‘Silence can speak a lot’

‘It’s important to embrace the silence.’

Shantanu Maheshwari is a part of that group of actors that transitioned from television to films.

Shantanu, who appeared in a number of daily soaps and dance-based reality shows, got his big break with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi where he played Alia Bhatt’s romantic interest.

But his journey to the big screen was never easy as he tried to break the preconceived notions about him as a dancer and choreographer.

Playing a Bengali dentist in love with a vampire in Netflix’s Tooth Pari, the 32 year old tells Mayur Sanap/Rediff.com, “It used to be a big problem to make people understand that one can be equally passionate about dancing as well as acting. Bagging the kind of roles I wanted to do was a struggle.”

What drew you to Tooth Pari?

The story. I liked the whole universe of the vampire world that Pratim (Dasgupta, Writer-Director) sir has created.

This is very different from other vampire shows that we have seen in the Indian or global circuit.

What are the challenges of doing a fantasy romantic drama like this?

It’s a challenging genre in India because it has not been handled well. We are also a bit sceptical about it because of the global exposure that we have nowadays.

The ones who have been successful at making something good and original were accepted in a unanimous way by the audience.

For example, when we were young, we used to watch shows like Shaka Laka Boom Boom.

As a kid, we all wanted that pencil to happen.

I don’t know if it was an original concept, but I loved watching it.

Fantasy has its own audience. If it’s done in the right way with the right amount of logic and humanising things in a certain manner and playing with emotions, the audiences will accept it. Our show has been able to execute beautifully.

You are mainly a dancer and choreographer. What got you interested in acting?

I entered the industry as an actor-dancer.

But I got more famous as a dancer and choreographer.

When I joined D3 (Dil Dosti Dance), I got exposed to the acting part of it and thought it was very interesting.

I’m passionate about performing and entertaining people. 

What struggles did you go through before landing an opportunity like Gangubai Kathiawadi?

A lot. People considered me only as a dancer or a choreographer.

They would only approach me for dance-based acting projects.

It used to be a big problem to make people understand that one can be equally passionate about dancing as well as acting, and you don’t need to choose one to be good at something.

Bagging the kind of roles I wanted to do was a struggle.

What was your biggest takeaway from Sanjay Leela Bhansali?

Understanding a way to approach a scene and a character.

Understanding the depth of it.

How you can enhance things as an actor.

There is no one way of doing certain things, there are multiple ways of approaching and you should put in your time and effort to think of numerous ideas to approach a scene.

Also, at times, do not overdo things. Just be in the skin of the character and the thought process of the character.

It’s also important to embrace the silence. Silence can speak a lot.

You recently bagged a film opposite Ajay Devgn and Tabu. Are you nervous about this one?

I can’t talk about it because it is not official yet.

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