Gajraj Rao is an Indian actor and ad filmmaker. He is best known for the role of Jeetendra Kaushik (father of Ayushmann Khurrana) in the 2018 film ‘Badhaai Ho.’
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Family, Caste & Wife
He was born in Rajasthan and brought up in Delhi. He was born into a lower-middle-class family. His father was an employee in the Indian Railways. Gajraj is married to Sanjana Rao, and the couple is blessed with two sons. His elder son is a student of graphic designing. The Lallantop
After completing his schooling, he joined the theatre group ‘Act One’ at the age of 16 along with the actors, Manoj Bajpayee and Ashish Vidyarthi.
At the start of his acting career, he used to do theatres and odd jobs for livelihood simultaneously. His first job was in a tailor’s shop, ‘Iqbal Tailors’ in Delhi. Later, one of his friends offered him a job in a garment company. He was good in literature, so, he started working as a freelance writer for Navbharat and Hindustan Times. Soon, he got an opportunity to write anchor’s script for Doordarshan channel. While he was working as a scriptwriter, he met the Indian television producer, Siddhartha Basu, who offered him to work in a show based on audience interaction. He then met the Bollywood director and writer, Pradeep Sarkar, which was a turning point in his life. He started working with him as a writer in ad films and then moved to Mumbai along with Pradeep Sarkar. Later, his friend, Tigmanshu Dhulia, introduced him to the director, Shekhar Kapur. Shekhar offered him a role in his film ‘Bandit Queen’ (1994) in which he played the character of Ashok Chand Thakur.
In 2003, he opened his own advertisement production company, ‘Code Red Films,’ along with his partner Subrat Ray. Gajraj has acted and directed many popular TV commercials.
Some of the ad films made under his production house include the big brands like Maruti Suzuki, Samsung, Cadbury, Reliance Foundation, HUL, McDonald’s, Flipkart, and Procter & Gamble.
His production house, ‘Code Red Films,’ has received a few national and international awards at the Adfest Asia, Promax Singapore, The Cup, NYF, and Asia Pacific Advertising. He did small roles in various Bollywood films, including Dil Se (1998), Aks (2001), Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002), Black Friday (2007), and Aamir (2008).
In 2015, he debuted in the Hindi web-series, ‘Bang Baaja Baaraat,’ in which he played the character of Murli Prasad Sharma. He has acted in many videos of ‘TVF’s’ (a YouTube channel) web-series, including ‘A Day With R D Sharma’ (2016), ‘F.A.T.H.E.R.S.’ (2017), ‘Tech Conversations with Dad’ (2018), and ‘TVF Tripling Season 2’ (2019).
In 2016, he directed a short video, ‘Rorito: Write the New.’ He has produced a few documentaries, like ‘Budhia Singh: Born to Run’ (2016) and ‘The Tribal Scoop’ (2018).
He got immense popularity with the 2018 Bollywood film ‘Badhaai Ho.’
In 2020, he appeared in Bollywood films, like ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ and ‘Lootcase.’
- Food: Chole Bhature
- Actor: Shah Rukh Khan
- Actress: Deepika Padukone
- Cricketer(s): Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar
- Writers/ Poets: Premchand, Elif Shafak, Hisham Matar, Maha Gargash, Ibrahim Eissa, and Rabindranath Tagore
- Web-Series: Sacred Games (2018)
- He used to live in a railway colony with his parents in Delhi. In an interview, he said,
I learned various dialects while I was living in the railway colony. There would be someone from Himachal Pradesh, someone from Punjab, or a region in Uttar Pradesh. I was fascinated by these dialects and kept practising them. Probably, that was the beginning of the actor in me who suddenly finds himself being called out by name. It also helped that the family would undertake yearly trips to Dungarpur in Rajasthan. We would either get off in Ratlam or Ahmedabad, travelling by Deluxe or Sarvodaya Express.”
- He was an average student in his school.
- In an interview, he revealed how he got an interest in theatres, he said,
When I was a student at Delhi University, a friend introduced me to the theatre. I watched Sandhya Chhaya at Shri Ram Centre For Performing Arts, Mandi House. I was blown by the magic of theatre. There were about 100 people in the audience, and two young actors played senior citizens on stage. The lighting, the music… everything impressed me I slept very late that night because the experience kept replaying in my mind. I was drawn to the theatre and my trips to Mandi House became more frequent. I was hooked.”
- He received laurels for an award-winning ad film, which was made under his production company, ‘Code Red Films.’ The ad film showcased the importance of respect for the National Anthem of India.
- In an interview, he shared his journey as an ad filmmaker, he said,
Nitesh Tiwari gave me my second advertisement. Someone said I was a newcomer, but he liked me. A three-minute film for Sonata in Tamil (for Lintas, then headed by Balki) did very well. I worked extensively with noted cinematographer V Manikantan. He’s a great influence in my journey.”
- He has received many awards for his film ‘Badhaai Ho’ 2018.
- His hobbies include travelling and reading books.
- He appeared in ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ for promoting his film ‘Badhaai Ho’ (2018) and ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ (2020).
- In ‘The Kapil Sharma Show,’ he revealed that he calls his wife every 30 minutes. He further said,
‘I saw a European film once. There is a married couple in that film. The memory of one of the two goes away. After this, the other partner feels that the two have never shared anything worth remembering from each other, so how to remember the partner in such a situation. After watching the film, I decided that from now on, whatever will happen in my life will keep my wife updated.”