Unsafe but still secure

Updated: Apr 27 2008, 06:02am hrs
He was the poster boy of television, starring in Balaji serials and breaking many hearts. But then Rajeev Khandelwal wanted to grow in life, expand his range, and so he quit TV to make the journey to the big screen. After reading a lot of scripts, he settled for a rather unsafe film for his debut. He opted for UTV Spotboys Aamir, directed by Rajkumar Gupta, who assisted Anurag Kashyap in his films, and got into the character of an ordinary guy caught in extraordinary circumstances by shooting without makeup. Ahead of the May 16 release, Khandelwal speaks to Sudipta Datta on the switch from television to the big screen, why he is uncomfortable with the studio model and the dramatic changes sweeping the film industry. Excerpts:

Why did you choose to shift from TV to the big screen

I had to grow in life, which is a pretty human instinct. I wanted to expand my range, experiment. There are so many dreams that I have, so I had to begin somewhere.

Is Aamir the perfect debut film

I heard plenty of scripts but none I wanted to be a part of. Aamir is a call of your heart. I agree a newcomer would want to do a safe film which Aamir is not. But when I read the script, I realised that if it could be translated into a film, then we would have achieved something.

How was the experience

I always find glitches in my experience but I really enjoyed making the film. Its the story of an ordinary boy caught in extraordinary circumstances. It couldnt have been a better debut.

What are you doing next

I am meeting plenty of people and reading a lot of scripts. But I dont want to be insecure and sign five films. Like Aamir, I am waiting for a script that will throw me off my chair. I want to do commercial cinema but I also want to feel good about my work.

Do you feel there is a place for people like you in the film industry

There are dramatic changes in the industry. People are willing to experiment and make films with lesser-known stars. Good cinema is coming out of the industry too. For every 10 trash films, there are at least three good films.

Many stars are opting for the studio model, signing yearly contracts with production houses. Has anyone approached you

A production house did ask me to sign a five-year contract but I refused because I am not comfortable working in a studio model.

Will we see you returning to television

Yes, if I can break new ground. I dont want to do things that I have already done in the past.