The 29-year-old actor's performance as the titular character in the Hansal Mehta directed film saw him sharing the National Award with Malayalam actor Suraj Venjaramoodu. (Agencies)
"It has been an exciting year. I am proud of Shahid. His family is really proud of him for what he stood for. I feel bad for his unfortunate and tragic death. But I was very inspired and moved by his story. This will forever stay in my heart as he stood for what he believed in," Rao told reporters.
However, playing Shahid in the biopic was not an easy task for the actor, who started his Bollywood journey with Dibakar Banerjee's 'Love, Sex Aur Dhoka'.
"It was quite challenging and difficult. There was not enough material on him on the internet. My only source of information was his family. There was so much that I had to put through my imagination which I think has worked," he said.
After the huge success of his last movie 'Queen', the actor is reuniting with Mehta for 'City Lights'.
In the film, the actor plays a small town trader from a village in Rajasthan, who migrates to Mumbai in search of better livelihood. The movie follows his struggle in adjusting to the metropolitan city.
Rajkumar had to shed 7-8kgs for the role.
"This role has taken so much out of me as an actor. I think this character is really high on emotions and has drained me. I had to lose 7-8 kgs in the film," he said.
The film produced by Mahesh Bhatt, is expected to hit theatres on May 1. It stars newcomer Patraleka opposite Rajkumar.
The actor would be next seen opposite Sonam Kapoor in 'Dolly Ki Doli'.
"I am shooting for 'Dolly Ki Doli' right now. That's a light and funny film. It's like a breather for me after my last few films," he said.
The 29-year-old actor's performance as the titular character in the Hansal Mehta directed film saw him sharing the National Award with Malayalam actor Suraj Venjaramoodu.