Christmas was anything but a holiday for Rajeev Khandelwal. The actor was in city the promoting his movie, Table No 21 that will be releasing on January 4. “Everything has gone for a toss,” he wryly remarks about working on Christmas. “I don’t like coming to Bangalore just for a day,” he rues before shifting focus to talk about his movie, one that will see him on screen after quite the gap.
Touted as an edgy thriller, the excitement is palpable in his voice when to our query of the movie’s plot he says, “I can’t talk about the story. I am dying to talk about it and while what you see in the promos is a part of the story, it’s not everything. So, while the movie is about a couple who end up playing a game for `21crore, we can’t reveal the complete plot because we’ll end up sharing the crux of the film.” Fair enough. He, however adds, “Every stage of the film is going to be a nail-biting experience.”
An actor known to be excruciatingly selective about his films, the obvious question is what about the film attracted him to the project, especially considering the fact that his previous film, Will You Marry Me, which sank without a trace was directed by the same director as Table No 21 — Aditya Datt.
After a moment of demurring and candidly admitting that he’d stopped talking to Aditya after Will You Marry Me failed, Rajeev recalls, “When I was first offered the film, I wasn’t told who the director was going to be. The makers just sent me the script and when I read the film, my initial reaction was if I should I do this film. I told the makers that I needed some time to think over it. Interestingly, the story stuck with me and so when I decided to take it up, I wanted to know who the director was. And when they informed me that it was Aditya, they wanted to know if I had any issues with working with him.” Deliberating a bit, he adds, “I even had people asking me if I wasn’t scared of working with him as his earlier movies hadn’t really done well. I think he is a nice guy guy who knows his job. All he needs is a good script to prove himself.”
That a major part of the movie was shot in Fiji is a known fact. Quiz him about the shooting experience and getting recognised there and Rajeev says, “I’d earlier received fan mails from Fiji but I was pleasantly surprised when I got out of the airport the first time and saw a group of girls who started screaming my name and jumping in joy when they saw me. That was a great feeling.”
Recounting another amusing incident Rajeev says, “There is a song in Will You Marry Me called Will You Be My Superman. Now, while no one in India even knows the song, the people in Fiji knew it enough to sing it every time they saw us. Aditya and I were happy that the movie was watched in Fiji at least!”
Light banter aside, we finally wonder if being choosy as an actor, especially one with no filmi background, is a good survival tactic.
Pondering a bit, Rajeev says, “When I got into acting, I never set out to do a particular number of films or work with big names. And while it is still challenging, in the sense that I get scripts that I don’t want to be a part of, I have never been insecure with the films I’ve done. With every film that I do, I think I might have to sell my house and start all over again (laughs) but I’ll say, I’ve survived doing it my way. That I will be completing ten years as an actor is enough proof of that.”