ZEE5’s latest offering Naxalbari, which revolves around a mission to curtail a naxal uprising, has been winning hearts.
Calling it a straight forward show, Khandelwal shared that Naxalbari is a thriller that doesn’t delve deep into naxalism. “The backdrop is of the naxals, but it’s a revenge story, with some really interesting characters,” he said.
Given the ZEE5 show was the first project to be filmed outdoors after lockdown restrictions were slightly lifted, the actor said that it was a very different experience shooting for the show. For Khandelwal, it was nothing short of “inviting trouble home”. He also shared that since the SOPs required a different workflow, a lot of sequences had to be toned down.
“We could have done so much more. However, it was practically not possible, and so we had to cut down on a lot. I want the audience to understand the show was shot during peak Covid time. They should keep that in mind and give concessions to the makers,” Rajeev Khandelwal said.
The team, as per the actors, would never hang out together or party post pack up, which was something new for everyone. For the first time, that camaraderie was missing, though for all of them, keeping themselves safe was the priority.
Satyadeep Mishra, who plays one of the naxals, even shared an incident wherein one of their cars, which had a Tamil Nadu number plate, was not allowed in the village. The shoot had to be halted as people felt that they were outsiders, and could spread the virus locally.
Further talking about his part, the actor shared that he is playing the muscle head, who is a trigger-happy guy. “His supervisors have to always keep him on a tight leash, given he loses his cool quite quickly. However, in this season, you won’t get to know why he is like that. He is a crazy gun-wielding person,” said Mishra.
Rajeev Khandelwal, who has played officers in his previous shows, added that it was fun to don the uniform again. Coming from an army background, he said that it comes naturally to him. Even though his brother is in the army, the actor said that his attitude is more like a soldier’s.
The subject of naxalism is a debatable one, and Khandelwal assured that the team is not trying to make any political statement. He shared, “The issue may be controversial, but we have made a show, which won’t deal with that. Honestly, not much is known about the naxals, and hence there is always an interest generated around them. We are not trying to say or preach anything. We are focusing more on who benefits from something like this.”
Also starring Shakti Anand, Tina Dutta and Sreejita De, Naxalbari is streaming on ZEE5.