I want to perform in a theatre and engage a LIVE audience: Rajeev Khandelwal

For many years now, popular actor Rajeev Khandelwal has been absent from TV shows and fans have been wanting to know about his comeback. He was recently seen in two projects, but why does he take time to sign projects. Here answers in this interview.

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Rajeev Khandelwal is one of the most popular actors in India, and he has made his own loyal fanbase and rose to fame with his work, over the years. He was recently seen as the lead in Bollywood film titled 'Pranaam' and also in AltBalaji's webseries 'Coldd Lassi and Chicken Masala' opposite Divyanka Tripathi. His roles and characters have been appreciated, both by the critics and the audience; but everyone has often questioned Rajeev's thought process. The actor takes a lot of time to choose his projects and in the past, he has been absent from the screens.

In an exclusive interaction with Mumbai Live, Rajeev Khandelwal shares his thought process, thereby clearing all the doubts which his fans and the industry has been wondering about. Firstly, on being asked about what makes him select films that are not necessarily 'the routine' or for the fact 'a commercial, he quickly said, "That's me, and it is absolutely my decision and like it because I have never been governed by the tentacles of the commercial world. I've always felt that I need to have my own outlook towards my career, which is not driven by or influenced by any external factors. If I'm in that position and if I can achieve that, then I'm a successful man in my own eyes. So for me, it's been almost now 18 years of being part of this industry and I've taken decisions my way, I think. I'm pretty happy with the way I have lived my career and so when I pick up any project, I do not get into the nuances of the calculation about the box office condition and the image that I will carry or wonder what will happen to my career. For me, all my decisions are governed by only one aspect, which is gut instinct; so if I like it, I get into it."

Though Rajeev has been appreciated for his work, his films have not really made a mark at the box office. While critics have praised him, numbers have not been in his favour. Talking about if the reviews, critic opinion or Box Office matters, he said, "Sometimes I've done films which have not even seen the light of the day. I've only thought this it was a great script, and I get to be a part of it, but it doesn't work. Sometimes some people you know, do not have the competence or capability to finish a project and then you'll realise that is okay and consider that to be a bad call, but I still love taking decisions which comes straight from my heart.Having said that, if you ask me about my thoughts on critic reviews, they don't matter and that is because I've read many reviews about other films and I kind of try and match up to my sensibility to analyse. There have been times where I've wondered on how can one person give four stars and actually criticised the film at the same time. I'm not sure if this is how it works. It's just like awards and I guess now reviews are again, more like a word real review. The most honest way one can get real reviews is when people walk up to you and talk about your project and you see that in their eyes."

Respecting his 18 year long career, I wondered if his thoughts also speak about the industry which is changing in terms of content or does he think or have perception towards kind of delivery we see with different content being produced today? "I think it's always been a specific pattern if you observe, where if one project works or one kind of one kind of film does well, then everyone suddenly starts thinking along those lines. Remember there was a time when larger than life films that come in with and then suddenly you saw horror films getting made you know everyone flying in the air, and a lot more. But what I wish to see is the right amalgamation in cinema where people are trying to experiment and crack the formula, but not follow a certain pattern. However, when we talk about films, it is about making money make hay while the sun shines. Today there are like hundreds of films being made which have good content, but yet we get limited screens or limited visibility. So it makes me wonder if in that way, we as an industry are not balanced in terms of promotions and marketing. Think, just that there is a discrepancy and a huge one. The whole collection story is all a myth. So I really find it funny because I'm an insider and I know that some film's success is being celebrated but it's funny when people say this as this hundred crore is not measured correctly. One can probably book all the cinema halls that are available and that gives the audience no choice but to watch that film only. So when people compare a small film to a big film, it certainly didn't make hundred crore, and there one is actually trying to change the perception. Some of my films have not worked according to the pre set industry standards, because it was a smaller release, meant for a smaller audience and so it will not collect as per the expectations others have set," he said.

He has been a part of the TV industry for many years now and has seen the type of content change. Wondering if he also has the same perception, he said, "I don't watch TV but to answer what is served to me or offered to me, doesn't appeal to my sensibilities. Not that I'm against television and to clarify I really want to do TV, but that will happen only if there's any interesting project that comes my way. I'm dying to do TV, but I'm saying that I'm not averse to the idea of doing television. I'm not opposed to the idea of doing anything, for that matter. But unfortunately, whatever has been offered to me always has been either a sloppy soap or supernatural drama or something that they know I will not play. I',mwaiting for someone to approach me for projects I like. I'm sure that time will also come."

Like mentioned before, Rajeev has achieved quite a lot, but what is it that he is still waiting for? I wanted to know that over the years, there is something that he still want to achieve in the industry or one kind of role that he wants  to deliver. Concluding this conversation, he said with a smile, "Well, maybe I'm waiting to perform someday, in a place like the theatre and engage an audience live. So yes, that is something that I've been waiting for, for somebody to nominate me and I'm sure that day will come. It is a dream to entertain the audience which is sitting right there. Don't ask me why because I'm just talking keeping the curiosity in mind. But other than that, I have nothing that I dream about, because I do not really invite such thoughts. To be honest, I'm tired of trying to tell people about this and believe me, I'm very instinctive. One many think that I'm very deep and very shallow, but no. I just take instinctive calls. I may probably not live as per the standards of definition. But that's not how I think I'm supposed to do it. I'm just an instinctive guy and I've survived on my instincts. So far, I have made good choices instinctively and they generally go right."

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