Fans might be happy to see Rajeev Khandelwal returning to an intense romantic role in Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala, but the actor reveals he was initially hesitant to do ALTBalaji’s new show. However, he went ahead and trusted its creator Ekta Kapoor and director Pradeep Sarkar.
Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala also stars Divyanka Tripathi. The show revolves around two hotel management students, Nitya and Vikram who fall in love only to part ways. While Nitya goes ahead and becomes the chef of a restaurant, Vikram ends up as a two-star Michelin Chef. They meet again later, but things are not the same.
Ahead of its launch on ALTBalaji on September 3, Rajeev sat down for a candid chat about the show, doing experimental cooking like his character and why he enjoyed playing the younger version of his character more.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala is a rather unique title.
I was told it is an intense love story in the world of gourmet cooking. But the title initially seemed off to me. It had however come from Ekta (Kapoor) and I don’t doubt her when it comes to casting, title and names. For instance, I didn’t really like my character’s name ‘Sujal’ in Kahiin Toh Hoga. Now that it’s done, that was Ekta’s vision which worked. She has a knack for casting the right faces. Also, the title Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala depicts the storyline. Both the characters fluctuate between ‘cold lassi’ and ‘chicken masala’. Now who’s what, you’ll know once you watch it.
Q. This is your third show with Ekta Kapoor (after Kahiin To Hoga and Haq Se). What’s special about working on an Ekta show?
My association with Ekta doesn’t go wrong. People say she brings out the best of my romantic image. And I am doing a hardcore romantic after a long time, in fact after Kahiin Toh Hoga. By the way, when Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala was offered to me, I said no. Then I read the entire script and realised this is fantastic writing, something very interesting.
Even today, after doing so many serials, films and web series, Ekta knows what scene is being shot. There’s a note which comes in as “Ekta’s input”. Sometimes, they would send me “Ekta’s transcript” which she has enacted for me, that this is the attitude she wants. She is so passionate about everything. She will say “I want Rajeev’s those eyes, I want it like this…” So I will know exactly what she wanted. Of course, whichever roles I have played, I feel a lot of Ekta in my characters.
Q. The trailers have intrigued us a lot. Tell us more about its plot.
The story fluctuates between two time zones. Nitya wants to pursue a career in cooking and joins a college. Because Vikram is smitten by her, he joins it too. So there was love at this point. Then she goes ahead and opens a restaurant and he becomes a two-star Michelin Chef. Now, after 8 years, this man has mysteriously returned in her life. They end up working together, and that chemistry and passion still exists. But there is a lot of hatred too. You think you have moved on but then you realise you actually haven’t. So how they deal with it, what they do is what the story is.
Q. How was it being directed by Pradeep Sarkar?
I couldn’t believe that Dada (Pradeep Sarkar) is actually going to do it. We did a lot of workshops together. He records the entire audio while we are rehearsing. Then he will hear it and come the next day and say there’s something missing and make us redo it. So that passion was fantastic. He has brought out something that I knew existed in me but nobody cared to tap it, which is the much lighter and fun side of mine. After the shoot got over, I told him I am going to miss you.
Q. Since the show travels between your story in college and your life after 8 years, we see you (and Divyanka) in a very young look too.
You will really enjoy the younger side of my character. Something happens when you wear a uniform. I suddenly felt young, like a college boy. Even your attitude changes. I enjoyed that part so much. We did such crazy things. Second part is more intense because the drama comes in.
You want to meet him? https://t.co/1Y6c1s0vVc
— Rajeev Khandelwal (@RK1610IsMe) August 24, 2019
Q. How much of real cooking is happening in the show? Do you cook in real life?
Everything is real, but there isn’t a lot of cooking because the show is not just about kitchen. Only the basis of the story is food. Vikram is an “experimental cook” which I am in my real life too. I will just pick up whatever is available in the kitchen with no specific recipe just like him.
We had a real chef coming to teach us. Divyanka had a lot of problem because she doesn’t know how to cook at all. I have been doing it for the past 15 years at the basic level. But I did not know the style of a chef, how you hold the knife while chopping and all. So that we learnt. They used my little talent and groomed it further. Now I know more things in personal life too. And for Dada, it was like shooting an ad film. He is the champion of product shoots. I used to ask him “Will I also be visible? You have only shot my chopping portion. Please show my emotions too!” (laughs) He has shot it beautifully.