His eyes are almost always scanning the world around him—a quirky conversation here, a peculiar laughter there, a unique walk here, an inimitable hair flip there; everything and anything could inspire actor-influencer Khushaal Pawar to create content. “Observational comedy really gets my creative juices flowing,” says the 30-year-old with two-lakh Instagram followers.
All of Pawar’s comedy characters are often drawn from the people he sees on the streets, on television, in films or on the internet. He recreates their personalities with a touch of his own. After penning down the character sketches, he rehearses, often for hours and in front of the mirror, before zeroing in on the final script. And while there is no dearth of hard work, sincerity and perseverance on Pawar’s part, it almost always boils down to what his instinct says at the moment. “Sometimes a dialogue has to be improvised,” he says. It is this feeling in the bones that he also relies on while acting.
The Mumbai-based actor’s upcoming gig is a cameo in Shashank Ghosh’s new coming-of-age romance Plan A Plan B starring Riteish Deshmukh and Tamannaah Bhatia. The Netflix film is about a matchmaker who crosses paths with a successful divorce lawyer with a secret. Despite being a brief role, he says, the actors made him feel extremely at ease and even helped him overcome his nervousness.
Not surprisingly, Pawar has always been a movie buff, often caught dancing to popular Bollywood tunes as a child, but his tryst with acting happened as a 10-year-old when he began doing theatre with the country’s oldest association of thespians—the Indian People Theatre Association in Mumbai. After trying his hands at several commercial plays, Pawar took up work as a producer and a radio jockey for a few years.
In 2014, while participating in the reality show ‘Ticket to Bollywood’, he met film director Mukesh Chhabra who asked him to join him as an assistant casting director. Together, they have worked on more than 40 films.
Along the way, Pawar, like many of his peers, also discovered the phenomenon of social media and started creating content on Instagram in 2018. He says it allowed him to “brush up on his acting skills”, and evidently it did, if his filmography is to be believed. Although Pawar is yet to land his dream role, he has, to his credit, noticeable roles in several big banner Bollywood films, including Baaghi 2, Kabir Singh and Dangal.
Recalling his time on the sets of Judwaa 2, Pawar is all praise for director David Dhawan who “took care of him as a father figure, guiding and supervising him throughout the shoot.” On actor Varun Dhawan, he says, “We hit it off immediately, and had a great bond during the shoot and even after.” But his most memorable part to date has to be his portrayal of the cameraman who accompanied Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Describing Siddiqui as a gem of a person, Pawar says, “It (working with him) was a dream come true. He never flinched from answering any of my questions. He even shared stories of his own struggle, theatre days and tips.”
Pawar seems to never miss a learning opportunity, not even on ad shoots, like the one for Mahindra Truck that he shot with Ajay Devgn, where the Diljale actor shared “some important lessons”. Recently, Pawar also featured in one of YouTuber Ashish Chanchlani’s videos—a spoof on the popular reality television series Shark Tank that went viral and resulted in his por- trayal of a peon snowballing into a meme wave.