If I use the word ‘heartthrob of the nation’ and ‘chocolate boy’, one of the first names that come to mind is of Shantanu Maheshwari. That boy has been charming us over ever since he appeared in his first acting role over a decade ago in Dil Dosti Dance (D3). Since then, he might have aged in numbers but by looks, he has gotten cuter by the day. Recently, the dancer-actor got his big break in Bollywood opposite Alia Bhatt in Gangubai Kathiawadi, and he has been receiving rave reviews for it.

Recently, I got a chance to converse with him and while we discussed his big break and the success of it, I also went down the memory lane with him as he had been a big part of my life during my growing up years. So, as I ask him about how did the switch from dancing to acting happened for him, even he gets nostalgic.

He shares,

“Acting happened because of Dil Dosti Dance. I never enjoyed acting and used to stay away from it because I was scared of talking and having a conversation on stage or deliver dialogues. I used to run away from it. So, I never acted on stage per say, but I did dance as it used to come naturally to me and it was fun. But once I started understanding and exploring acting, learning those lines and deliver them in some way possible, I realised that it was also my passion. So, I started pursuing it, taking it seriously and learning it in the best way I could.”

But even though he started warming up to acting in some time, he admits that in the initial days, he and his other castmates didn’t feel so great seeing their work on screen.

Reflecting on those days, Shantanu informs,  

“When I watched the first 10 episodes of D3, it was just horrible and we wondered ye hamein card denge kya ye dekh kar? But it was great to see how the audience accepted us in terms of our growth and how we worked hard on ourselves and were able to achieve what we did.”
Shantanu Maheshwari (Source: Instagram | @shantanu.maheshwari)

Today, Shantanu is loved and adored by millions of people and it all started because of that youth show that introduced the audience to the world of dancing through a college drama. And he acknowledges the contribution of the people behind that show in making his transition from dancing to acting possible.

The actor asserts,

“A lot of credit for that transition goes to the creator of Dil Dosti Dance, Palki Malhotra. We, and by that I mean all of the cast, used to discuss with the makers why did they select us for the show because we didn’t know how to act all. We saw ourselves and felt funny and awkward about how we acted in the initial stage. So, in that discussion, she said that the plus point with dancers is that they understand rhythm. When you are acting and emoting, that also has a certain kind of rhythm and they were very confident to train dancers into actors. And their confidence gave us confidence to understand the art.”
Shantanu Maheshwari with Vrushika Mehta and Palki Malhotra (Source: Instagram | @shantanu.maheshwari)

I am so glad that Shantanu understood the intent behind that step by the makers and took that plunge into acting as when I think about it, I wouldn’t have had anyone else playing the charming Swayam. He made my growing up years quite beautiful and entertaining and he still continues to do so. After his amazing performance in Gangubai Kathiawadi, I am sure that the future holds something pretty great for Shantanu and I can’t wait to see it unravel.