There is something unique, very genuine about Rajeev Khandelwal. Definitely underrated but one of the most promising and brave actors on Indian television, Khandelwal has been very particular about the subjects of his shows and even films.
We caught up with 45-year-old actor ahead of his new show Naxalbari (ZEE5), and he was absolutely candid about his choices and thought process.
Sharing his experience of working during a global health crisis, he said, “Due to Covid, we had to compromise on a lot of things as shooting on a bigger scale was not possible. When you are filming outdoors, people usually get together after pack-up and they become friends. During our shoot, no one befriended anyone. The unit did not even get together for mealtime. It was a very different environment, but we dealt with it.”
Since coronavirus has brought people’s attention towards healthy living and hygiene, Rajeev shared his fitness mantra. “Consume healthy foods. Don’t just eat for the sake of stomach. I personally do a lot of outdoor activities like running and cycling, if not much of gymming. Yoga interests me. It brings a lot of flexibility in your body. In longer term, yoga is a healthier way of living your life. It not just focusses on muscles but does a lot of good internally and externally.”
Khandelwal started out almost twenty years ago in the entertainment industry. In retrospect, he said, “There has never been any failure. My journey has been extremely satisfying. If given a choice, I would approach it in a similar fashion. I never regret any decision in my life. I don’t want it easy. I enjoy everything because it was part of a process, which is a mix of both falling and rising again. When I look back, the proudest thing has been that no medium could limit me. I could do TV. I could do films and theatre. I can do web. I was never captive of any medium.”
A still from Rajeev Khandelwal’s reality show ‘Sach Ka Samna’
During the conversation, Rajeev also touched upon the recent developments that have rocked the entertainment industry like the alleged drugs racket and nepotism debate.
“It is all a result of certain debates on social media by some ill-informed people who have got no business with the film industry. They are just sitting on the fence and passing judgments. I think they are all losers. If you want to weed out drugs menace, go in every direction. People who are talking about nepotism are themselves product of it. If such people were not supported by their families in the first place, they would not have been in the position they are in,” asserted Khandelwal.
He went down the memory lane and said, “When I came to Mumbai, I was very scared of giving auditions after looking at the long queues of 500-700 people. I felt that they are fooling everyone and I should be knowing somebody like a director or someone at a production house to get work. I used to think that auditions were fake. At one point in time, I confronted myself with the question ‘you are scared of it and that is why you have convinced yourself that it is all fake?’ Then I started giving auditions with a different perspective. I used to visit every screen test with the thought ‘Am I looking good in front of the camera?’ And even now when someone asks me, ‘Rajeev, should we test you?’, I am always welcoming towards the idea.”
“Auditions help you and not the makers. So don’t be scared of them,” he signed off.