OTTs have given a level playing field to all: Rajeev Khandelwal

How was it shooting Naxalbaari during the pandemic?

It was not easy at all. The pandemic was at its peak and so was the monsoon, and it was an outdoor shoot! We were shooting in the middle of a jungle and there was no access to any luxury that the actors are usually used to. There was customised food prepared keeping the hygiene standards in mind. But it was great just to be able to work.

So, your web series Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala is getting a season 2. How excited are you?

I am not doing the second season, if it is happening at all. I had told this to the makers four months back.

But it was such a hit show…

Yes, I am aware of it. I am not sure whether the second season is happening, but I am sure of the fact that I will not be part of it, even if it does. I refused to do it, as they wanted me to do Season-2 without even reading the script. They were like…. “Just say ‘yes’ to it, and we will write it”. But how can I say yes without reading it? We had not even discussed the possibility of a second season when I signed up for the first.

Web series is the new normal. How have you warmed up to the idea?

It is hardly ‘new’ anymore! It has been normal for a while now. When I was doing the first season of Haq se in 2017, people used to ask me “Rajeev, how do you see the future of the web and digital content?” and I would then say, “Future nahi hai bhaiya yeh present ho gaya hai!!” Today, we are alwatching movies also on digital platforms. I would say, there is a medium called television that you can watch, and there is a medium called digital where you watch a series, short film, film, or a documentary, all these are now part of digital content. Today, it is a level playing field for all.

What next?

I have just finished shooting for a project. The producers did not want to decide the platform before the shooting. They wanted to finish it with their own conviction. It is the first time you will see me attempting a comedy. It is actually mind blowing, I am being honest. I know modesty is not my thing! I am better off in comedy than the intense characters I am known for. I always knew that I have a good comic timing but hadn’t got the opportunity to exploit it. When I read this script, it felt as if it was tailor-made for me!

But how was the lockdown otherwise?

I have been shooting from March till July. I was in Goa. I have a house there. This time we got to spend five whole months there my wife, Manjiri, our dog, we all were together and it was pure bliss!

During the lockdown many couples decided to become parents. What about you guys?

Not yet ready for fatherhood/ parenthood… I would say. But you never know! It is not my call to take, but that to be taken along with Manj (wife Manjiri). Whenever that happens, we will surely let you know! Till now we have not had enough of each other, we are enjoying life and trying to make the most of the time we get to spend together.

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