Urban Asian recently caught up with the amazing dancer and actor Shantanu Maheshwari. Although he has not been in the industry for long, this twenty-one year old actor is known for his lovable character Swayam Shekhawat on Channel V’s Dil Dosti Dance. The new heartthrob tells us about his childhood and elaborates on his interests.
UA: How and when did you first start dancing? Are your family and friends supportive of your career?
Shantanu Maheshwari: It started with various events that used to take place in our society that my family used to take an active part in. From there I started dancing, a talent which was identified by my mother when I was around eight years old. All credit goes to my mother for identifying my talent at a very young age and also to my family for fully supporting my dream.
UA: Have you always wanted to pursue dancing and acting as a career, or did you ever consider pursuing other fields?
Shantanu Maheshwari: I was not interested in dancing initially, as there is always a hype around studying well and getting a job (as in my case). At one point I wanted to be a CA (Chartered Accountant) but as I got involved with dancing I started to fall in love with it and a point came in my life when I decided that media was what I enjoyed and what I wanted to do. Since I am a shy kind of guy, I had always imagined myself behind the camera rather than in front of it. D3 just happened to me and initially I was bit apprehensive, but I thought of giving the audition a shot. It came as a surprise to me when I got the role. After that I just tried to give it my best and improve with each episode. In the whole process I got great support from the D3 team.
UA: On the increasingly popular show Dil Dosti Dance, you play one of the main characters Swayam Shekhawat. Your character can be described as a love-struck but extremely mature teenager. How similar are you to your character?
Shantanu Maheshwari: I am not at all similar to Swayam, except for the dance part (laughs). I am not as expressive as Swayam is, nor am I as mature as Swayam. Being the youngest in my family, responsibility never came to me naturally. It is me who was taken care of rather me taking care of someone (laughs).
UA: What are your experiences on the show, both on-screen and off-screen? Does everyone get along well?
Shantanu Maheshwari: The whole journey has been like a dream, getting so much recognition, love and affection. I am enjoying every pal [moment] of it. I have made some good friends and learned so much from everyone on the sets. A good off-screen chemistry always reflects on-screen; there is so much happening each day. Ek dusre ki tang kheechna, masti karna… [Pulling each other’s legs and having fun…]. But we also talk over serious matters. There hasn’t been a dull day on the sets especially when all of us are there. We are like a family, having a festive time every day (smiles).
UA: Ten years ago, would you have imagined yourself where you are now?
Shantanu Maheshwari: Yes, in fact even further than this. Ten years ago, I was a 10 year old kid, and fame and recognition was so much a part of my dream (smiles). But on a serious note no, not at all. Ten years ago, I had no clue about my career. At that point I was most worried about my studies and homework, because wo nahi kiya to mummy se koi nahi bacha sakta… khauf tha mummy ke maar ka [if that was not done no one could save me from Mom, I had a fear of Mom’s hitting] (laughs).
UA: If you only had 200 characters, how would you describe yourself as a child and as a person?
Shantanu Maheshwari: I was a mischievous and demanding child (since I was the youngest) who was pampered by everyone in my family, especially my grandparents. As I grew up I started gaining maturity. My nature is very much influenced by my father and my elder brother. I always listened to them as I had full faith in their understanding and till date have only gained from their advices. But the biggest influence in my life is my mother; she is my teacher, friend, mentor and guide. She is an amazing cook and I just love ma ke haath ka khana… [food made by my mother’s hand]. When I am not shooting, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I like to play cricket, badminton, and even table tennis (which I’m trying to learn these days from my brother). I follow tennis too and am a big fan of Roger Federer; I just love the way he handles fame and carries himself both on and off the court. I also enjoy visiting new places, preferably ones closer to nature. Overall, I am an optimistic guy who loves and respects his family/elders and who is thankful to God for always showering his blessings on me. One thought that should come to people’s mind when they think about me is “High performance. Delivered.”
UA: If there was one thing that you wanted people to know about you, what would it be?
Shantanu Maheshwari: I eat a lot (smiles).
UA: What are your plans for the future?
Shantanu Maheshwari: I just want to grow as an actor, dancer, and human being.
UA: Dancing professionally and acting are fields that many consider difficult to get into. What advice would you give to other aspiring dancers and actors?
Shantanu Maheshwari: I still consider myself as a newcomer, so it’s too early to give advice. But to all the aspirants I would like to quote Steve Jobs and say, “Stay hungry, stay foolish”.
Urban Rapid Round: These are a series of short rapid-fire questions.
Movie? Pursuit of Happiness, Legend of Bhagat Singh
Actor? Aamir Khan
Actress? Angelina Jolie
Food? Anything vegetarian
Song? Rooth Ke Humse Kabhi (Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar)
TV Show (Excluding D3)? Big Bang Theory
Place to Vacation? Kashmir
UA: Any last thoughts for Urban Asian readers?
Shantanu Maheshwari: Hey friends, thanks for the support and love that you have showered on me. Keep loving me and my show. Take care and god bless!
Thanks to the fantastic dancer and actor Shantanu Maheshwari for taking the time to talk to us! Be sure to keep it locked on Urban Asian for more news on this talented star.