There is no way one can forget Rajesh Kumar’s Rosesh from Sarabhai vs Sarabhai and his hilarious ‘kavitayen.’ While the actor is known to essay memorable characters such as in shows like Yam Kisi Se Kam Nahin, Neeli Chhatri Waale, Yeh Meri Family, among others, even after over a decade, the audience can’t stop praising him for his portrayal of the self-proclaimed ‘momma’s boy’ in the TV series.
The Baa Bahu Aur Baby alum is now seen in the recently released Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya, starring Shahid Kapoor and Kriti Sanon. In an interview with Join Films, he recalls the time when he took a break from acting, moved to his village in Bihar, and started farming. “In 2017, at the peak of my acting career on television, when I decided to take up farming. While I was thoroughly enjoying doing television, my heart constantly asked me, ‘Main next generation ke liye kya kar raha hoon? (What am I doing for the next generation?)’ except leaving a few tapes of entertainment.”
In the last couple of years, news of the actor quitting acting to return to his roots had surfaced. When asked what made him choose the road less taken, given that farming isn’t a glamorous profession to take up, especially for an actor, he said, “I wasn’t doing anything special or extra to contribute to society. How will my children remember me? Acting aap apne liye kiya, apni security ke liye kiya, apni earnings ke liye kiya (I took up acting for myself, for a livelihood, and for financial security). I thought to myself ‘how am I going to leave any footprint behind’? That is when I went back to my hometown and cultivated crops.”
In the period of five years that he worked as a farmer — growing crops, educating fellow farmers, and uplifting them — he had to overcome many challenges. Headlines reported him going bankrupt, which came as a surprise for many. “Many outlets reported that I was a farmer on a break who wanted to try acting. Some wrote I quit acting to become a farmer and other said because I had no money, I took up farming,” says Rajesh, adding, “Owing to the lack of prior experience and expertise in farming, I suffered huge losses, and I became bankrupt. There were debts to be paid. Life threw many challenges at me, and soon the COVID-19 pandemic happened, which made things even worse — those five years were full of difficulties, to say the least, but I kept going. Here, my education kept me motivated. Amid adversities, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and was able to find a way.”
The actor’s social media handle is flooded with images and videos of him either working on the field or giving insights into framing. The ones with a gamcha wrapped around his head, which shows him leading a rustic life, have won the internet’s hearts. However, he says farming, in the beginning, didn’t yield him money. “I realised it was going to be tough, but I had the spirit to fight, and that’s how the idea ‘Mera Family Farmer’ was born. Although it wasn’t lucrative in the beginning nor any business was coming from it, it kept me and my passion alive. Farmers’ earnings multiplied by four times, more than 50 acres of land became chemical-free, there were people who switched to a completely natural diet, buying grains and groceries from the farmers. Over a span of five years, I worked on attaining these,” reminisces.
Benefits of farming go just beyond eating healthy, he says being amid nature and close to the soil has helped him become a better actor, too. “Farming and being amid nature taught me more patience and the ability to observe. It brought a certain sense of thehrav (stability) in my acting, too. When I was practicing farming, I met real people who helped me understand myself and my skills better, which in return, helped me become better at my craft,” adds the actor who hoped his career will take off after SOTY.
Once assured that he was able to bring about a positive change during this five-year-long break, he realised a lot of good content was being made in the OTT space, and he wanted to explore them. “I wanted to change how I was looked at and perceived as an actor. I gained weight, and roles started pouring in. So during this sabbatical, when I was not being seen on-screen, it actually worked in my favour,” he adds.
Rajesh’s goal is to use his popularity as an artist to raise awareness about farming and help farmers market their produce better. “They (farmers) will ask you whether to use chemical fertilizers or gaumutra. Today, farmers can grow whatever the consumer wants, and depending on that, they can grow anything. People who have worked in the Silicon Valley have quit their jobs and taken up farming. So it speaks volumes about the scope in this field. Farmers are now aware; there is a need for consumers to educate themselves about eating naturally-grown food and grains, produced by our own farmers,” he said.
Read More: Sarabhai vs Sarabhai’s ‘Rosesh’ Rajesh Kumar recalls turning a farmer for 5 years: ‘I suffered huge