The very versatile Rajkummar Rao plays a wife beater and a bully in Mohit Suri's Hamari Adhuri Kahani.
It wasn't easy, more so since Rao has specifically created a kind for the grey character last seen being done when Nawazuddin tackled the killer-villain's role in Badlapur.
Says Rajkummar Rao, "The way I see it, the husband Hari in Hamari Adhuri Kahani is not a villain. He loves his wife to death. Though his way of showing love is very frightening. If, as you say, I've managed to create a sense of empathy for the character, it's because I never saw him as a villain. Such over-possessive husbands, who consider their wives to be their property, do exist. I saw Hari more as a product of a social mindset rather than a villain."
It did cross Rajkummar's mind that the character was not as pivotal as Emraan Hashmi's or Vidya Balan's. "But dammit, it was Mahesh Bhatt Saab's story. When he narrated it to me I did feel my role was not that central. Bhatt Saab told me to trust his judgment. I respect and love the man beyond question. Once he expressed his determination to have me on board I created a space for myself in the script. I think I've managed to make Hari human rather than an epitome of evil."
When told that he kept getting into thankless roles in films where other actors were allowed to take center stage, Rao protested, "It's challenging to do characters that need to create their own space in a script. But it isn't as if I am not doing lead roles. I am the romantic lead in Ramesh Sippyji's Simla Mirch and the narrator in Hansal Mehta's Aligarh. The story unfolds as I see the situation in the plot. I'd like to think I am able to create my own space no matter what the length of the role."