Merely three films deep into his cinematic career, Bollywood newcomer Rajeev Khandelwal believes he is onto something special after starring in Indian independent films like Aamir and Shaitan. With Neerav Ghosh’s Soundtrack adding to Mr. Khandelwal’s list of Indian indie films, perhaps the former television star (Kahiin To Hoga, Deal Ya No Deal, Sun Leyna) is hoping his track record speaks for itself, ergo making it unnecessary for him to pummel through the doors of major studios to find his next opportunity.
Perhaps he just enjoys starring in Indian independent films, which, for now at least, appears to be the wisest move.
“I have not knocked on anyone's door for a role. I have not asked big names like Yash Chopra for a role. I want to do films with people who are honest and passionate about their craft,” Mr. Khandelwal told the Indian press in New Delhi about his conscious decision to live outside the studio system universe. “For me, a film is not a business proposition.”
Indeed, the versatile actor has already showed his range, despite starring in just three Bollywood films since 2008. In addition to playing a deaf deejay in Soundtrack, Mr. Khandelwal has portrayed a commoner fighting terrorism in Aamir, and an inspector in Shaitan.
For Mr. Khandelwal, portraying different – and challenging – roles is part of the job description.
“I like to do films that push my boundaries. A film like Aamir is still remembered by the audience because it was different, (despite being) a small budget film,” the up-and-coming actor told the press. “One thing that I have realized is that budgets don’t decide the quality of films.”
Another thing big budgets and formulaic studios do not decide is how Mr. Khandelwal lives his life.
“I do not do anything consciously,” the young actor casually pointed out to the press. “Other than my fitness, I don't take care of anything in my life. I go by instincts; I go with the flow.”
Mr. Khandelwal certainly went with the flow in taking on his role in Soundtrack -- a film he believes will raise eyebrows for thinking outside the studio box.
“Soundtrack is an interesting film that raises the bar for other films,” Mr. Khandelwal told the press about Bollywood’s remake of the cult classic It's All Gone Pete Tong.
A biopic of sorts about DJ Raunak Kaul, Soundtrack somewhat resembles The Social Network in that the film portrays how an unexpected individual was able to create a vast empire. Through Kaul’s prominent rise to power, he becomes addicted to several vices, such as drugs and alcohol. Soon, he loses his hearing ability before overcoming the odds to be a deejay that entertains his audiences even though he cannot hear.
Now out of character, Mr. Khandewal is looking forward to his next campaign, which, coincidentally, takes him back to where he started – on the small screen. The National Geographic Channel has brought Mr. Khandelwal aboard to serve as the face of its most recent program, Supercars.
Ironically, Mr. Khandelwal is not much of a car guy.
“I am not a car person. I chose to do the show, as I was kicked about being the face of such iconic beauties like Lamborghini, Porsche, the Audi, the Rolls-Royce Phantom, and other super cars,” Mr. Khandelwal told the press. “My guy friends envy me for being so close to these beauties.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the world is envious of Mr. Khandelwal’s budding acting career, which continues its escalation this weekend.
‘Soundtrack’ opens worldwide on October 7, 2011.