‘I have watched Shakeela’s movies’

Rajeev Pillai

Actor Rajeev Pillai has been chosen to play a meaty role by director Indrajit Lankesh in his upcoming, ‘Shakeela.’ Rajeev, who was in the city recently, says that he is more than happy to be picked up to act alongside actor Richa Chadda. The actor was also in news recently for postponing his wedding owing to his involvement in flood relief operations in Kerala. Rajeev tells Metrolife what got him to sign ‘Shakeela.’

We heard you were involved in the flood rescue operations in Kerala?

Yes. I come from a small town called Pathanamthitta in Kerala where the floods have had a devastating effect. The low-lying areas were literally washed out. My friends and I got involved in a lot of flood relief work. We took a small boat and went everywhere asking people to get in but nobody wanted to leave behind their home and belongings.

Were the sights disturbing?

I couldn’t sleep for a few days because of what I saw. We weren’t scared for us but we wanted to get the maximum number of people to a safe location. We help as many people because the rescue work couldn’t reach the interior areas.

Coming to movies, is Bollywood movie ‘Shakeela’ your first commercial film?

You can say that. I play a substantial role in the film and share good screen space with Richa Chadda. A Malayalam actor being given a meaty role in a Bollywood film is indeed a big deal.

On working with Richa...

She was extremely accommodating and had no airs about herself. Keeping pace with her acting skills was a challenge.

What did you like the most about director Indrajit Lankesh?

Indrajit instantly puts actors in a comfort zone. He knows exactly what he wants from the actors and if he gets what he wants from them in just one take, he lets them be. He doesn’t go in for 20 or 25 shots.

Were you apprehensive when you heard that it was a film based on Shakeela?

I used to watch Shakeela movies when I was in school and I don’t think there’s anything to hide about it because we would have all watched it at some point. Here, in this film, my character was of utmost importance to me.

Shakeela has been through many tragedies in her personal life and I hope this movie helps better the image that people have of her.

What kind of roles interest you?

I would like to be a part of any role where I get to exploit my acting skills to the fullest.

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