Rajkummar Rao on Bollywood failing at the box office: ‘We have not made so many good films in the last year’

Rajkummar Rao took the big plunge in 2018 when he signed Stree, a horror comedy. And now, the actor is seen tapping into dark humor laced with a murder mystery in Monica O My Darling. As this hybrid of genres is lapped up by fans, the actor says that it’s a natural progression for filmmakers.

“That’s how it should be. We need to keep experimenting for ourselves and the audience. Also, I really feel that comedy is a serious business. Most of the times, we are not even trying to be funny. It’s the situations and the circumstances that make it funny. I think the more serious we are, the funnier it becomes,” Rajkummar Rao told indianexpress.com.

Monica O My Darling, also starring Radhika ApteHuma Qureshi, Sikandar Kher and Akansha Ranjan, dropped on Netflix on Friday and have received positive reviews. With the current climate at the box office, we discussed with Rajkummar whether OTT has become a safe space for actors and films. “Not really, if a film is not good, it won’t work anywhere,” he quickly responded.

As we reminded him how his film Badhaai Do (with Bhumi Pednekar) did not do numbers but was loved when it streamed digitally. Agreeing to it, he shared that he wasn’t sad but he really wanted the film to do well, as he’s very ‘proud’ of it. Accepting that the industry is at fault for the low box office collections, the actor stated, “I have had this conversation with a lot of my friends. We keep saying that Hindi cinema is not doing well, but we have not made so many good films in the last year. So there’s no point in wondering why are you walking (why is it not working). I think we need to push the envelope and do better ourselves.

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Being a mainstream actor, the uncertainty at the box office worries him. He replied, “Not at all. Also, I think times have changed. My only concern is that the producer is making money. If there’s no loss, they will make another film with me. Also, I think we work around it in a way that the films are under a certain budget. We get the economics right so that everyone is happy.”

At the trailer launch of Monica O My Darling, the Newton actor had spoken about only doing films that his heart says yes to. The actor admitted that he had earlier signed films for other reasons, but never for money. Rajkummar shared, “Money was never a priority for me. There have been a couple of films that I initially said no to. But I am an emotional guy and if someone comes to me three-four times saying please work for me, I’d say yes. But yes, not anymore ha (laughs). I have learned my lesson that if your heart says no at first, listen to it. When I see those films, I realize I shouldn’t have done it.”

Directed by Vasan Bala, Monica O My Darling is streaming on Netflix.

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