On the eve of the release of his first webseries – Haq Se on ALTBalaji, TV & Movie heart throb Rajeev Khandelwal, spoke to The Opinionated Indian. Here is the excerpt of the interview. You can also choose to listen to the entire interview by clicking here! or go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQW4zrUQ584
Rajeev Khandelwal: Hi!
OI:We are really excited to have you with us. We have been huge fans of yours since the time we saw Aamir. You were brilliant in all the roles you have done so far
RK: Thank you so much
OI: Rajeev, why don’t you start off by telling us about your latest show, Haq Se?
RK: Haq Se, is a webseries – my first webseries. Webseries is very popular these days. Short film & other things are becoming very popular. The medium is becoming very popular. I have been offered a whole lot of things & I took my own time to pick up the right kind of web series that suits me. When it was offered to me, I read the entire series, the entire script & I was blown over completely. One because it was beautifully written by Devika Bhagat & Renuka Kunzru. They both are very popular & very very respected. It is inspired or rather based on a very popular book called Little Women. So when I read the series I thought, this is something I would love to be part of & I can’t let go off this one. So I instantly said yes & ofcourse Ekta was on top of all things. She is talked of as being the best in the business, the series was in the right hands, the platform was right. So, here I am.
OI: You have been extremely choosy with your roles. What is that one thing which prompted you to take up this project?
RK: The writing. You usually don’t come across such beautiful writing everyday in your life as an actor. I had offers on various things on television, film scripts & narrations. But very rarely you hear something & you say “Oh that’s beautiful” , you marvel at the person who wrote it & the vision. For me it is a script classic & I am very very sure that everyone is gonna watch it. And will love to watch it over & over again. For many years you will revisit it & feel good about the whole series. So it was actually the writing. It was not just about my character, it was about every character, it was about every scene. I could not find even one character, one scene which was not fitting in the entire series. The series is not about me, or my character. It is about different stories. It is about every character. About his or her journey. It was beautiful. I really wanted to be part of this.
OI: Speaking of characters, which is that one character apart from yours, which is favorite?
RK: All of them. I would really not be able to point out any one character because all of them have their own journey. All of them are beautiful. All of them have performed beautifully. So I happy that I am in a group of actors who performed very well. I think everyone from Simone to Rukhsar to Pranjal to Jannat. Every character. All the four sisters are outstanding. I haven’t seen the entire series. I have seen some scenes when I went for dubbing. I saw & I was like “Oh my god”. Ken Ghosh – the guy who has directed the series. He has done a fantastic job. It is one of those projects of Ken, which will set him apart from all that he has done in the past. Ken has a certain charm. Ken has a certain stamp of his work. So he has gone in a completely different zone. The way he has done justice to the series, I can’t think of anyone else who would have directed this series. Can’t think of anyone else but Ken Ghosh. I am not trying, but every character is my favorite. I hope the audience feels the same.
OI: How was it working with the talented Surveen Chawla? Was it your first outing with Surveen Chawla? You both have your own fan following.
RK: It is my second one. Infact she was there in my first series. Back in 2003-04, she had just come. It was my first series & it was her first series. We had a great time because we were reminiscing about the time we had spent on the sets & the best thing was the series was produced by Ekta again. So it was like two of us, working hand in hand with Ekta.
OI: That was Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat?
RK: Kahin to Hoga. Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat was a mini series. My first daily soap was Kahin to Hoga. So for us, we had a great time talking about it. Surveen ofcourse was mature & is a fantastic actor.Now she has become excellent. We had a great time. Ken, Surveen & me, we had a fantastic time on the set. And the scenes were very challenging for me & Surveen. Because the scenes were not a routine love story. This is fiction. I just want to see the reaction of people who watch it, because we have put in a lot of effort. When I say lot, I mean it.Ken has put in a lot of effort. Let’s hope we get it right. We have got it right from our side. Let’s see.
OI. How much of the show was actually shot in kashmir? How was your experience shooting in Kashmir?
RK: We didn’t really shoot in Kashmir. We shot only a few scenes. I didn’t go to Kashmir. There was some disturbance happening then.Again some typical Kashmir issues were happening then. Because I have been to Kashmir more than 20 times. I know Kashmir at the back of my hand. So I was really really excited that we would shoot the entire series in Kashmir.
OI: Aamir & Table No.21 both were critically acclaimed hits. Is there any scope for a sequel in which we can see you ? I know you died in the end of Aamir. But we are just hoping that there is a reboot of sorts.
