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The cool kids: Actor Shantanu Maheshwari on craving adventure and his sense of individuality

Actor Shantanu Maheshwari opens up in a conversation with Cosmo India. 

The 32-year-old actor and dancer, Shantanu Maheshwari speaks about honing his craft, community spirit, and the legacy he hopes to leave behind. 

Cosmo: You have been working in the industry for a long time. How would you describe your journey so far? 

Shantanu Maheshwari: “It has been fantastic. Since I am not from the industry, this journey—with its fair share of ups and downs—has been a good learning experience. And I respect that because that’s what keeps you grounded and makes you stronger. I am happy that I am still relevant. In this industry, sustaining oneself for so long is the most difficult thing...and I have been able to do that. I hope that I continue to be relevant in the future as well.”


C: Your last project, Tooth Pari: When Love Bites [2023], was a fantasy love story. What drew you to your character? 

SM: “I was very intrigued by the story, as the plot revolves around a vampire [Rumi, essayed by Tanya Maniktala]. My character [Dr Roy] has a lot of layers. He is not just a ‘good boy’...he has his own thought process, he knows what he wants, and he is also very perceptive. So it was challenging for me to bring out such minute nuances of his personality. And, of course, it is a beautifully-written love story.”

C: Are you more inclined to take on method-oriented scripts? 

SM: “It depends on what is being offered. I don’t believe in saying no to anything, because the more you experience, the more it benefits you as a performer. I do prefer challenging roles, and I like to recognise what is expected of me to understand if I can pull it off.”

C: As an actor, what is the professional legacy you hope to create? 

SM: “Right now, I am happy about the opportunities that are coming my way. As I mentioned earlier, I am thrilled to be a part of this industry. I just hope and wish that I will be part of projects that will strike a chord with people—and essay roles that will inspire them in some way.”

C: What Shantanu Maheshwari is like in real life... 

SM: “I don’t know how to describe myself—it’s very hard for me to talk about myself. Um, I am an introvert, who loves travelling... I crave adventure and like to play all kinds of indoor and outdoor sports. I also love listening to music, and dancing is a big part of my life—I am part of a dance crew called Desi Hoppers, which has represented India internationally, and also won awards. I am not very outgoing, and I love lounging at home.”

C: Tell us what inspires you... 

SM: “I am inspired by a lot of sports personalities. I like learning about their journey and reading their success they lead a disciplined life and deal with rejection.”

C: How would you describe your personal style? 

SM: “How I dress depends a lot on my mood on that particular day. But having said that, I like to keep it casual and comfortable.”

C: Do you think creative freedom and self-expression are important aspects of being? 

SM: “Of course, that’s how new ideas are born. If artists are not given the liberty to express themselves, then there’ll be nothing’ll just be cloning or replicating ideas, stories, or thoughts that are already out there. It is important for an artist to be true to themselves, and, at the same time, for people to give the artist that freedom.”


C: What about community spirit? 

SM: “As human beings, we want to be part of a community and take care of it...that’s how we function, according to me. So a sense of belonging is is forging a bond with others. Community is also integral to resolving issues and coming up with better solutions.”

C: Why do you think unique voices are important to steer culture forward? 

SM: “Unique voices are essential to retaining individuality. Unique voices are also important to inspire people who might resonate with you, but don’t know how to go about certain things in life—it gives people confidence. When individual forces come together, it helps the community function better. I try to be myself...I think each person is different and has a different point of view. It’s important to be well-informed, analyse both sides of the story, and voice your opinions. Being self-aware helps me maintain my individual voice.”

C: What is the one achievement you are most proud of? 

SM: “Representing India internationally through my dance crew Desi Hoppers, and winning the World of Dance Global Visual Online Dance Competition. I am proud of most things that I have achieved, but this win was special.”

C: What are you looking forward to in 2023? 

SM: “I am not someone who plans ahead; I like to go with the flow. At the same time, I have my goals chalked I hustle to ensure I achieve those goals. This year, I am looking forward to good projects—I have a few releases lined up— good work, and good health.”

Outfit courtesy:
Image 1 - On Shantanu Maheshwari: adidas Adventure Sweatpants, adidas Adventure Premium Windbreaker, adidas Superstar Shoes, all adidas
Image 2 - On Anuv: Adicolor Neuclassics Sweatpants, Adicolor Neuclassics Windbreaker, Samba Vegan Shoes, Performanced cushioned mid-cut socks, all adidas; On Kayan: Dungarees, rib tank top, and Gazelle Shoes, all adidas; On Shantanu: Rekive Woven Jacket, Adicolor Classics Lock Up Trefoil 
Trackpants, Monogram Thin Crew Socks, Ftw: adidas Superstar Shoes, all adidas; On Anjali: Long sleeve bodysuit, Always Original Adibreak Pants, and Forum Low Shoes, all adidas; On Ayesha: Corset, Firebird Faux Leather Track Pants, and Forum Low Shoes, all adidas


Shoot credits:

Photographs: Chandrahas Prabhu; Styling: Pranay Jaitly & Shounak Amonkar; Make-up: Krisann Figueiredo; Hair: Rakshanda Irani; Videographer: 
Ratnakar Dave; Production: P. Productions; Fashion Assistants: Shubham Jawanjal and Chaitanya Balvant