ĎThere is no formula for
TV actor Rajeev
Khandelwal, talks to Swati R Chaudhary about
his debut film Aamir, a psychological thriller
How would you
describe your debut film Aamir?
is a complete Bollywood commercial thriller. It is not one of
those run-of-the-mill thrillers. You would be forced to think.
Itís a battle of ideologies. Itís a psychological thriller.
There are no superstars, larger than life locations or
supporting cast to sell the film. Aamir is the story of
an average middle class Indian.
What is your role
in the film?
The film is about
the problems average Indians face. Itís the story of Aamir Ali
who lands in Mumbai and is oblivious to the trap that is
awaiting him. He is sucked deeper and deeper into it but
eventually fights his way out. Aamir is an ordinary guy caught
in extraordinary circumstances. He is no hero but becomes a
How did Aamir happen?
After I quit my
last television show, Left Right Left, I was offered Aamir.
The script completely floored me. I think I was born to play Aamir.
I have more than 25 bound scripts with me none of them excited
me enough. I was not asked for any auditions or screen tests.
Anurag Kashyap and his team showed a lot of confidence.
Nagpada, Crawford market, mutton market`85Why was the film shot
at such congested locations?
The film is very
real in terms of story telling. There are no larger than life
portrayals in Aamir. To make it authentic, it was
important for the film to be shot realistically. Mumbai is an
integral part of the story line.
director (Rajkumar Gupta), no heroine, no item numbers, no
exotic locales`85Why this chancy debut?
There is only one
item in the film and thatís me. (Laughs). My first film has to
leave an impact and prove that I can deliver as an actor. Being
an outsider, I knew no one would launch me in a Rs 35-cr magnum
opus. Nobody would make a Saawariya with me. I know I
have to make it on my own. As far as making a romantic,
conventional debut is concerned, tell me which is the safest
debut? There is no fixed formula to success. How many actors,
who have made a romantic debut, have managed to stay back? There
is no way to device a safe launch vehicle.
what do you feel about your decision of quitting television?
I was unhappy with
the way things were happening. I am not much bothered about the
zeroes on my paychecks than the script. Television was becoming
mundane and unexciting. Besides, when is the right time to quit?
When the show shuts down or people get bored of the show? The
love and adulation is tempting but I believe you should leave
things when youíre at the helm of it. It takes a lot to detach
and walk away at that peak time. But I have always believed in
my decisions. It was difficult for me to walk out on the streets
with everyone looking at me, smiling, blowing kisses especially
when I knew I wasnít doing anything in the show (Kahinn to
Hoga). I was doing something that was making absolutely no
sense to me. Thatís when I decided to quit. I thought I wasnít
worthy of all that adulation. I had to deliver. So I chose to
Any big banners or
production houses lining up?
Big banners like
YRF and Karan Johar havenít approached me. But some people who
make a difference to the industry have approached me. I am just
holding myself back. I am just doing another romantic film with
UTV presently. I wonít sign any more films until Aamir
releases. I want people to see my work first.
Do people connect
to you as ĎSujalí or Rajeev Khandelwal?
I am recognised
more as Rajeev Khandelwal though Sujal is an intrinsic part of
my life. When I walk out today, there are a lot of women who
call me Sujal. There are plenty of people who call me Capt.
Rajveer Shekhawat from Left Right Left. I feel very
humbled. Itís amazing feeling because every time someone walks
up to me, I feel that they have decided to give me a couple of
minutes out of their lives without expecting anything in return
so the least I can do is make them feel special.
Apart from acting,
what else are you passionate about?
I am passionate
about life. I like cooking and love outdoor sports like
mountaineering and river rafting. I like meeting people. My nariyal
pani wala and the girl living down the slums are the most
interesting people in my life. Whenever I return her smile, she
blushes which makes me happy.
Your final take on
I am proud of Aamir.
I was destined to play Aamir. It had to happen to me. As
far as the box office success of the film is concerned, I canít
anything about it. ó TWF