NewsX was recently joined by Actor Shiv Panditt for an exclusive conversation as a part of its special series, NewsX A-list where he talked about his film Khuda Haafiz. Speaking about the TV premier of Khud Haafiz, Shiv said, “Yes, now that you mention it the film premiered on the 27th of December. I don’t remember the rating agency but I saw somewhere that for that week from 24th to 31st we topped the charts in terms of viewership all across the board. So we are very happy about that”

Talking about his role in the film, the appreciation and a possible sequel Shiv remarked that, “It was unprecedented, to be honest with you. One, was hoping for a theatrical release but around the time of the release was the feeling that we should be grateful for what we are getting while there’s so much of problems outside. So, we’re happy that we got a release but what followed with the release was unprecedented and the adulation which we received from all across the board that was something that one did not expect at all so very very happy about that. Our little labor of love got so much love and appreciation and appreciation in terms of a sequel being announced by our producer. So only because it was an economically viable proposition for the producer the first part did so well for him that’s why he’s going ahead for part two now.”

When asked about his learnings and takeaways from 2020 Shiv said, “The biggest learning was that we can do with a whole lot less, like genuinely we can do with a whole lot less in life whether it is materialistic things or whether it is comforts. I literally survived the pandemic on two pieces of clothing because I had gone to Delhi for a day for my mom’s birthday and immediately as soon as I got there the lockdown got announced and nobody in that house had my size. So until July or mid-June when the shops started opening and delivery started happening in Delhi, I was actually surviving on two or three pieces of clothing which I used to wear one and keep circulating amongst themselves. What I realized was that who my friends were, I realized who are the people I really wanted to reach out to and speak to. So I just feel in life we sort of getting carried away with the rat race and materialism. But I think this pandemic has taught us to really figure out what is really near and dear to us in that sense.”

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Talking about his New Year resolutions Shiv jokingly remarked that, “My record of actually keeping a resolution has been 3 hours, I have literally broken new year’s resolutions within 3 hours so I’ve stopped keeping resolutions but it’s just not my cup of tea.” Speaking about how he managed to exercise with gyms closed in the lockdown and keeping fit Shiv told that “In my bedroom, there was a small little four by four kind of a corner which I used as pretty much everyone else even found a nook and corner in their house and literally with resistance bands or with some sort of weight at home which was doubled up as workout weights and stuff like that and a lot of these fitness websites started doing online training and that was pretty helpful and a lot of me and my friends work out together. So definitely being connected online was a big help and a big boost because otherwise without the internet, this pandemic would’ve been a whole lot worse.”

Talking about what his game-changing moment or game-changing film has been Panditt said that, “There have been about three or four such instances and I’ve never really realized going into the project that this would be a game-changer. It’s so funny that when you actually do a film the films you actually feel are the ones or you have a feeling that ‘this is the one’ or ‘this is the role which is going to take me to the next level’ for me somehow those projects have never been the ones to take me one step forward. It has always been the surprising ones that come out of the blue and you get surprised and people love you for that. So I would say for me it would have to definitely be my debut ‘Shaitan’, it would have to be ‘Khuda Haafiz’ and I have done a Netflix film called ‘Loev’ and a show called ‘FIR’ that I did back in the day. These four specifically would be my game-changing moments and Khuda Haafiz definitely in the most recent times, it has to be it for sure.”

Sharing about the reason he became an actor Shiv said, “I actually got fired from a job and I was living off the severance fee and having a ball in Bombay and my money was running out and one of my colleagues from Delhi who I had known from the theatre circuit had come and become an assistant director here in commercials and he just called me out of the blue and said listen I saw you the other day you’re looking exactly like what we need just come and audition. I never knew that I could actually ever be in front of the camera so I literally went for that audition and I got that part, it was a commercial which was my first time facing the camera and it was such a heavily front-loaded commercial because the director of that commercial was Amit Sharma, the director of ‘Badhai Ho’ and all these films. Mr. Vinod Pradhan was the cinematographer, Mr. Nitish Tiwari, the director of Dangal was the creative head on that commercial and that was my first commercial and my first time facing the camera and I had such a great experience facing the camera and I was like man this is it I have been wasting my time all my life and this is what I need to do. So this is the story of how I got into acting in front of the actor”

When asked if not an actor what career would he likely pursue Shiv replied, “Now if you ask me that question I would tell you trying to become an actor but if not an actor I don’t know I’m clueless now I don’t know what I would be now maybe just lounging around watching movies.”

Answering the question about what Shiv is looking forward to in 2021 he said, “With me what happened was that I have done 4 or 5 projects in 2019 which were all gearing up for release. There is a film which is very dear to my heart called ‘Sher Shah’ which is coming out with Dharma Productions, it’s the story of Captain Vikram Batra which is being played by Sid Malhotra and that’s a film which is very close to my heart. So I think maybe this year, not sure about the platform, but hopefully this year one should get to see that. Apart from that, I have got a web series coming out. I have acted in that with Prateek Babbar and Simran Kaur Mundi and Mr. Ashish Vidyarthi so this is another one that should be out maybe this month or maybe next month and platform and stuff I’m not really sure about. But it should definitely be out in January or February.”

Lastly sharing his success mantra and giving a piece of advice to upcoming actors Shiv said, “Well, to be honest, it is a really great ego boost when you keep telling me that we are achievers and we’re doing well in life. I would certainly like to help as many people as I possibly can because when I was coming up the ladder there were people who helped me, guided me, and took my phone calls. So what I would definitely like to tell people who want to become actors and professionals of some kind is that just keep the faith and all you need to do is keep going, if you really really believe in yourself, which you should is the first key to actually becoming and really going out there and getting something. So don’t get deterred keep believing in yourself, keep moving forward and the number of times that I have failed it’s I can’t even count. So the fact of the matter is that I’m here today because I kept going. It’s as simple as that, just keep going.”

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