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Junaid Khan Opts for a Unique Bollywood Debut with Maharaj


In an industry where star kids often make their grand entries with major promotional campaigns and star-studded events, Junaid Khan stands out with his quiet yet impactful debut in Bollywood. Unlike the usual romantic comedies or action-packed dramas that typically mark the first steps of celebrity offspring, Junaid chose the gritty historical drama, Maharaj, for his introduction.

Maharaj, directed by Siddharth P Malhotra, offers a retelling of the 1862 Maharaj Libel Case, a sensitive and complex narrative. This choice starkly contrasts with the conventional paths taken by many Bollywood newcomers. Junaid shares, “Maharaj is a sensitive story, and I trusted Siddharth sir and YRF to tell the story in a sensitive way. They felt I suited this role. I guess they didn’t see me in a rom-com or an action drama. Adi [Aditya Chopra, YRF head honcho] sir called me after he saw a screen test I had done for another film [and cast me]. He has clarity of vision. After watching Maharaj, he told me that he really liked it.”

Although the Netflix movie has received mixed reviews, Junaid’s performance has garnered considerable praise for its restraint and maturity. However, the actor is aware of his strengths and limitations, candidly admitting, “I’m a terrible dancer. So, shooting the Holi song was challenging. The [confrontation] scene in the rain with Jaideep [Ahlawat] sir was shot in difficult conditions, and I wasn’t prepared for that.”

While the audience’s opinions are important, the reactions from Junaid’s family, particularly his superstar father Aamir Khan and mother Reena Dutta, hold special significance. “Papa really liked the film, but he is an easy audience. Mama liked it more, and she is definitely a tough audience,” Junaid reveals, underlining the different standards of critique from his parents.

It’s noteworthy that Aamir Khan, despite being one of Bollywood’s biggest stars with a successful production house, did not launch his son. Junaid explains, “Neither of us look at films that way.

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.” His journey into acting has been marked by diligent preparation and hard work rather than leveraging his father’s influence. From his formal education at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles to honing his craft through theatre and serving as an assistant director, Junaid has laid a solid foundation before stepping in front of the camera.

Acknowledging his privileges as a star kid, Junaid expresses that this awareness fuels his determination to carve his own niche in the industry. “I have a supportive family and a parent who has been through all of this before. I have access to a tremendous knowledge base of professionals within the family as well as colleagues from the industry. I have had the opportunity to spend three years studying the craft.” He also mentions the invaluable guidance he receives from industry experts, including his father. “Papa doesn’t give advice or tips unless asked for. If you go to him with a specific query, he is incredibly helpful. There is a lot to learn from him.”

Junaid’s unconventional path and the choice for a debut project reflects a mature and thoughtful approach to his career. Instead of riding on the coattails of his father’s legacy, he chose a film that challenged him and showcased his acting abilities in a new light. Maharaj, despite the mixed critical reception, serves as a robust platform for Junaid to illustrate his dedication and talent in the cinematic world.

As Bollywood continues to evolve, the presence of star kids like Junaid, who bring fresh perspectives and unique choices to the screen, signals a promising shift. It’s a move away from the predictable launches to a more diverse and rich storytelling culture. Junaid Khan’s debut might be quiet compared to his peers, but it’s undoubtedly significant, marking the arrival of a thoughtful and conscientious actor ready to make his mark on the silver screen.

Junaid’s journey and choices highlight the importance of individuality and hard work in an industry where glitter often overshadows substance. With his supportive background and the readiness to face challenges head-on, Junaid Khan is poised for a promising career, one movie at a time.