Rajeev Khandelwal, as a person and actor is an inspiration to many!! He’s been in the industry for nearly two decades, and has done only few projects whether it is the TV space or the big screen!! But the aura he creates when on screen is immensely huge!!
A real talented persona with a huge fan following, Rajeev has commanded popularity like no one else!!
His recent biggie on the web space, ALTBalaji’s Haq Se, spear-headed by Ken Ghosh has garnered great response.
In an exclusive frank and heart-warming interview with IWMBuzz.com, Rajeev Khandelwal touches upon his recent work Haq Se, his role, the misconceptions that people have about him, on the digital space, his thoughts on social media and much more…
Rajeev, it has been great watching you in ALTBalaji’s Haq Se…
Thank you. I hope you enjoyed it…
How much have you enjoyed being part of the series?
Totally!! I enjoyed the journey while I was shooting for it. And now, I am enjoying getting mails and responses from people. The digital world is such that you get a new viewer everyday. It’s not like you get into a cinema hall, watch it and the story is over. There are people who join the digital platform everyday. And I keep getting messages like, ‘I watched the episodes today and when is the next episode to stream’… So overall, it has been a very interesting journey. And I have gained lot of satisfaction by taking up this series, Haq Se.
The challenge in the character was not to look or sound monotonous after the first few episodes. I had to put in a lot of effort; I used to be very conscious of the fact that I could not look monotonous in my scenes.
How challenging was it to play the role of Dr. Naushad?
Yes, it was quite a challenge. The challenge was more because I had to play the character without revealing the back story. Yes, the back story was to come, but I could not open it up at once in the character. You have a baggage, but you can’t show the baggage, and you react in a certain way, which can get either monotonous or irritating. This is because you can’t really show too much of your emotion.
So the challenge in the character was not to look or sound monotonous after the first few episodes. Naushad was a very interesting character. So I had to put in a lot of effort; I used to be very conscious of the fact that I could not look monotonous in my scenes. For me, Surveen (Chawla) and I used to work on our scenes, and I think we did a pretty good job together.
There are thousands of misconceptions about me, and I am aware of them. But I tend to stay away from it and not correct them (smiles).
What’s the best that you take home from the character?
Well, it has to be his honesty!! Whatever he does, he is honest towards himself, for his daughter, for the woman he loves, love for his sister etc. He accepts certain things at least to himself if not acknowledging the same to the entire world. He’s not a normal guy actually; he can be a pain as well as be interesting too. So he being honest is what I take away from the character.
When you were approached for this role in ALTBalaji’s Haq Se, did you accept it instantaneously or you did take a bit of time?
Well, let me tell you one thing, most of the projects that I have picked up have been right then and there. I know there is an understanding that Rajeev is being choosy, as I don’t take up much work. I am quite aware of my image in the public. But the truth is that if I hear something, and if I like it, I say ‘yes’ at that point of time.
For instance, let me tell you, when I was offered the role in Left Right Left which was to be on SAB TV, I knew that I will be doing it the moment I heard of its premise. At that point of time, SAB TV was not this huge as it is today. And people used to ask me, as to why I am doing the role as it was only a cameo. I did it because I wanted to be a part of it. Same thing with Sach Ka Saamna! The moment I heard about it, I said I am going to do it. I never think about the outcome of what I take. My reactions are very instinctive!! And that is why some of my shows have not moved also. The moment I read Haq Se, I told myself that this is a beautifully written series.
So thank you, this clears the misconception about Rajeev being very choosy!!
Yes, there are thousands of misconceptions about me, and I am aware of them. But I tend to stay away from it and not correct them (smiles). Let the world not know the real Rajeev, and trust me, it is not going to make any difference to their lives (laughs).
I haven’t got any mail which was difficult to go through, or the ones that cannot be read. So there has been no negative feedback, not only about my role, but with respect to the whole show.
Haq Se, has been adapted from a very beautiful novel Little Women. Had you read it earlier?
No, I had not read it. And I have not read the novel even now!! Now that I am part of this, I have deliberately kept away from reading it. I don’t want to have any hang-ups from the novel. Yes, I have been told that it is a beautiful novel. I have also felt certain reactions coming from people which read, ‘Wow, the book is a great read!!’, ‘I hope the book is not ruined by the characters’ etc. But thankfully, whoever has read the book and have also seen the series have not said even a single word that has not been encouraging and nice about Haq Se. Also, when I was told about the premise, I was also told that my character does not exist in the novel. There is no character like Dr. Naushad in the original book. However, I am happy that the team imagined a beautiful character which fell correctly into the story line.
How was it to work with a fairly big team of women in the series?
