Shantanu Maheshwari (born 7 March 1991) is an Indian actor, dancer, choreographer and host. He debuted in the show Dil Dosti Dance on Channel V in his breakout performance as the protagonist Swayam Shekhawat. In 2017, he participated in Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 8 and emerged as the winner.
Maheshwari is a part of the Desi Hoppers dance crew who emerged as winners in the World of Dance 2015 Championship in Los Angeles. In 2016, along with his crew Desi Hoppers he gave a special performance on America’s Got Talent (season 11).
Maheshwari is known for his roles in various fictional shows like Girls on Top on MTV India. He was a celebrity contestant in Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa on Colors TV where he became the second runner-up in 2016.
Maheshwari is set to make his major motion picture debut with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi, starring opposite Alia Bhatt.
Early Life and Career
Maheshwari was born on 7 March 1991 in Kolkata, India. He attended The Park English School, Kolkata and St. Joseph’s College, Kolkata He moved to Mumbai for his higher studies where he attended H.R. College of Commerce and Economics and was a part of the Street Soul Dance Crew [SSDC] from his college. Maheshwari is versatile as a dancer but specializes mainly in Popping and (Liquid) Waving.
Maheshwari began his acting career with Dil Dosti Dance for Channel V. He rose to fame by essaying the role of the lead character, Swayam Shekhawat during the four-year run of the show. His chemistry with co-star Vrushika Mehta earned him widespread adulation as they went on to win the third spot as the Hottest Indian TV Jodi by the UK-based newspaper Eastern Eye. According to the reports, “The big surprise was Vrushika Mehta and Shantanu Maheshwari from teen serial ‘Dil Dosti Dance’, who saw off competition from established names to come third in the list.” The pair also earned the Indian Television Academy Awards for Onscreen Couple of the Year in 2014.
In 2015, he appeared in Zing (TV channel)’s episodic show Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya where he played the role of a cancer patient. He returned to the small screen with Dil Dosti Dance co-star Vrushika Mehta in an episodic of Bindass Yeh Hai Aashiqui, playing a verbally-challenged law student. He has also dubbed for some episodes of Yeh Hai Aashiqui. Later that year, Maheshwari appeared in Bindass TV’s Bindass Naach. The finite series, which had appearances by the likes of Jaja Vaňková and Terence Lewis (choreographer), showcased the formation of his crew Desi Hoppers and their subsequent victory at World of Dance 2015. Desi Hoppers became the first dance crew in the history to represent India at World of Dance and win it too. The crew was invited to give a special performance on America’s Got Talent (season 11) and received praise from judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Nick Cannon. The crew was later invited to give a special performance on China’s famous talk show Day Day Up.
Maheshwari returned to fiction shows with MTV India’s Girls on Top (2016 TV series) playing an aspiring musician. In a first, he also played the part of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son from the movie Ra.One for the pioneer Bollywood theme park in Dubai which opened in October 2016. He also appeared in a promotional dance video for Fashion at Big Bazaar alongside Terence Lewis (choreographer).
Maheshwari participated in the celebrity dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa on Colors. He was one of the most consistent performers in the show and became the most popular and strongest contender for the title. He received praise from seasoned actor Ronit Roy who called him a “winner and my star”. Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan called Maheshwari a ‘flying star’. He was the second runner-up of the show.
In 2017, he starred in a short film Something Like Love which marked his foray into web-based cinema. Maheshwari was seen in Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 8 as a contestant which was shot in Spain and hosted by Bollywood director Rohit Shetty. He was the most consistent performer and was in the danger zone for the fewest times. Rohit Shetty called him the “silent killer”. He won the show by beating Hina Khan and Ravi Dubey in the finale. Along with his dance crew Desi Hoppers, Maheshwari was invited to perform an exhibition act at the World of Dance 2017 finals in Los Angeles. The crew also went on to perform at Asian Battleground, a cross-national dance reality show shot in Malaysia. Among the twelve dance crews that participated in the competition, Desi Hoppers came 3rd in the showcase rankings and were a part of top 4 finalists that advanced for the face-off round. In the same year, he appeared in a Christmas – special television commercial for HP Inc. Sprocket photo printer titled “Santa is Real”.
In 2018, Maheshwari appeared as the host of MTV India’s weekly episodic series ‘Love on the Run’. Maheshwari then along with his crew Desi Hoppers participated in the world’s biggest dance reality show World of Dance (TV series) and in doing so they became the first-ever Indian dance crew to represent India on such a big platform. They received high praise from judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough who loved their unique style and fusion of hip-hop with Indian culture. They also scored an impressive 96 to qualify for the next round which was also the highest score in round one. Maheshwari launched the spring collection of Lee Cooper with #MasterofDenim look. He also gained popularity as the host of Zee TV’s reality show India’s Best Dramebaaz, which later won the Favorite Non-Fiction Show award at Zee Rishtey Awards.
Along with his crew, Desi Hoppers, Maheshwari gave special performances at the University of Oxford, UK, as part of a social entrepreneur summit with the likes of Academy Award winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, Grammy award winner Sarah McLachlan and chief international anchor for CNN, Christiane Amanpour present. Maheshwari has also given numerous stage performances on Indian Television Academy Awards, Radio Mirchi Top 20 & Golden Petal Awards on Colors TV,&TV It’s Diwali, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards India, DID Li’l Masters (Season 4 Finale) & Gold Awards on Zee TV, Adbhut Ganesh Utsav and Dandiya Nights over the years.
Owing to his influence on aspiring youth, IIMUN invited Shantanu to be one of the motivational speakers of IIMUN championship conference MUNCLAVE 2019. Shantanu along with Desi Hoppers has choreographed and directed dance performances for the Zee TV show Yeh Teri Galiyan. Shantanu also appeared in a promotional video by Netflix for The Umbrella Academy (TV series) with Tiku Talsania, Supriya Pilgaonkar and Kubbra Sait. His third music video composed by Qaran and sung by Ash King on Sony Music India named “Haaye Oye” featuring Elli Avram opposite him, crossed 45 million views on YouTube within two weeks and trended on various music platforms. He has performed the character of Abir Basu in Ekta Kapoor’s web series Medically Yours. The web series fetched a 8.8 IMDb rating and Shantanu’s performance was much appreciated. He received Likee’s Digital Influencer award as the Youth Icon of the year for the same. He along with his partner became the finalist of Nach Baliye season-9.
Maheshwari is starring opposite Alia Bhatt in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi, scheduled to release in July 2021. The film marks his debut in Bollywood.
Shantanu Maheshwari is currently single and not in any relationship for now. Shantanu Maheshwari is also not yet married.
Shantanu Maheshwari’s net worth as of 2022 is estimated to be around $1.5 million – $10 million.