By SWAPNANEEL BHATTACHARJEE | March 6, 2018
Lights, camera, action – these three words have always been very special to him.
From the romantic ‘Rahul’ of Kuch Kuch Hota Hain to the atrocious ‘Alauddin Khilji’ of Padmaavat, he has lived each and every character of the silver screen zillions of times in the world of his creative fantasies.
A dream of seeing himself as a movie star, the big decision to try his luck in the ‘City of Dreams’ and finally getting his first break sums up the journey of this youngster from a small town of Assam, who has set his eyes to make it big in the showbiz industry.
He is Rajdeep Choudhury from Silchar, who has recently made his Bollywood debut with Jack and Dil. The film, directed by Sachin Karande, stars B-town celebrities like Arbaaz Khan, Sonal Chauhan and Evelyn Sharma.
A tennis enthusiast and a die-hard fan of Roger Federer, Rajdeep will also play the protagonist in a Hindi feature film titled ‘Nange Pair’, which will be based on the tradition, culture and lifestyle of Assam. Under the banner of London UK Films, the movie will be shot in different picturesque locations of the state and is expected to hit the theatres in 2019.
In an exclusive chat with TNT – The Northeast Today, the talented actor shares some experiences of his Bollywood career and personal life. Here are the excerpts:
TNT – First of all, congratulations on your Bollywood debut
Rajdeep Choudhury – Thank you so much.
TNT – What prompted you to step into the world of cinema?
RC – I always loved cinema and the world of glitz and glamour fascinated me a lot. I remember, I used to watch a lot of films during my college days in Pune.
I had participated in some competitions during which I focused on building a good physique and also learnt to dance. In one of the competitions I could not perform as per expectations which disheartened me and I had kind-of given up the dream of trying my luck in Bollywood.
However, things changed and the real time arrived after I started working in London for Harrods Technology Management Team where I often got to meet celebrities from around the world and had the chance to interact with the bigwigs of Bollywood.
Frequent interactions with these stars made me realise that a “latent desire” still existed in me and I had left something unfinished. The stepping stone was serving Rajat Sharma Sir (Aap Ki Adalat) and during a casual conversation he told me that we should never stop chasing that one big dream we always have. That gave me the “push” and eventually I resigned from my job and joined the first of my acting courses in London.
TNT – Tell us about the struggle before your first break in Bollywood
RC – Well, the biggest struggle was to find an apartment in Mumbai that I could afford. I had to stay in a hotel for more than a month and that was very expensive. Even while finding my apartment I went for casting calls and auditions. I faced many rejections but every rejection made me stronger. I never gave up. I trained myself to take all criticism in a constructive way and worked harder to turn them into positives.
TNT – You made your silver screen debut with Jack and Dil, in which you have worked with stars like Arbaaz Khan, Sonal Chauhan, Amit Sadh and Evelyn Sharma. Tell us something about the experience
RC – To be honest, I had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t dreaming after I got the offer (smiles). I have always admired the tenacity and abilities of all actors but to share screen space with such stars was a great feeling. It was a learning curve for me and I believe this will help me in my upcoming projects.
Arbaaz Sir is a true gentleman. By this I mean we need established actors like Arbaaz sir who makes a newcomer feel so comfortable. I remember him saying “Yeh accha tha” after one of my dialogues and it was an immense boost to my confidence.
Sonal is amazing. She looks stunning on screen and is a fantastic co-actor. I saw her film “Jannat” and to share screen with such a successful actress was an honour.
Amit has a strong personality and never hesitates to give his opinions for the benefit of the film and this positive criticism helped me as a newcomer to Bollywood. Evelyn is a show stopper with a fantastic personality which lights up the screen.
TNT – You have recently become the Face of Wales Tourisms, UK. How do you feel about this feat?
RC – Obviously, I was over the moon when these two great opportunities opened up for me at the same time – with one in India and another in the UK. On watching the film for the Welsh Tourism campaign produced by The Daily Telegraph and the upcoming trailer for Jack and Dil, directed by Sachin Karande, one can see and feel my enjoyment and enthusiasm in playing the roles. Hope, such pleasant surprises keep coming always (giggles).
TNT – You are going to play the protagonist in ‘Nange Pair’, an upcoming Bollywood movie under the banner of London UK Films. How do you see this opportunity as far as your career is concerned?
RC – Well, I see this as the next step up from my work so far. My director Sachin Karande has the confidence on me to play the role, and I believe that I have the training and experience to play the protagonist.
“Nange Pair” will connect with every family in our country and worldwide. Set against the backdrop of Assam’s beautiful rivers and jaw-dropping locations accompanied by a lively musical score, the movie will surely leave a deep impression in the viewers’ hearts.
TNT – The movie ‘Nange Pair’ will be the first commercial Hindi movie by London UK Films in India and it is going to reflect the tradition and culture of Assam. What can viewers expect from this?
RC – It is a complete family entertainment film which tells the story of a boy next door, a hopeless romantic, whose life gets changed forever by one bad decision. I’m sure people will love it.
I also believe the movie will give a big fillip to the entertainment scenario in Assam and encourage film-makers across the globe to come here and make films on the rich cultural heritage and traditional flavours of the state.
TNT – It is widely believed that casting couch plays a crucial role for getting breaks/good roles in Bollywood, particularly for new comers. What’s your viewpoint on this?
RC – We all hear apocryphal stories but I haven’t faced anything like that, so I cannot comment.
TNT – If you were given a chance to play a character of a famous Bollywood movie, which one you would choose and why?
RC – I would choose Mohan Bhargava from the cult classic film ‘Swades’. The film connects with me personally in many ways. I have stayed abroad for a decade and every time I return home I find some time to teach students. The film inspires me every time I watch it. The song ‘Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera’ always gives me goose-bumps.
TNT – You come from a place which is not related anywhere to films. As a small town boy, how tough was it to cope in Mumbai? What is the biggest challenge that a new comer is most likely to face if he/she wants to enter Bollywood?
RC – Frankly speaking, I never thought of myself as a small town boy. I have always been proud of where I come from. I think of myself as coming from an amazingly cultural, historic and diverse state which has given birth to legends like Padma Shri Bhupen Hazarika.
I had a good education and studied in India and abroad. I had a student bank loan and was always under pressure to work hard to repay my loans and pay my bills. I have done odd jobs and the best jobs around the world. So coping with Mumbai wasn’t too tough. What was tough was my decision to start an acting career by giving up a decent job in London. But hats off to the support of my father and sisters which helped me keep focus on my goal. I hope my mother (up there) is happy with my decision.
Every newcomer will face different challenges but from my limited experience I would suggest three things. Reach auditions on time. Prepare two or three versions of your monologue so it enables you to offer choices and show different emotions. Lastly, learn to adapt.
TNT – What are your future plans?
RC – Well, I take every day as it comes. My colleagues often says I am good at multitasking and getting things done. I plan my work and work my plan. My future plan is to work on good films, escaping occasionally for time with my family and hopefully to guide and teach students whenever I get the chance.
A Bollywood director you dream to work with – Zoya Akhtar
A celebrity you want to go on a date with – Madhuri Dixit, but she’s married so that’s not going to happen (giggles).
One word to define yourself – Confident
Biggest inspiration – My Mother
Hobbies – Reading, Horse Riding and Flying Small Aircrafts.
Instagram – rajdeepchoudhury
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