RK: No. I don’t believe in sequels to be very honest. I have preferences i my own series We have already set up a benchmark. I think sequels should be made, when you make the first installment, keeping in mind that a sequel is going to come. Just because a film becomes popular, I don’t believe in borrowing fame that the film has already garnered to make your film around it. A sequel has to have a purpose. Sometimes we see sequels, which are not taking the story forward. Which are just encashing on a film’s popularity which it gained when it released for the first time. I don’t see any of the sequels. I would not like to repeat myself. I think they are done with, once the film releases. I would not want to be a part of any sequel to be frank.
OI: Name one role in a hindi movie you wish would have been offered to you
RK: That was many many years back. I was in school I think or I was not even born actually. It was Shakti with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Yes. It is my all time favorite with Mr. Bachchan. But I know that I would never touch Mr Bachchan. It was one of the characters that I would really love watching again & again
OI: Who is your favorite movie star then?
RK: Obviously, Mr.Bachchan. He is truly a legend. He has proven himself in almost all the genres. Name it & Mr. Bachchan has done justice to it. Not just be a part of it. When he has dealt it with say comedy, action, emotion, suspense, thriller & he is still at it. Nobody else in the entire film industry has played such diverse roles as Mr. Bachchan.
OI: he is truly an inspiration to the entire film fraternity.
OI: Speaking of your movies, which movie do you think has been your best performance till date?
RK: I have been honest in all my performances. Sometimes the performance stands out because of the writing, because of the direction. How the makers take it forward. A very good performance in a bad setting. There a lot of things. Sometimes you pick up something & things don’t fall in place. So it would be difficult for me to say which one was my best performance. The one that came across as the best would be Aamir or Shaitaan or Table No.21. I personally feel there was Soundtrack. I was really involved in that.Not many people saw that film. I worked very hard on my character. All time favorite would be Aamir, because that was my first film. We were all first timers. Everyone from the music director, to the director, to line producers, to the actors. It was made by people who were only first timers. The D.O.P was a first timer. That film will always remain special.
OI: What is your new year’s resolution?
RK: I don’t believe in resolutions. I don’t make resolutions at all. Never! I think if you have to make a resolution, you have to do it initially. You don’t have to wait till 31st. There are resolutions which I keep making & I keep breaking. I did think though that this year, since I have been missing from the scene because I was travelling. There were other reasons why I couldn’t take up work last year. This year I do some roles to look forward to. I am picking up a whole lot of work this year
OI: Speaking of travel Rajeev, which is your favorite holiday destination?
RK: ladakh. Anyday. Leh Ladakh. I have been to Leh more than 6 times. From all sides! And I love driving into Leh. I have driven from Srinagar, I have driven from Manali, I have flown into Leh.I have flown every possible way except. I have camped there. I end up camping in all different parts of Leh Ladakh. I have taken a lot of people. Every time we make a new group & I introduce them to the beauty of Leh. That is my favorite place in the whole world.
OI: Rajeev, such an interesting person & you such a huge fan following, why aren’t you on social media? We tried looking for you, but a lot of people have that complaint against you
RK: *Laughs* Yeah I know. People who work with me & people who were with me. My family members, my friends. But then I think, I am not made for social media. As a person I don’t think I am made for social media. I tried my level best. I am only on twitter, that also in a very anonymous name. My account just go verified. My handle is also very different. I don’t think I have it in me to wake up every morning & think about reaching out to everyone. For me sometime, it feels like a leash around my neck. “ I have to update my status. I travelled for three days, I have to update my status”. When I cut off from work I feel I am just a regular guy who is just living his life & people read you, then fine give it a smile. But if they don’t then don’t bother worrying about it. I am very happy. I think I am a very ordinary guy. I don’t think I am amking any difference to the world if I don’t tell them what I am doing on my holiday. I am not contributing in any way. I know there are people who would want to know. Even though this year, because of the work I am taking up, they are asking me to be more active on it. I am gonna try my best. But, as a person I don’t think I will be able to push it
OI: Ok Rajeev! It was great talking to you. You are very interesting person to talk to I must say. So thanks for taking time out to talk to us.
RK: Thank you so much. All the best. Bye
While we were fans of his acting prowess earlier, we were completely bowled over by his class & attitude towards life. Unlike a major chunk of the entertainment industry, here is a star who lives by his own set of principles. Truly an uber cool star!