Mumbai has seen thousands flocking to the city with celluloid dreams in their eyes! While some are able to make it, some return hapless! But the lovely guy in question today had an ease in him right from day one, at least that’s what I inferred from the deep conversation we had at a coffee shop tucked away from the hullabaloo of the city!
Well, Kinshuk Mahajan is not your average Joe, there is so much more to him than what meets the eye. Mahajan, who is currently playing the lead in Esselvision’s Bhutu on Zee TV has a philosophical bent of mind, his belief in destiny, and his charm – all in all endow him with an extremely magnetic personality! Isn’t that splendid?
Kinshuk, are you listening?
I never had an inkling that it is not just Bombay dreams that keeps this family man ticking – The extremely down to earth and soft spoken guy from Delhi is a far cry from a Delhiite – more so now, perhaps because he has way too much of the Mumbai vibe seeped into his veins! In a heart of hearts rendezvous with me, the doe-eyed man opened up like never before, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that his career, his choices and even his nonchalant body language is stuff best sellers are made of!
I hope his celebrity status transcends the boundaries of the mediums and he gets what he truly desires from his heart! In a repartee with Kinshuk Mahajan, he revealed a lot about his love, life and his equations with things; it warmed the cockles of my heart and it will warm yours too…
Excerpts from the interview:
You belong to Delhi, how did Bombay happen?
When I was 21 years old, I was doing a filmmaking course from Marwa, I did theatre from Shriram centre for performing Arts and after that I got Delhi Heights, I don’t brag about it though. Mohit Sehgal who was a friend of mine, was supposed to do Dhoom Machao Dhoom, he egged me to audition for the same show, I auditioned for the role and they selected me instead of Mohit. Now, because he was a good friend of mine, he was happy that the role came to me. The shoot for the show was supposed to happen in Delhi. Some of the cast finalised were Sriti Jha, Jay Bhanushani, Vikrant Massey and others. But the makers soon realised, Delhiites are very laid-back which is why they thought of shifting base to Mumbai. That’s how I came to Mumbai.
So you are now permanently settled in Mumbai?
Right now, I am permanently settled in Mumbai, I have my own house. But at that time, we were bound in a contract for 6 months. When I was in the show, people saw me in it. And that lead me to bag the lead role in Kajal for Sony.
I still remember a very interesting incident. I didn’t even know who Rajan Ji (Rajan Shahi) was. He called me. He must have seen my promo on Sony TV. He introduced himself and told me, he was making a show for Star Plus and that he wanted me to play the lead in it. At that point in time, the channel Star One was pretty popular and they aired many youth based shows like Dil Mill Gaye and I craved for roles like the ones in the show. I was pretty clear and that’s what I communicated to him as well; yet he insisted me to audition for the role. I told him point blank that I don’t want to be a part of any ‘Saas Bahu’ drama. Yet he insisted and I went to meet him. After meeting him, he told me, “I want you for the show and we are looking for someone who resembles Hrithik Roshan, it has to be a good looking face!”
When I auditioned for the role, I knew, I was pathetic. I called him and told him that I don’t think I’d be able to do a Saas Bahu role and that I will not be comfortable in mouthing typical dramatic dialogues precisely because I have never done something of that sort earlier. He told me, “We did your look test and we concluded that your looks suited the role, you tell me whether you want to do it or not.” He also reaffirmed that the serial would be aired on Star Plus. But at that point in time I was crazy about Star One. Therefore I was much undecided. To get over that, I called my Nani (grandmother). I asked her whether she watches Bidaai. She told me she does. I informed her that I was approached to play the lead for the show but was on tenterhooks about accepting the offer. I asked her whether she thought it was good for me to take it up or no. She got excited and said, it was a great opportunity and that I should do it. That’s when I called Rajan Ji again and told him that I was game for the show. Thankfully things worked out and I did Bidaai!
And the series turned out to be one of the first stepping stones for your career –
Yes, that’s right! I remember, I was doing Bidaai for almost 2 years and the show was about to take a leap. When the leap happened, I might have been around 23 years old. And in that age I was supposed to play father to an 8 year old girl! I told Rajan Sir, I am not keen on doing it. I told him about my misgivings for the track and that the role wouldn’t suit me especially because of my age! And you never know, what if the girl too grows up in the show? Anything can happen in a daily soap, you know (laughs).
Rajan sir asked me, “What do you want to do?” I refused point blank. When he saw that I was pretty adamant, he asked me whether I was keen to do another show from his stable. This was when Chand Chupa badal Mein was just launched. However, that show wasn’t doing well because of some issues. Rajanji replaced me with Kunal Verma for the role.
After Chand Chupa Badal Mein, I did a show for Zee called Afsar Bitiya. This was also the time when I was supposed to get married. In the show I was playing a Bihari character. But again, to be true I was not convinced with playing a Bihari. In order to communicate my uneasiness, I went to the producer of Chand Chupa Badal Mein, Rakesh Paswan. He had written for a number of TV shows earlier, he was producing the show and wanted me to play the role because he was pretty convinced. But in my head, because I always played a foreign-return-young-guy, playing a Bihari character was a big question mark! He told me that my audition was pretty good and plus my look really suited the role. But when I did it, Afsar Bitiya again turned out to be a huge hit; especially in Bihar and the surrounding regions. The name of my character in the show was Pintu and the Kurta I used to wear in the show became famous as “Pintu Kurta” and people in Bihar still wear it.