Oh yes!! Starting from the Writer to the Screenplay Writer, Creative Director, and of course Ekta Kapoor, and above all, the ladies in the cast, everyone around was mostly women. And what kind of women in the cast I had!! All the women in the cast are very very interesting (smiles). Right from Dadi to Rukhsar, to the girls in the show, they were all crazy. I had a lovely equation with all of them. With women and with the kind of energies they have, our set was always lively. Also they were conscious of the fact that I was in their company, so they made me feel special every day. Also, they used to rag me and at times, get scared of me (laughs). It was real fun. Above all, in Ken Ghosh our Director, we had a person who could keep the entire environment lovely and energetic. So it was fun working with all of them.
My whole idea being an actor is to act, and the medium does not matter to me. As long as I give something to the audience and get something from the audience, I am game for anything.
How has the digital platform treated you?
It’s been decent. Though it is early days for me to comment about the platform, but with whatever feedbacks I have got, it has been really good. The series has been watched and taken note by people across borders. Every day, a new mail pops up on my inbox stating that they watched the series recently. I am an actor who is open to criticism too. But let me be honest here, I haven’t got any mail which was difficult to go through, or the ones that cannot be read. So there has been no negative feedback, not only about my role, but with respect to the whole show.
What have you thought about a longer stay on the web? Will you be ready for more projects on the digital platform?
Absolutely!! I never pre-plan things. I never knew that I will be working closely in movies. I did not know till few months back that I will be doing this web-series. I do not know what I will take up now. Anything from any medium, that excites me, I will be ready to take it up. My whole idea being an actor is to act, and the medium does not matter to me. As long as I give something to the audience and get something from the audience, I am game for anything. Apart from this give and take, I don’t worry much about the medium I work on.
Did you get in with certain pre-set notions when you signed up for this project on the web?
Yes, I will not term it as a pre-set notion. But I had this doubt in the mind as to how many people will watch it. When we started getting the feed backs and responses, it was a ‘Wow’ moment!! I was certainly surprised with the reaction and turnout of people. Now I know that the digital medium will have a long journey, and there’s more to come and be seen. Thankfully, there is no stop on watching the digital series. The series has no age. Anyone can watch it at anytime unlike a TV series which goes off once it is off air.
I am the most inactive person when it comes to social media. I choose to stay away from it, and even today, I have not witnessed the huge response to Haq Se, by peeping into the social media.
How good or bad are the instant reactions that you get on the web unlike the other two mediums (small and big screen)?
It is very good for me. I am saying this because I am the most inactive person when it comes to social media. I choose to stay away from it, and even today, I have not witnessed the huge response to Haq Se, by peeping into the social media.
So any reasons as to why you stay away from social media?
Well, that’s me I guess!! I don’t read any appreciation that I get ever!! I am there on Twitter. But I don’t retweet anything that you say about me, good, bad or ugly!! Period!! That is your opinion and you have sent it to me. I don’t have the right to forward it to the world and stake claim of whatever has been written.
I am hoping this will happen some day, when my fans come up to me on the road or during my travel and say that they liked my web-series, Haq Se, in the same way they used to run up to me and talk about my films and TV projects. That will be the day when I will truly believe that my web-series has worked. Otherwise the social media has always been deceptive for me.
I don’t know what goes about on social media. I read the mails that fans send across to me. I know to an extent what is happening on Twitter, but don’t react to it. Frankly, I don’t like to read about myself. See, when I started my career in television, there was no social media. I used to enjoy it when people came up to me on roads and during travel, saying they loved my work. I am happy that people like me for my work even today. I am hoping this will happen some day, when my fans come up to me on the road or during my travel and say that they liked my web-series, Haq Se, in the same way they used to run up to me and talk about my films and TV projects. That will be the day when I will truly believe that my web-series has worked. Otherwise the social media has always been deceptive for me. You can see a 100 likes, but that could have been initiated by only 2 people. You never know!! I always believe in the direct real-time responses rather than the number of likes and dislikes on social media. As long as the Producer is happy, and I am getting paid, and the show is getting recognized, it is fine. In a simple way, let me tell you, I do not relate my success or failure to the non-existent likes and dislikes.
What are immediate plans?
Well, I have just finished shooting a film. I have one more lined up. Apart from that, I am meeting people, have been reading scripts, for TV, web and films.
You have been missing from TV for quite sometime now!!
Yes, I know that!! But we know how television works. Whatever has been offered to me have been shows that I will not want to be part of. I am still holding myself back for that one show that will really excite me and viewers, just like Sach Ka Saamna.
Rock on, Rajeev!!