Rajkummar Rao: “Lavender marriage is a personal choice. To each their own”

Rajkummar Rao: “Lavender marriage is a personal choice. To each their own”

The award-winning actor and former Khush Wedding cover star shares his view about relationships and how his upcoming film Badhaai Do celebrates marriages of all shapes and sizes

ARTICLE BY : Nupur Sarvaiya


To say that Rajkummar Rao has had an exciting past few months and an equally exciting year ahead would be an understatement, and I look at the star with in-your-face awe when he shares his schedule for the new year. On November 15, 2021, the former Khush cover star and his long-time girlfriend and actor Patralekhaa Paul got married in an intimate ceremony in Chandigarh, India. From his real wedding to prepping and promoting a reel one, Rajkummar goes on to reveal the big-little things about his upcoming film, Badhaai Do that sensitively spotlights lavender marriages. When one of Bollywood’s most bankable actors and I caught up, it was for the promotional rounds of this much-awaited comedy drama film, set to release on February 11, 2022.

The plot unfolds

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In Badhaai Do, Rajkummar beautifully inhabits the role of Shardul Thakur, a gay cop who rallies with a lesbian PT teacher Suman Singh (Bhumi Pednekar) to get their conversative parents and society off their backs. Rather than coming out, the duo hacks a plan to have a marriage of convenience, so they can live like roommates, and in turn, enjoy their personal lives. “When Suman’s girlfriend returns, a comedy of errors starts. But it also becomes very emotional and sensitive in the end,” Rajkummar says. The movie revolves around the social subject of homosexuality, but takes the light-hearted approach to tell the tale. While it’s not love that brings Shardul and Suman together, Badhaai Do’s dominant theme is “love”, assures Rajkummar two minutes into our conversation. “External pressures of the world can sometimes cause two people to get messed up. It may seem like a comedy in tragedy, but from a larger perspective, it’s not an ideal situation to be in for anybody. We have treated such situations and relationships with humour not in a way to make fun of anyone but to see the funny side of things, and above all, we have treated the film with a lot of respect for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Point of view
But can a lavender marriage stand the test of time? “I have many friends in the LGBTQ+ community, some of whom know people in such arrangements and have been married for decades. Personally, I think to each their own. Lavender marriage is a personal choice,” expresses Rajkummar earnestly.

I recall Rajkummar’s role in the biopic Aligarh—a journalist on the mission to support and fight for LGBTQ+ rights—to now, playing a queer character instead. “I could understand the pain, the frustration, the loneliness one can go through. Shardul wants to come out in the open, but he’s too scared of the repercussions. Anyone in his place would constantly be living in fear, where coming out would mean his relationship with his family and friends and professional life would get hampered,” he shares.

Ahead of the pack

Just the trailer of the movie showcases Rajkummar playing a gay policeman with a beefed up body and six-pack abs with such steadfastness and nuance that I wouldn’t have been able to buy it had he not been sitting in front of me in his honest-to-God authenticity: casual navy hoodie, wide-eyed smile and candidness. His muscular physique is certainly a progresseive nod to the female gaze. But I inquire if the role warranted it? “Being a homosexual is a small part of Shardul’s life. He’s dealing with the problems in his professional life, problems with his family, his relatives. Shardul is a very layered character—he’s a loner, he’s closeted about his sexual orientation. The director of Badhaai Do, Harshavardhan [Kulkarni] asked me to get into this shape, and when you watch the film, you’ll understand that there’s a strong reasoning behind why Shardul is so passionate about body-building and why he works out every day. I have never had to prep so hard to get into this shape for any role before, and since my character in Badhaai Do demanded a muscular body, I got a chance to work on it. Not only did I enjoy working towards it, but it also gave me a different kind of body language,” Rajkummar explains.

Catch the entire interview with Rajkummar Rao on Khush Wedding’s YouTube channel below


Tags : Rajkummar Rao  Badhaai Do  LGBTQ+  Bollywood  Film  New Release   
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