Rajeev Siddhartha smashed into the world of Indian web series in 2017 with Ekta Kapoor’s ‘Romil and Jugal’ on Alt Balaji and his charismatic on-screen presence has kept his fans enthralled since then. From his ‘Mr. Too-Good-To-Be-True’ supporting role in Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Four More Shots Please!’ to Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘Hundred,’ where he played the edgy character of a racketeer in the corporate threads managing shady deals for gangsters, corrupt police officers, and politicians – he has kept us entertained and engrossed.
We spoke with Rajeev Siddhartha about his foray into acting, his latest projects, and more!
DissDash – Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
Rajeev Siddhartha – I was born at my maternal grandparent’s house in Dhanbad, Jharkhand on the 11th of April, 1986. He was a genius doctor and some of my fondest memories are spending my holidays with him. I grew up mostly in boarding schools in Mussoorie and Dehradun as I was sent to a boarding school when I was five-years-old. People always ask me isn’t that too young to be away from your parents, but honestly, some of my fondest memories in life have been forged during my schooling years. I was fortunate to have had some great teachers and the friendships from school almost always last a lifetime.
DissDash – How did your acting journey begin?
Siddhartha – I was working at an investment bank as a wealth advisor but after a few months, I started getting the impulse to act and to take it up professionally. Even though there was no prior experience nor did I know anybody in the field, yet the pull was too strong. So, one fine day went up to my boss and gave in my papers. I also knew that if I am doing this then it has to be done the right way and one has to work on their craft and for me, the theatre was where I could hone my skills and one thing led to another and through a series of happy coincidences I landed a part in the classic play- “Adhe Adhure” written by Mohan Rakesh and directed by Lillette Dubey and one could not have asked for a better entry point in the world of acting. Doing the play and touring with it across India has to be one of my most memorable experiences.
DissDash – Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
Siddhartha – Nope. One generally follows the basic few routes handed to us by society. It was only while working at the bank that the need/desire to act was born and well it was then that I decided to take the road less traveled.
DissDash – What did your family think of you becoming an actor, were they supportive?
Siddhartha – My family was aghast and rightfully so – they had no clue how the film industry worked and had no idea about the universe I was about to enter. So, initially out of concern they tried to dissuade me, which in a way is good because that tests your resolve about being an actor. In fact, a lot of my family, friends, and relatives were against it but then the drive to act was probably more than the opposition I was facing. Now, however, they see and enjoy and appreciate the work. In fact, I would say two of the strongest qualities an actor needs I have got from my parents. ‘Empathy’ from my mother and my father’s ‘work ethics and dedication.’
DissDash – Talk to us about your most recent project.
Siddhartha – “Aashram” on MX player has been my most recent project and it has been appreciated by the critics and the audience alike. It is basically about a con man who pretends to be a Baba (Godman) and thereby exploits the faith of the vulnerable in society. Prakash Jha has directed it and a project with a massive scale like this one could not have asked for a better captain. I play the role of Akki – who is a local journalist and he joins the fight against the exploitation of people done within Baba’s Aashram.
DissDash – How did you get the role?
Siddhartha – I met Prakash Sir in his office and had a conversation concerning the series after which I sent in an audition while I was shooting for ‘Four More Shots Please – Season 2’ in Udaipur. I had a day off and requested two staff members (one to hold the camera and the other for dialogues) for help and soon after I sent in the audition- I got a call telling me that I was selected for the part.
DissDash – Were you happy with your work?
Siddhartha – Absolutely. As an actor, I have always wanted to do different parts and different characters and a part like Akki was one part I had not played before, and working with such a fantastic team made it all the more memorable.
DissDash – What was your memorable experience from any project?
Siddhartha – Too many to list down. I have been lucky to have been part of some great teams and the most thrilling and uplifting feeling is when you see the entire team working with tremendous gusto towards one final aim – to create something fantastic. Also, each project teaches you something, and with that experience, one explores newer territories as an actor.
DissDash – Who is your inspiration?
Siddhartha – Again, it will be unfair to name just one. But, what really is a remarkable quality in some individuals and you see many such individuals in history who despite what the world threw at them, despite their circumstances, despite all odds being against them, they marched on and created things of value and became pioneers in their fields, without ever letting hate get in their way. These guys are inspirational.
DissDash – What do you have planned next?
Siddhartha – “Sitara” – a film on love, acceptance, and forgiveness is next. It is being produced by RSVP and Vandana Kataria is the director. This is a film that will definitely bring a smile deep in the hearts of people because of the journey it will take you through. There are other series’ lined up too – and the best part is that all belong to different genres and hence it is exciting for me as an actor.
DissDash – Any plans for international work?
Siddhartha – There is so much more opportunity nowadays to work in a different country and be part of stories from all across the world. So, if the opportunity presents itself, then definitely.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.