“What’s meant to be will always find a way!” Tell that to Rajeev Pillai and he would happily endorse that quote with an incident that unfolded five years ago. He says, “That was the time when I was not doing any movies and I was modelling. I was walking through the MG Road in Bengaluru when a stranger stopped me and asked if I would be interested in acting in his Kannada film. He followed up on that query and cast me in his movie but that film did not take off. After that, I became active in various other films, but the man I met in Bengaluru — V. P. Shankar — remembered his promise and years later, cast me in his next Kannada movie. In the film Vyagra directed by Shankar, who has 16 years of experience in the industry, I would be playing the villain.” Strange are the ways of fate.
Talking about the differences between the industries, leaving aside the obvious monetary advantages in Kannada, Rajeev says that since the cast and crew were very friendly, he enjoyed his time in Sandalwood. He adds, “It is the working atmosphere that imparts comfort levels and I felt totally at home.” Rajeev has never limited himself to only Mollywood and he has acted across the industries like Tamil, Telugu and Hindi with the top guns in the business.
Though his appearances in Malayalam have been sporadic, it is not for lack of offers. Rajeev explains, “I had said ‘no’ to 22 films because I was getting the same kind of roles. I have made my share of mistakes and wanted strong character roles that would allow me to display my talent.” His long wait came to an end with the role in his next Malayalam film. While Rajeev has usually been cast as the villain or the friend of the hero, he is looking to break his image through Jude Anthany’s Oru Muthashi Gadha.
“I have a pivotal role to play in this film which has many prominent actors. I would like to keep my character under wraps but I can assure that it would be completely different from what I have done so far. This would be the kind of role you would never expect from me!”
He also has a Hindi film in the offing, which is not strictly commercial, that would give him a chance to showcase his histrionics. His Tamil film is also set to roll soon in which he would be playing the second lead. Looks like he has enough on his plate to keep him busy for a while....