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Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023
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Arjun Rampal, who turns 50 today, is one of Bollywood’s most underrated actors. Constantly in pursuit of roles which re-define the Hindi film hero, he has played everything , from the romantic lead to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in ‘
Dil Hai Tumhara’ to the antagonist to Shah Rukh Khan in ‘
Ra.One’ and ‘
Om Shanti Om’.

Somehow Arjun has never got his due. Director Prakash Jha who has worked with Arjun in the political trilogy ‘
Raajneeti’, ‘Chakravyuh’ and ‘
Satyagraha’, says there is still a reservoir of untapped talent in Arjun. “He is capable of pulling off any role. I cast him alongside actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Ranbir Kapoor and Nana Patekar in ‘
Raajneeti’. Arjun still held his own. In ‘
Satyagraha’ Arjun held his ground in spite of Bachchan Saab and Ajay Devgn in the cast.”

The late Rituparno Ghosh, who worked with Arjun in ‘
The Last Lear’, once told me Arjun could do anything. “He is like Sanjeev Kumar. You can put him anywhere, in any film as any character , he will rise and shine.”

Ritu wanted to cast Arjun as Arjun in the ‘
Mahabharat’. But fate had other plans . Arjun Rampal now returns in Rituparno’s mentor Aparna Sen’s ‘
The Rapist’ as the supportive Muslim husband of a Hindu Brahmin wife who is a rape survivor.

Produced by Applause Entertainment ‘
The Rapist gives’ Arjun the chance of lifetime. It is unquestionably the best performance of his career. Says Aparna Sen, “Arjun is a drop-dead gorgeous man. So it is a little difficult for people to accept him as a good actor, which he undoubtedly is. In my film he is married to Konkona(Aparna Sen’s daughter). It’s an inter-religious marriage. But nowhere do the two actors allow their religious difference to colour their relationship. I think Arjun in
The Rapist is among the finest performances I have got out of my cast in the films I’ve directed.”

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