Kshitij Chauhan, who has joined the list of budding actors in the industry, has been receiving positive reviews for his performance in his debut OTT series, ‘Chutzpah’. In an exclusive interview with ETimes, the actor spills the beans on making a debut in the digital space, actors he looks up to in the industry, and the filmmakers he wishes to work with. Excerpts…
At a time when established superstars are making their way on OTT, you got to make your debut in the digital space. How does it feel?
It feels marvelous. I am grateful that I debuted in the digital space, which is just another medium to showcase your craft. It was OTT that gave me my first break, so, it will always be special for me. And the best part of it was that it was with the best people in the business--Dinesh Vijan, Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, and Simarpreet Singh.
How was it facing the camera for the first time?
It wasn’t exactly the first time. I had faced the camera before for advertisements and short films. But yes, for a long format, it was the first time and it felt surreal that I was finally getting the chance to do what I always wanted to do.
What kind of reactions have you been receiving so far for ‘Chutzpah’?
The reactions have been overwhelming. I have been getting so many messages and calls. At first, I actually thought people are going to despise me for the character that I played, but the audience is smart enough to differentiate between the actor and the character. They found my character Prateek despicable but, at the same time, they showered me with love. It feeds your artistic soul.
How and when did you decide to become an actor?
My story is very different from that of most people. I didn’t know anything about acting and yet decided to come to Mumbai. I was learning acting, and at the same time, also auditioning. However, when I got to know the process of acting--how when you build your character, you observe different people, you learn about human emotions, you learn about yourself and how you react in different situations, you come closer to yourself and that’s the beauty of this art--I fell in love with it and realised that this was what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Were you a movie buff while growing up? Who did you grow up idolising?
I used to watch a lot of Bollywood movies. I was a big fan of this industry, but cinema, for me, was just a form of entertainment while growing up. I was totally unaware of the beautiful artwork that it consisted of. I idolise Ranbir Kapoor; he’s brilliant! Irrfan Khan sahab was by far the best actor of Bollywood.
Like Siddhant Chaturvedi and Bhumi Pednekar, you, too, have worked in casting. Tell us something about your experience there…
I feel you learn a lot when you’re behind the camera.
You are also a music lover. Do you have anybody you look up to from the Indian music industry?
My love for music is tremendous and, if not an actor, I would have become a musician. But I can do both, actually. I really admire Richa Sharma. Her singing is soulful. AR Rahman’s music is a treat to the ears.
If your Instagram is anything to go by, you are also a fitness enthusiast. How important do you think fitness is, especially in today’s times?
Yes, fitness is something that I endorse. I feel it’s high time that people started taking health seriously, especially after this pandemic. I’m not talking about having chiseled abs and a toned body, but your body should be strong and healthy from within. Currently, I’m reading ‘Ikigai’; people should read that book and learn how important it is to do exercise and eat healthy regularly.
Who, according to you, is the fittest actor in Bollywood?
John Abraham is my fitness idol. Even Tiger Shroff and Hrithik Roshan are very fit.
One actress you would love to share screen space with...
I would love to work with Alia Bhatt someday. She is so effortless!
One filmmaker you would love to work with...
I would love to work with Imtiaz Ali sir for his soulful and Sufi filmmaking style. I even want to work with Anurag Kashyap sir for his unapologetically raw and real cinema.
From amongst the newer lot of actors in the industry, who do you think has a lot of potential?
Ishaan Khatter is very talented. I have worked with him in a commercial; he was too good!