Actor Raj Arjun, who will next be seen in 'Shershaah' with Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani, said that he is not fond of the label 'supporting actor' and opines that he is an actor in its entirety.
Raj Arjun is known for his versatile roles in films like 'Secret Superstar,' 'Rowdy Rathore', 'Raees', 'Black Friday', 'Dear Comrade', and 'Watchman' among others.
In an exclusive interaction with the Free Press Journal, Raj said that he has an objection to being called a 'supporting actor'. "Honestly, I would not like to be a part of any film in which the script can move without my character. I consider myself an actor because I might play any kind of role, and the film would be incomplete with me. So, I prefer being called an actor rather than a supporting actor," he said, insisting that he enjoys playing all sorts of roles.
The actor will essay the role of Subedar Raghunath in 'Shershaah'. Talking about his role in the biographical war drama and how he prepared for it, Raj said, "When Vishnuvardhan (director of 'Shershaah) narrated the script to me, I loved it. Overall, it was an amazing experience working for the film. We went to Kargil and shot there. We met Army officers, spent time with them to prepare ourselves for the film. I also met the Subedar there and in a few days, he became a good friend. All of them were very supportive. We used to wake up at 3 am every day to get the vibe and at some point, we even felt that we were in the Army."
"We were also trained to climb mountains and jump on huge rocks. Before going on the field, we used to watch and learn all those things on a projector. Also, due to some reason, our shoot got postponed for a couple of days but that was an advantage as we got some more time to spend with the officers. This is my first Dharma film and shooting with them has been a completely new experience for me. All in all, it has been a wonderful experience," the actor added.
'Shershaah' is scheduled to release on August 12 on Amazon Prime Video.
The actor earned accolades and several awards for his role of a conservative and abusive husband in the superhit film 'Secret Superstar' in 2017. However, he has not had a Bollywood release since then. But the actor gave hits down South and also has a string of films, web series and short films that he has shot in this period.
Raj further said that even though 'Secret Superstar' was a turning point in his life and career, he did not get the kind of roles that he had expected. "Whatever roles came to me after 'Secret Superstar', were very mediocre, though the films were big. I have been choosy for work and I'm always on a hunt for something which can fulfill my need as an actor. As far as my performance is concerned, I try to go higher and higher. I didn't get much work in Bollywood after 2017 but got good offers in the South Indian film industry. I did films like 'Dear Comrade', 'Watchman' among a few others," Raj said.
Raj also spoke about his career before 'Secret Superstar' happened and how the film changed his life. "I became more confident after that film and people also started looking at me differently. It not only gave me fame and recognition but also helped me grow as an actor. I did very small roles before in films before Secret Superstar, however, in 2015, I decided to look for something big. I had never thought in my life that I would get the kind of roles that I am being offered now. Pehle main logo ke peeche bhaagta tha kaam ke liye aur ab log mere baare me soch rahe hai. I got want I wanted after 16 years of struggle and now I think that if this would have happened easily, then I might not have given that kind of importance to my work which I am giving today," the actor added.
The constant struggle during the initial days of his acting career was to make sure that filmmakers and audiences recognise him. Raj also said that doing different kinds of roles in films has also helped him to flourish over the last few years as he was scared of being typecast.
Raj was recently applauded for his character in the short film 'Natkhat', which also starred actress Vidya Balan. It also won the top prize at the third edition of Best Of India Short Film Festival 2020, which makes it eligible for Oscar nomination. The short film was released digitally on July 24. Two of his other short films - 'Pilibhit' and 'The Miniaturist of Junagarh' are also travelling around the world in different festivals and garnering a lot of appreciation.