton's Rajkummar Rao is turning into a star, and a profitable one, in Bollywood
PC: YouTube


This article contains potential spoilers.

In Newton, when the protagonist Nutan Kumar figures out the covert forces at play, he sticks out a gun and demands that the polling be held as per the rules laid out by the Election Commission. Nutan Kumar is caked in dirt and sweat but refuses to lower the gun till the spare voters finish casting their votes. That scene, pinnacle of the entire film, effortlessly captures the state of the Indian democracy at loggerheads with an honest-to-a-fault but rookie government worker, who has sworn to uphold all the prescribed rules in the textbook.
Every frame in Amit Masurkar's Newton with Rajkummar Rao in it would make the viewer realise that perhaps no other actor could have done justice to Nutan Kumar's character. But then the viewers could also watch Adarsh, the debt-ridden supermarket supervisor in Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, or Vijay in Queen, even Shaurya in Trapped or Shahid Azmi in Shahid and think the same.
Not only one of India's best character actors, with the recent successes of Shahid, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Newton, Rajkummar Rao has proven that he is also currently one of the country's most bankable and profitable actors. A look back at his selection of characters would make one realise that he has a filmography like no one else's. It is safe to say that most of his movies are either critically acclaimed or commercial success or both.

As of now, Rao has starred in a host of indie movies, and ones that are small to medium-budget. However, that has not stopped these movies from minting money at the box office, mostly due to their unusual content. Love, Sex Aur Dhokha made on an estimated budget of Rs 4.5 crore, collected an estimated Rs 11.52 crore, while an estimated Rs 1.3 crore went into the making of Ragini MMS and in return it collected Rs 9 crore. 

The surprise hit, Kai Po Che!, was made on a budget of Rs 30 crore and earned Rs 72 crore in return, while it took only a meagre Rs 12.5 crore for Queen, which in return fetched a whopping Rs 108 crore. Similarly, City Lights was made on a budget of Rs 5 crore and earned Rs 35 crore in return, while Shahid was made on a budget of Rs 9.2 crore, while it earned an impressive Rs 58 crore.

His recent successes Bareilly Ki Barfi and Newton are still running in theatres.
While he is part of the ensemble cast of a lot of these movies, there are a couple like Trapped, City Lights, Shahid and now, Newton, that relied solely on his shoulders and saw encouraging results.

In his career spanning six years and an odd 21 movies, Rao has already received a National Award and is already part of a movie India is sending as its official submission for the Academy Awards. Not only have critics and audiences continuously appreciated his work, he has also effectively managed to pull in his loyal fanbase to the theatres.

After the initial reactions for Newton poured in, trade analyst Taran Adarsh took to Twitter to point out the obvious problem with Bollywood movies that have been failing to pull in crowds recently. As Newton saw packed halls during the weekend, Taran Adarsh pointed out that the viewer is only staying away from substandard content - something Rajkummar Rao seems to have found the answer to.



True to what critics have been pointing out all along - good content sells. Although there will always be a Khan or a Kapoor to deliver the big-budget commercial movies, we could always do with a Rajkummar Rao or a Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who are gradually being appreciated for their foolproof and unusual content.


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