After Afsar Bitya, I got a Telegu film for which I got a break for one and a half years from TV. A project costing 30 crores, the film was supposed to be completed within 6 months. NTR was the producer. It was a story with a love triangle plot. I liked the story and travelled to Hyderabad for the film and I had put up in Ramoji Film city. It took a lot of time to complete the film but the film still hasn’t seen the light of day because an actress had slapped rape charges on the director. That’s when I started auditioning for TV shows once again.
So did you never try for films in Mumbai? Especially because everyone comes to Mumbai with dreams to become an actor
The thing with me was, I never thought, I would become an actor because I was keen on direction which is why I did a direction course in the first place. The course was supposed to last for three years but just after one year, I realised that it was not my cup of tea, so I left it midway for theatre. During my theatre stint, I started getting offers for modelling and print ads and I took up those assignments, post which Delhi Heights happened.
For me, opportunities came by luck. I never really struggled! And to be honest, I wasn’t even aware of a lot of things. The saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ actually held true for me. However, things are different now. I have become very selective as far as work is concerned but at that point of time, I used to be elated if I used to get calls and I used to do the role no matter what. Now, I want to do good roles. Earlier it was quantity and now it is quality, not to forget the monetary terms as well. Especially because now, I am in a position and I have to maintain that position.
How did your marriage happen? Was it a love marriage?
Yes, it was a love marriage. We started dating when we were in the eleventh standard, we met in an economics tuition. We became friends, it was very secretive a relationship. My father used to say that I can’t get married till I was 29.
Did your father know about your relationship?
No, he didn’t have any clue. That is why he used to tell me, only when I will be settled (in terms of money), will he think of my marriage. It is a common thing for Delhi guys to be a “Khotta Sikka,” they laze around in the house and are not even good with their studies; he was part of that milieu and that is why he used to say that. The two of us were in a serious relationship. We were good friends; we dated for 8 years and when I was 25, we got married. It was almost a year before marriage that I informed my family about our affair and then we got married.
Was she the only girl?
Yes! She is the only girl! She is a very innocent girl. She fits into the criteria which I like about girls. Her attitude is what makes me go weak in the knees. I like pretty girls. But Divya is not just a pretty face, she is a very sweet and positive person at the same time.
She is completely opposite to what I am. I am a very practical person, on the contrary she is a people’s person. She’s naive! All of my friends are her friends now. For them, I am very boring.
Tell me something about your childhood. Did you have it in your mind that you will be an actor?
My grandfather was a writer. He used to write novels, He has written a book called Phool aur Kaante and a lot others. He used to write columns in newspapers like Punjab Kesari. His pseudonym was Bal Bharti. He used to tell us stories. There was a time when my dad wanted to get into acting. He came to Mumbai but by the time he realised that he wanted to act, he was already married. He then had his family to support. Therefore he couldn’t fulfil his dream.
So when I was born, my dad had already resolved that he will never stop me from doing what I would want to do. I was an introvert; it was my father who always secretly harboured the desire of his son becoming an actor which is why I took part in a lot of activities in school. Even now, he is always super excited whenever any show features me, he makes it a point to visit the relatives and inform them about it.
You said you are an introvert; tell me about your friends and everything you believe about friendship
I have very limited friends. Right from my growing up years, I never quite had many friends. Every year the sections of your classes change. So the friends I made in a particular class were left out and I moved on in some other section the very next year. I lost touch with them. And even though the classes were all next to each other, I was never in touch with them.
I started dating Divya in my eleventh standard. And when you are with a girl automatically you lose touch with all your guy friends. I was too much into her and she was too much into me. During that time one of my best friends settled in Australia. There was another friend who belonged to a very politically influential family, his father was transferred to some other place. So as far as friends are concerned I haven’t been very lucky.
But having said that, I don’t want quantity, I always look for quality in friends. I am always looking for people I can share my heart with. I am good to everyone and everyone is good to me which is why everyone considers me to be their friend. But again, you can’t have a heart of hearts conversation with all and sundry! In Mumbai, very few people are close to me. People like Angad Bedi, Mohit Sehgal, Sudeep Saahir, Sanaya are all family to me. I also have a lot of friends who do not belong to the industry. There is a friend who wanted to get into acting, we eventually started our career together but things didn’t quite work out for him but we still are friends. I also have a friend who is an IIT Maths teacher. According to me it is good to have friends who are from outside the industry, it helps me to keep a track of what is going on in the outside world.
Kinshuk, there will be many who will come and go – that’s what the world is about, but you are a gem of a person and it shows, we hope you never lose your humility, your warmth and the cozy vibe that emanates from your persona –
Aur Haa, now I can clearly state, … Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai …