Rajeev Siddhartha is a well-known name in showbiz circles. In a chat with YourStory, this former investment banker shares why his role models are not necessarily famous people and his perspective on why he believes that if one truly wants to be a man of success, whatever one does has to come from a deeper place.
You moved from the stability of an investment banking job to the world of showbiz which is highly unpredictable, and that upset your family. Why was it so important for you to follow your passion?
The work was great. But, there was a pull from a deeper place to quit and explore something that I truly enjoyed. The voice only grew stronger. So, when I decided to honour it, my family, friends and other well-wishers asked me to reconsider my decision. I didn’t. Naturally, I faced a lot of backlash. Looking back, I am actually grateful that they were opposed to the idea. That is because I have come to the realisation that had I caved into the pressure and gone back to the corporate world, it would have meant my resolve wasn’t strong enough. Now with the appreciation for my work, my parents are happy and so are the others who had thought I had put my future at stake. More importantly, today whenever I am on a set - I feel at home. This is not from a physical sense, but from a feeling of deep peace and bliss.
Trying to make it on your own as an actor in the industry must have been challenging at least initially. How do you deal with it?
I decided to explore acting fully aware of the challenges – the uncertainty of whether or not you will get a role even after numerous auditions and the fact that I didn’t know anyone. That said, there were times that made me question my choices. And, each of those times, I told myself –‘Let me use this time to build on my craft so that when the opportunity comes, I am fully prepared.’ This really helped me lessen my focus on the outcomes. And when I did that, opportunities started coming my way. What I have also realised is that a crisis often brings out the best in you and you discover qualities that you never knew existed within. I’m a keen learner and learn from every situation and circumstance.
What does success mean to you?
I feel if one truly wants to be a man of success, whatever he does has to come from a deeper place. Any goal, anything that’s done selflessly and which not only helps you develop, but also helps people, that for me is a true mark of success. Success is also about learning and becoming a better version of yourself every day.
Who are your role models that you look up to and why?
I try and pick the best qualities in people and try to imbibe those qualities. If I see someone doing something which interests me, or is good, or will help me be more constructive towards society, I try to be like them. So my role models are not necessarily famous people.
What kind of roles do you like to take on?
When I started out as an actor my intention was to play diverse characters. And fortunately, the universe has conspired in wonderful ways. Be it Mihir in Four More Shots please or Romil in Romil and Jugal\ or in the latest Netflix film Upstarts where I play a scion to a business family who is looking for ways to prove his own worth, they are all very different from each other.
Where are we going to see you next?
There are three projects that I am working on. One for Hotstar, another for Voot and one for Prakash Jha. I am particularly excited to be working with somebody who is an institution in himself. The experience has been so enriching and I am absorbing as much as I can. The best part is I get to play three very different people in these projects!