First of Many: Rajeev Khandelwal revisits Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqeeqat

After she entered politics, I never bumped into her. And Vishal saw me. Rajeev, whose other popular shows include Time Bomb 9/11, Left Right Left, Sacch Ka Saamna and Reporters, has also been part of films like Aamir, Shaitan and Table No 21. So, I don’t think there were a lot of retakes. Like every newcomer, I thought I will do films and not TV or Balaji. Were you nervous? He might have moved on to films and tried his hands even in the digital space, but Rajeev’s stardom comes from his loyal fans who have been around him ever since he made his acting debut in Ekta’s Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqeeqat. There was this guy named Vishal, I still remember his name. One film or role that inspired you to become an actor? I remember that actor was there and the one playing my father was there. And by the end of it, I earned everyone’s love also. If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what will you like to change or do better? So, I was running away from the truth. I was hoping that my first scene is not with some senior actor, but with someone new as me. And then I was told the show was coming at 11.30 pm. There were people from all walks of life, from businessmen to youngsters, chaiwalas and autowalas, who ever thought they can make an entry into television. It is more like salvaging my lost pride then when I was a tiny tot actually. Of course, people proved that I was completely wrong. No, I wouldn’t remember the scene actually. I forgot his name. When the show got over, I was picked for Kahiin Toh Hoga. How did you land the lead role in Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqeeqat? Her responsibilities are different now. So, I used to shoot an ad, make some money and then come back to Delhi for 10-15 days. What do you remember of your first day on set? 2. I was booed away. I must have taken months and months because each time I saw myself on screen, I used to cringe that ‘kya bakwaas acting karta hai’, but I don’t know why I was being received well by people. I had auditioned for Sujal actually. I have to go.’ He said, ‘Just wait, I will audition you.’ I don’t know why, but I stayed back and I auditioned for a character named Piyush in the same show and then Sujal. But I just kind of got it right in terms of my dialogue. I remember great camaraderie on the set with everyone. So then in my head, I was prepared that I will continue with my struggle. Expressions and all I thought we will see later. I will not just think about my lines, but more about my approach, mannerism, body language and get better with the camera. And why should it change? And I was this small town boy who was picked from an audition. I had moved my base to Mumbai. I went up on stage and couldn’t perform beyond 30 or 40 seconds. Initially somebody else was playing Sujal. Who were your co-stars? My first show was Ekta Kapoor’s Kya Hadsa Kya Haqeeqat (KHKH) where we had all these senior and popular actors around me and Smriti Irani was playing my sister. I somewhere was trying to tell myself that if I am picked, and then if I say no, I will be more confident in life that I got an offer which I rejected. 3. I thought this is some fake thing as they just have to fill their tapes and go back and then probably pick somebody from their own circle. The brief given to me for Sujal was Mr Bachchan film meets somebody else meets somebody else kind of a thing. You are assuming in your mind that you won’t do TV when nobody hasn’t called you yet. I remember Smriti Irani was there though my first scene was not with her. I know it was the character that had an appeal. She was just the same. She was very sweet and very humble. I had no understanding about camera and acting. Also, every other actor whom I meet, it is the same. She is a national figure. I did not formally work as an actor in front of the camera before that. 4. But the first day wasn’t very bad. Maybe it was my nervousness after seeing so many people. He only did around 8-10 episodes, and then Santram Varma, another director came in. Then one fine day, Ekta called me to her office and said, ‘I want you to play Sujal!’ For me, the exciting part was that everyone was talking about the show even when it had not come on air. And I didn’t know what KTH was. When I finished KHKH, I heard that Balaji was looking for someone to replace Sujal after 15-16 episodes. So, probably my whole life is kind of a redemption of sorts because of that failure. Advertising

Rajeev Khandelwal can be called the first superstar of Indian television. I met her a few years back for a panel discussion at Indian Express only. Advertising

It was my own failure on stage that inspired me to become an actor. Rajeev Khandelwal along with co-stars Smriti Irani and Pallavi Kulkarni in a still from Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqeeqat. I didn’t know how to show my face. So, I peeped in and said, ‘Okay, this is not for me’. That audition is a big story. So needless to say, I was super nervous. 5. But I remember mugging up my lines. After that show, I kept meeting Smriti because I was part of Balaji and we used to meet on a number of occasions. He was a senior model. He said, ‘Excuse me, hold on. My first instinct was to not forget my lines, and upset any co-actor or the director. But I used to come back to Delhi because Mumbai used to scare me. This Ekta Kapoor find was a massive heartthrob in the early 2000s, and his Sujal Garewal from Kahiin To Hoga still remains one of the most popular and loved small screen characters. I remember this actor. For me, it was as good as KHKH. Of course, her role has changed. He was there. I was living at a friend’s place and I wanted to give him privacy for at least 20 days a month. I used to be not at peace in Mumbai because each time I would go for an audition, there would be hundreds of people. I remember I didn’t eat and the whole thing was to get that first day right. I don’t end up giving a lot of takes. So yes, definitely I would turn it around completely. So, thinking all this, I decided to go and meet them in Mumbai. How many retakes did you take? This is a factory because I remember that time there were 20 shows of Balaji. How was the rapport with them when you got to meet them again later? But it always stayed with me. I am still the same guy. I will definitely do 100 times better now. Advertising

But before that, Rajeev shares with us how he landed his first ever acting role of Raj Karmarkar in TV show Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqeeqat in 2002. And within five days, I got a call from Balaji, and they wanted me to come to their office and meet Ekta. Popular Photos

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I remember when I went there, the entire city had got up for the audition. After venturing into the digital space with ALTBalaji’s Haq Se, he will next be seen in Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala. I think I was terrible on day one. 0
Comment(s) The location of my first day of shoot was Madh Island. She has always been very good. I went there and said no to Ekta because I was offered KHKH. 1. I was in class 4. And then at one point, I thought first let someone select you, then pick what to do and what not to do. KTH was touted as an interesting romantic show. More Explained

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6. I had lost all hope that now who will watch it. Smirit Ma’am now (laughs). Either they think that’s all his capability is, so better ok the shot (laughs) or we manage somehow because I don’t generally forget my lines. You have come for the audition?’ I said, ‘Yes, but I am running late. I told myself that I will become an actor, but then that was more out of childishness or whatever. She was already quite famous because of her first show. During one of those trips, I read in the paper that Balaji was auditioning at ARSD college in Delhi for a show called Kahiin To Hoga (KTH). She said, ‘This is the central character in that series and I want you to do it.’ I said, ‘Ok let’s try it, what’s the big deal.’ I thought first let me try and excel in this and then aim for movies and all that stuff. I remember the room where I was sitting.