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Strongest Role

Often, actors besides the lead actors come shining through in a film. Recently, we saw supporting actor Rajesh Khera from Satyameva Jayate leave a strong impression with his stupendous work in the film. 

On the brief

I was not given any brief. Milap (Milan Zaveri) and I had worked in a television show earlier, but it never saw the light of day. During the making of that show, both of us gelled with each other and he saw some potential in me. He appreciated me for the show, which had a lot of action. He probably thought, ‘I have a good actor in Rajesh, who can fight.’ I am lucky that Milap offered me this role. I didn’t want to miss that opportunity because roles like these are not designed very often.

On the character

It was very clear that my character was that of a bad cop. The dialogue speaks for itself. Milap, to make it more interesting, brought this sone ka daant wala element. This makes the character gory. I told him the fake tooth fitting was irritating me and prevented me from delivering my lines properly. Milap said this is adding to the element of kaminaapan. He said I would realise it when I watched the edit. One thing I have added in one of the scenes is… I was supposed to say, ‘Ae budhiya kya baat kar rahi hai?’, and instead I said, ‘Aslam ki ammi kya baat kar rahi hai?’

On the director

Milap is such a sweet person. He was very clear about his film. Yeh character kya hai, kahan se aa raha hai, kaise bolega, he was clear about it. He knew he was making a hit film. I have never seen this kind of deep insight and positivity in a director before. Being a dialogue writer as well is an advantage. The kind of insanely bold lines that Milap was getting for my character made me wonder whether we would get past the censors. Also, the way he got that element of the Muslim lady, namaaz and azaan, was incredible. He is a very happy person. He is always smiling and is always jovial. With his kind of confidence, I was sold.

On the co-stars

I didn’t have any scenes with Manoj.(Bajpayee). John (Abraham) has always worked with a lot of conviction. After all these years, he is still an amazing actor and person. He knows exactly what the strong points are. Satyameva Jayate is, in fact, one of his best works. He is back in the market and how! I remember telling Milap that these boys have done such a good job.

On the response

People are saying, ‘Boss, you’re so mean but you are the best mean guy we have seen on screen.’ In other words, they hate my character but they love me. I have not been very lucky when it comes to landing strong and interesting roles. This is my best role in last 25 years of my career. I have done interesting roles but this one stands out.

According to my sister, who lives in Dubai, I will have to bribe my nephew to like me again after playing a mean character in this film. I have never taken my friends to a movie I have worked in, kyunki kuch tha hi nahi dikhaane ko, but yeh movie main unko haq se dikhaane lekar jaunga. My producers and directors have also messaged me while editing, saying that my sequences rock. Every actor wants to perform, to be appreciated and recognised. I hope this role will translate into more interesting roles for me.

Future projects

I am doing a web series for AltBalaji called Verdict, where I am playing an inspector named Lobo. He is a real character. It is based on Akshay Kumar’s character in Rustom. I play Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati, the Naval officer. Basically, it is a real subject with real characters. 

– Titas Chowdhury

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