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Rajneish Duggall: From Rejected Debut to a Stream of Flops Now Eyeing a Comeback in Web Series

Rajneish Duggall, a name that once shone brightly in the modeling world, embarked on his journey to the silver screen with the 2008 supernatural horror film “1920.” The film, which starred Adah Sharma, renowned for her role in “The Kerala Story,” and was directed by the acclaimed Vikram Bhatt, achieved significant box office success. However, many might not know that Rajneish was originally slated to make his acting debut in 2005 with the romantic mystery thriller “Yakeen.” Yet, fate had other plans due to the intervention of a then-rising star, Priyanka Chopra.

In a candid conversation during a recent interview with popular YouTuber Siddharth Kannan, Rajneish shared the long-untold story of his near-debut. “I was the first choice for ‘Yakeen.’ I was signed for the film and was actively working on it,” Rajneish revealed. He elaborated, “When I met director Girish Dhamija, he asked me about my availability to move to Mumbai. I was already considering the move, so I started training under Girish ji, who is an alumnus of the National School of Drama and an expert dialect coach. The production company had even signed a three-film deal with me. I was to play a double role opposite Priyanka Chopra. They provided me with a penthouse in Juhu, a car, and a driver. Every need was taken care of; I was even receiving food delivered to my doorstep. I attended classes diligently and prepared intensively for about 2-2.5 months. To focus entirely on the film, I gave up lucrative brand endorsements with companies like Siyaram, Vimal, among others.”

Then came an unexpected twist in Rajneish’s tale. “One night, the producer, Sujit Kumar Singh, summoned me to his office and broke the news. Apparently, Priyanka had risen to stardom in the interim since our signing, and she demanded, ‘I will not work with a newcomer.’ My instinctive reaction was to suggest replacing her because I believed the investment was in me.

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. I was naive about the intricacies of the movie business back then,” he recollects. “Although the producer mentioned it was Priyanka’s decision, I suspect it might have also been the influence of her managers or advisors. I don’t lay the blame on her entirely, but she was aware of my involvement in the film. She could have endorsed me by saying, ‘No, he will do it’.”

In the end, “Yakeen” was completed with Arjun Rampal stepping in for Rajneish and Priyanka Chopra maintaining her position as the leading lady. Rajneish ultimately made his debut with the horror-drama “1920,” turning it into a successful venture—a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing initial attempt to join Bollywood.

Post the success of “1920,” Rajneish’s career hit a rocky path. He starred in several films, including “Be Careful,” “This Weekend,” “Spark,” “Laal Rang,” “Wajah Tum Ho,” “Beiimaan Love,” and “Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle.” Unfortunately, none of these projects replicated the success of his debut film, collectively resulting in 15 flops over a period of 10 years. Rajneish’s early promise seemed to fade under the weight of continuous setbacks and underwhelming performances at the box office.

Nevertheless, Rajneish Duggall remains undeterred and is seeking to reinvent himself. He is now exploring the burgeoning world of web series, which offers fresh opportunities and a vast audience. His latest project is the Nigerian-Indian Netflix series “Postcards,” which started streaming earlier this month, on May 3. This venture into the digital streaming space marks Rajneish’s adaptive shift as he attempts to chart a new course in his acting career.

The world of cinema is unpredictable, and careers can often hit unexpected highs and lows. For Rajneish, the initial momentum and eventual struggle demonstrate the volatile nature of the industry. Yet, it also showcases the resilience required to navigate its often tumultuous waters. With the digital space providing new avenues for storytelling, Rajneish’s fans are hopeful that his journey will see a resurgence, reminding everyone of the multifaceted talent he possesses.

Hence, as Rajneish Duggall steps into this new chapter with “Postcards,” both he and his admirers eagerly await to see whether this fresh foray will bring the long-awaited turnaround in his career.