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'I quit because I was feeling stagnant'

tv Updated: Feb 05, 2008 14:48 IST
V Ananth
V Ananth
Hindustan Times
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Tata TV, it’s the big screen for him, with UTV’s thriller Aamir, which incidentally has no heroine. At the film’s wrap party he was being clicked by a posse of photographers. The photo-ops done, he sits himself down to tell me that he’s playing the title role of Aamir, a doctor.

The doctor arrives from overseas and is caught up in murder and mystery. The film has been directed by newcomer Raj Kumar Gupta.

The actor smiles, “Aaah, he could well be the next Raj Kumar Santoshi or Raj Kumar Hirani.”

New attitude
To face the film camera, Khandelwal states,“First of all, I had to change my attitude. One has to understand the director’s language. As far as TV is concerned, a scene is often okayed in just one long take. While facing the film camera, I didn’t even know where the camera was placed and which lenswas used. Iwas a student ready to learn on the sets.”

Back to basics
The pleasant-natured actor remarks that hemakes it a point to look up to everyone from the spotboy to the director to give him tips. “Ï may have been the highest-paid actor on television but I have been paid peanuts for Aamir ,” he says candidly.

<b1>“If my film would assure my producers a business of Rs 20 crore, I would not hesitate to ask for a remuneration of a Rs 1 crore a film. But I am not the kind of actor who will ever raise his price just because it is considered cool to do that.”

Khandelwal denies the rumors that he had walked out of the serial Left Right Left because the producers did not agree to a price hike.

“No way,” he snaps. “If you are at your peak as an actor, you can afford to hike your price and the producers would even agree. But I did not ask for a hike. I left the serial because of creative issues.”

Stagnating
Rajeev adds. “It is not easy to give up Rs 8 lakh a month. I stopped accepting TV serials simply because I did not want to do the same old stuff over and over again. Though I was not overexposed on TV.. I have just done three or four serials.. I quit because I was feeling stagnant as an actor.”

Khandelwal was seen on TV in Kahin To Hoga , Time Bomb, Left Right Left and the game show Deal Ya No Deal.