‘Getting intimate was intimidating’


TV’s chocolate boy of yore Rajeev Khandelwan tells SANGEETA YADAV that after doing Aamir and other meaningful films, he feels contented with his journey so far and that in his next film Fever he will be getting intimate with international stars


  • What is Fever all about?

The story revolves around an assassin Armin who loses his memory after an accident and only remembers his name. Three women come into his life to help him recall his identity.

  • Why the name Fever?

Director Rajeev Jhaveri has interpreted Fever as “driven by angst”. Julia Roberts beautifully said that fever is the expression of inner rage and that sums up our film.

  • Any firsts in this film?

For the first time, I would be carrying a flamboyant look. The character of Armin is very demanding. He is brought up in Switzerland and how he goes through the transformation from being bad to good took a lot of emotional expressions with few dialogues. Armin was in a scary space. After the memory loss, the character doesn’t talk much because of fear of getting into trouble.

  • You romance three actresses in the film…

There is Caterina Murino who was the bond girl in 2006’s Casino Royale. Gemma Atkinson is a model-turned-actor who has done a popular TV series Hollyoaks and films in the UK. Then there is Gauhar Khan who is equally wonderful and I think this is going to be a film in which she will be highly appreciated for her acting skills.

  • How was your experience working with an all-woman cast?

Before going on the sets, it was an exciting thought to be in the company of three gorgeous women. But in their presence it was a little intimidating. Times have changed and it is a woman’s world now. All three of them were wonderful and kind enough to make me feel comfortable.

  • What took you out of your comfort zone?

The intimate scenes with these beautiful women were completely out of my comfort zone. I was shy and felt stupid. I was in a flux but these scenes were handled beautifully by the women. Having said that, the intimate scenes have been introduced in this film not to sell it but because the story demanded them. I don’t understand why Indian actors make a hue and cry about getting up-close on screen.

  • Was the director a tough task master?

Rajeev is a demanding director and he made us enact one emotion in five different styles. There were plenty of scenes which took a lot of time to shoot because he was not happy. There were times when we shot the same scene thrice and just couldn’t get it right. We shot the film at 18 locations in Switzerland so it was not an easy task.

  • Any great learning experience?

I learnt about team spirit. A film can’t be made just with an actor or a director. Contribution of the entire crew is important. I learnt a lot from the international actors about dedication and professionalism. Indian actors are used to travelling along with make-up artistes, hair stylists, etc but these women didn’t bring any entourage with them. They trusted our unit. And, despite not knowing the language, they won over the hearts of the crew.

  • You are missing from the small screen after Reporters…

Reporters was a limited series and I am happy that the makers didn’t extend it much. Nobody has offered me any finite series since then but I have been getting a lot of offers for infinite shows, something which I can’t commit to. There was a big gap between Sach Ka Samna and Reporters and I am hoping that the break will not be as big as this time.

  • What are you watching these days on TV?

I don’t watch much of TV as I can’t relate to the shows that are being produced.

  • What do you do when you are not shooting?

I travel a lot with my wife. If I am not shooting, I am not in Mumbai. I don’t sit here and network and wait for work or think about the next project. I go to my Goa house and spend time doing plantation, cycling, etc. I have customised my car so we often go on long road trips without a plan.

(The article got published in Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/backpack/its-good-to-be-stubborn.html).


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