Rajkummar Rao is an Indian actor who appears in Hindi films. He made his film debut with the 2010 experimental film Love Sex aur Dhokha and achieved success in 2013 with the drama film Kai Po Che!, for which he was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Shahid Azmi in the 2013 biographical film Shahid. In 2014, Rao portrayed the leading man in the box office hit Queen.
Rajkummar Rao was born in Gurgaon, India, into a lower middle class Ahir family. Rajkummar caught the acting bug on a theatre stage in his 10th grade. He finished his schooling in Gurgaon and graduated in Arts from Delhi University. He was simultaneously doing theatre with Kshitij Repertory and Shri Ram Centre (SRC) in Delhi. In 2008, Rajkummar graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and shifted to Mumbai.
After graduating from FTII, Rao spent the next year visiting studios and meeting casting directors. In 2010, he got his big break when he was cast in Love Sex aur Dhokha, after responding to an ad that mentioned Dibakar Banerjee was looking for newcomers.
Rao next signed Ekta Kapoor’s Ragini MMS where he played a negative role. Both Love Sex Aur Dhokha and Ragini MMS succeeded and his performances in both films were appreciated. He also appeared in Bejoy Nambiar's Shaitan.
In 2012, Rao performed a series of small, but significant roles in films like Gangs of Wasseypur 2, Chittagong and Talaash. Anurag Kashyap selected Rao for Gangs Of Wasseypur, after watching his performance in Love Sex aur Dhokha. For the role of Shamshad Alam, he visited Wasseypur to perfect his character and accent. However, his character's screen time was considerably reduced in the final script. Rao who was eager to work with Anurag Kashyap, went ahead with the movie anyway. In the critically acclaimed Chittagong, he portrayed the role of freedom fighter, Lokenath Bal. In Talaash, he played the role of a junior officer to Aamir Khan's character.
In 2013, Rao played the role of Govind in the film Kai Po Che!, Abhishek Kapoor's adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life. The movie was a commercial and critical success, and earned praise for the lead performances. He followed Kai Po Che! with a leading role in the biopic Shahid, based on the life of the slain lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi. The role earned him a National Film Award for Best Actor (shared with Suraj Venjaramoodu for Perariyathavar) and a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.
Rao then starred in the coming-of-age dramedy Queen (2014) opposite Kangana Ranaut. He played Vijay, a man who calls off his wedding with his fiancee. Rao's performance was well received. The film received unanimous critical acclaim and proved to be a box office hit.
As of April 2014, Rao has completed work on Hansal Mehta's drama City Lights and is filming with Sonam Kapoor and Pulkit Samrat for the romantic comedy Dolly Ki Doli. He has also signed on alongside Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan for Hamari Adhuri Kahani, a romance from director Mohit Suri.