Actor Rajeev Khandelwal of Aamir fame plays a jockey in forthcoming film Khan, but says he had to unlearn his horse riding skills for the movie since riding as a hobby is different from being a professional jockey.
"I've been riding horses from childhood. My father was in the army. So I was exposed to an equestrian life from the start. However, I've realised there's a vast difference between riding as a hobby and riding professionally. I've been unlearning my horse riding to play the jockey in 'Khan'. It's a fascinating but tough process. I can't say I'm not enjoying it," Rajeev told IANS.
This is Rajeev's second film after critically acclaimed Aamir and he has been spending considerable time on the race tracks with reputed jockeys of Mumbai to learn to be a professional horse rider.
The actor is establishing a rapport with the horse, which he compares with the boy's friendship with the donkey in Santosh Sivan's Tahaan.
"But I don't really need to get friendly with the horse. In my experiences with jockeys, I've been told that horses respond to being controlled. If you are in-charge and fearless on a horse, it will carry you well. In that sense, horse riding is a lot like my career," said Rajeev who became a household name after his stint in the TV series Kahiin To Hoga.
About the title of the film, Rajeev joked that "after Aamir doing Khan will prove once and for all whom I'd like to model my career on".
The film is being produced by Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd (PNC), which has produced films like Jhankaar Beats, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and Chameli.
Said producer Pritish Nandy: "Khan is a film about the relationship between a jockey who's on a downward slide in life and his horse. Its sub-title is Second Chances Don't Come Easily. Rajeev will have a girl. But the main relationship would be between the jockey and the horse."
Apparently, the first and most natural choice for the role was Randeep Hooda.
"We did think of Randeep first because his pictures with horses are all over the place. But then I thought he was too big-built to play a jockey. Hence we never approached him. Rajeev was hungry and eager for an exciting challenge. And in my lexicon that makes for a great actor. The fact that he's fresh and new also contributed to our decision to sign him. We at PNC constantly want to promote new or renewed talent," said Nandy.