Exclusive: Class fame Chintan Rachchh talks about his breakout drama, kissing boys on screen & more

Few shows have garnered buzz the way the wildly popular Class, a Delhi-set crime thriller drama did. The Ashim Ahluwalia series adapted from the Spanish-language show Elite is populated largely by debutantes, newcomers whose names audiences would soon learn. Poet, model and actor Chintan Rachchh quickly became a fan favourite within days of the show’s release. With his first outing, he had already done a lot of heavy lifting which included landing a scene-stealing same-sex kiss. Recalling his initiation into acting, the Rajkot born actor digs into his childhood memories. “I was a nerdy kid and a borderline introvert, going into the ambivert zone. But I used to host assemblies for my school.

In a setting of a few people I was shy but whenever I went on stage, I always felt good. So I realised the stage is where I can actually express myself.” He also participated in the children’s edition of KBC as a kid and recalls meeting Amitabh Bachchan as the high point of the experience.

Chintan’s journey towards baring it all for the small screen hasn’t been easy. At one point, he almost gave it all up and went to engineering school in Karnataka. After studying there for a month, he realised he can’t pursue acting with an engineering career. “I went back home to Rajkot and told my dad that I can’t do engineering. I want to be an actor. That was an R. Madhavan from 3 Idiots moment for me.”

Opening up about his biggest learnings, Rachchh mused, “I think I’ve learnt how the camera works. That is the baseline for everything. I know how to act in front of the camera better. And the main philosophy that I will carry with me for a long time is to just be myself. Ashim once asked me if I was a topper in school and I said that I was, how did you figure it out? And he said because you try to ace everything. I would advise against it. Just be yourself. That was my biggest takeaway.”

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The actor knew he was embarking on something special when he heard the initial brief of the Class. “They wanted to make something along the lines of Euphoria or 13 Reasons Why, which has never been done in India before. There are no young adult shows in this genre. I was pretty excited because I wanted to be a part of something that becomes a pioneer,” he opined.

Chintan reveals he was aware of people calling Class sasta Elite. But the negative comments did not bother him ahead of the show’s release. “When you make something that is inspired by something, the first thing people ask is why are you doing it? But when comments about Elite came up, I wasn’t bothered by it. I was sure when the show came out they’ll see it’s different. At one point finally, people stopped talking about the fact that it’s an Indian adaptation, they just talked about it as Class. That’s a win.” He also admits enjoying rubbing the success in his virtual haters’ faces, metaphorically of course.

The newcomer was also prepared for the chatter around the now-famous onscreen kiss he shared with co-star Chayan Chopra. Rachchh’s voice is filled with excitement as he describes what went into Faruq and Dhruv’s famous kiss. “We had a workshop then we were supposed to have a chemistry test the next day which includes an intimacy test where an intimacy coordinator records it and decides if it works.” He revealed that the acting coach began with simple mirroring exercises during one of the workshop sessions. “It’s more of a choreography. We went into a meditative zone after doing it for 5-10 minutes, because then you’re just following instructions.

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Finally, he said ‘kiss’ and we just went for it. We kissed for 2 minutes straight. And as soon as it was done, the first thing I said was like, ‘I’m really sorry, but you should shave.’ I think when ladies kiss men with stubble, it really hurts. It’s not a great place. So that is the first thing I realised.”

Class does a good job of giving viewers a peek into ‘boys love’, an underexplored genre that has a huge fan base, especially in Thailand and Japan. The actor learnt a thing or two about the major differences between cishet on screen pairings and same-sex pairings. “I was sure my bits would be liked. People like boys love and this has never been made in India. In most movies, somewhere the romance adheres to a formula. The guy has to be a certain way and the girl has to be sort of bend down for some reason. And there’s always this push and pull that’s always one-sided like you know guys are always dominant whereas in boys love it’s always tender. While Elite included the top-bottom angle, we avoided it. You always see that they love each other equally.”

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