Rajesh Khattar, the film, TV actor and voice artist believes that though we are facing some testing times with the pandemic threatening to shake the whole functioning and lifestyle of mankind, he remains confident that the entertainment industry is in for some good times, with a lot of content being churned out in all mediums.
Rajesh Khattar who gave an emphatic performance in Shukranu that was released in 2020 on ZEE5, has a lot of work up his sleeve and looks forward to the best outcome in the coming time.
In a candid and exclusive chat with IWMBuzz.com, Rajesh Khattar talks about life during the pandemic, his work, future projects and much more.
Tell us about your upcoming work!
I am part of the Hindi remake of Singham 3 which is titled Si3. The film is produced by Pen Entertainment. I associate with the ace film-makers Abbas-Mustan after nine years after Race 2, for their new project The Three Monkeys. I have shot for a film Jangipur Trial which is based on the true incidents that happened in West Bengal. We have shot at exquisite actual locations and the concept is very interesting. On the web front, I have a series each with Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, ZEE5, SonyLIV and Disney Plus Hotstar. So you will literally see me on every platform in the year 2022.
How exciting has it been for you to be part of the growing OTT medium?
Definitely, as performers, we are in a wonderful phase now with so many interesting characters being created on OTT. The medium of the web has allowed concepts that cannot be shown on television, to be taken and experimented with. Once an actor is accepted in a kind of character on television, all that he/she is offered is the same kind of character. Or course, for a performer like me, I want to do all kinds of roles.
You must have seen me in Shukranu where I played a Haryanvi guy. I have been part of diverse projects and roles in Manjunath and Traffic. As a voiceover artist, I got the honour of giving voice to the biggest Netflix grosser dubbed film Red Notice. I gave voice to the Rock, Dwayne Johnson. I play diversified roles in whatever projects that I have taken up on the film and web front. I am glad that I have surpassed the biggest challenge of being accepted in varied kinds of characters. For example, I played a 60 years old guy for a play when I was 19 years old. So the effort of showcasing a variety of roles has always been there. I am happy that all of my efforts are taking shape now. It is always a two-way process for actors as well as viewers when actors are cast in varied roles. I am sure that many actors will echo the sentiments that I have.
How do you visualize the competition that has prevailed between the web medium and theatrical releases, especially during the pandemic hit phase?
It has almost been two years since all strata of the crowd went to theatres to view their favourite films. It will be a humongous task for the industry to get people back to watching films in theatres, especially films that have out-of-the-box concepts. If you take the example of South films, they are working on all kinds of movies, both out-of-the-box as well as the mainstay commercial flicks. Hindi films need to get them back to theatres. The basic identification of cinema is theatre. The task ahead for Bollywood is to cater audiences with all kinds of movies and have people watching all of that in theatres. You cannot stop the layman from enjoying a masala film. Having said this, OTT has changed people’s expectations too. Now that they are so used to seeing even the big banner films on OTT platforms, they want to see everything sitting at home. There can be a scenario where people might not be ready to pay for the huge theatre prices.
Also, we have the films of South finding a huge audience on a national level. Films like Pushpa, KGF, Baahubali, RRR are mighty. All said and done, Hindi films have an uphill task and they should not give up on its niche factor of commercial masala films. The biggest gain for all is that the crossover of regional films has happened in a very mind-blowing way. With them being at home, they have been exposed to all languages of cinema on the OTT where subtitles are available. So you can see that the Bollywood watching masses have got introduced to so many regional films. The biggest example before us is the success of Pushpa even in the dubbed Hindi version.
What are your thoughts for the New Year?
I wish that all the known and unknown variants of Covid washes away and vanishes. I hope we all get back to our healthy lifestyle and get the confidence to concentrate on work without being afraid for our health. Life has to keep going. I pray to God that we get back to the normalcy that we all have lived in.
What are your goals set for the New Year?
Well, I will be starting on many new projects in the New Year. I have always had a bucket wishlist with me, with the kind of Producers and Directors I have wanted to work with. That seems to be falling in place now, as I have a brilliant lineup of work in my hand, with the best of makers. I am so looking forward to working with these talented people. I can say that I am in a very happy space now.
How have the last two years been for you on a personal front?
Well, two years of life has been taken away from people. This has never happened before. As for the younger generation, I feel really sad for them. My son has been a lockdown kid, with him being two and half years old. There was no way out for him to interact with other kids in the first two years of his lifetime. I am hoping that he sees the new dawn of life soon, the kind of life that we have seen earlier.