Raaj Gautam – Showcasing His Mettle As An Actor And Filmmaker

Raaj Gautam – Showcasing His Mettle As An Actor And Filmmaker

ACTOR Raaj Gautam alias Rajendra Pandey has been shuttling between films, television and OTT not only in front of it but behind too. It is observed that the perception of an actor is based on a commercial success. Making his presence felt as an actor, he is also enjoying a space where he is creatively satisfied. He also had the privilege of working with famed and talented actors including filmmakers.

However, the actor in him is itching to do a lot more, but he is happy with the offers that he has been getting. Currently he features in “Chhoti Sardarni” aired on Colors, “Kanya Pradhan” on Zee Ganga, “Shukla – The Tiger” streaming on MX player and “Dangerous 21” on India Go Fast (an OTT platform from Aligarh). Playing dynamic roles in movies are also in his mind. He says, “I do miss acting on a regular basis and the actor in me wants to branch out further. The best way to grow as an actor is to step out of your comfort zone and take risks.”

Interestingly, Raaj Gautam has meanwhile also wielded the megaphone for a Hindi feature film which is getting readied to hit the marque soon. It is a suspense thriller and is tentatively titled as “Humsafar Saaya”.  It features Akash Gaharwar (cousin of Govinda) in the lead. The film is produced by veteran Rajanikant Patel and his son Rajesh R. Patel under the banner of Om Shivam Pictures.

This is my fourth venture….,” clarifies the actor-turned-director. “Earlier in 2006-2007 I had forayed into film production and made “Raat Ka Saaya” in which I acted and directed too. In 2018 I wrote and directed a Bhojpuri film “Jaan Tu Bewaafa Badu” featuring Amit Singh and Sahiba and it was shot in Dhanbad. I also made a short film on “Beti Bachao Beti Padao” campaign,” he adds.

Speaking about his latest outing, “Humsafar Saaya” Gautam reveals, “There is a sense of responsibility while making a film. This movie is a romantic horror and working on this film was quite a journey. It is an original creation as I have written the script of this film too.  The makers are London-based….. Rajanikant ji is a well-known writer of his times. It has rich production values, thrills, action and music. The film has been shot in virgin locales of Nasik and the by-lanes of Aurangabad for 24-days just before the lockdown. We even had few stints in Madh Island, Mumbai. Akash Gaharwar, the lead player in this film is renowned actor Govinda’s cousin. Like Govinda he is also a good performer and has dancing skills too. He has been adjudged as the best dancer in a reality show on Sony and has also featured in few music videos produced by Zee. To his credits Akash has acted in films like “Gumnam Saaya”, “Kaun Mera Kaun Tera”, “Devil Knights”, “Mera Yaar Hi Mera Rab Hai”. A new girl Simi Khan has been introduced to play the female lead opposite him. Shreya Yadav, Manoj Mishra, Pramod Moutho and myself are also in the cast playing key roles. The film also has five melodious songs in the voices of renowned singers like Shabab Sabri, Soumi Banerjee, Mamta Sharma and Shekhar Rawat which have been scored by Nawab Shawab and Dharmendra Singh Badoriya. Editor Krishna Yadav and sound engineer Chintu have done a great job to give the film a slick and eerie feeling for the horror scenes. In short, the film is a wholesome entertainer.”

Raaj Gautam made his acting debut with films and has completed almost four decades in the industry. He started with a character role in Sanjeev Kumar, Jackie Shroff and Zeenat Aman starrer “Haathon Ki Lakeeren”. It was produced and directed by Chetan Anand and was released in 1986. In the 90s he got a chance to play the lead in “Raaj Drohi” which was directed by Hasmukh Rajput and produced by Lalji Gupta. After a brief lull, he got roles in films like “Dushman” starring Mithun Chakraborty and directed by Shakti Samanta; “Wajood” starring Nana Patekar and directed by N. Chandra amongst others.

He also made his way as a nefarious villain in a Bengali film titled “Nadi Pare Ammar Badi” directed by Dilip Bose.

This apart, Gautam had also bagged various portrayals of roles with different shades especially in many television series. Till date he has in his repertoire more than 700-episodes including those produced by the iconic Balaji Telefilms including the distinguished detective and crime thrillers like “Savdhaan India: India Fights Back”, “Crime Patrol”, “C.I.D.”, “Uttaran” and others.

As an actor; he says that he strives to strike a balance between commercial projects and content driven cinema. “In showbiz you have to be a little sensible and strike a balance. Today if I do any project, it should add value to my portfolio as an actor and director too. Meanwhile, there are few projects in the negotiation stages where I will be acting in powerful roles. There are two films as a writer-director titled as “Guruji” and “Bandobast” which are in the pre-production stages,” says the actor turned filmmaker.

For the unversed, Raaj Gautam alias Rajendra Pandey hails from Varanasi; the spiritual city in Uttar Pradesh. Having completed his education in M.Com he had joined Indian Navy and was posted in the Armory division at Ernakulam in Kerala; where he worked for four years. Since then he had shifted his base to Mumbai alone.  Now he is happily married and has a small knit family here from last 18-years. His wife is a M.A., B.Ed and a Litterateur in English and his kids – a son who is now 16-years of age who is studying engineering and a 10-year old daughter who is schooling. He was an assistant to few writers too. There is also another side of him. Few who are closer to Gautam also knows that he is also into manufacturing and trading of garments. Does he miss his hometown, “I do have a lot of memories and miss my friends and relatives…  Whenever time permits, I do make it a point to visit them,” he says.

Raaj Gautam – Showcasing His Mettle As An Actor And Filmmaker