Childhood & Early Life
Raqesh was born Rakesh Vashisth, on September 1, 1978, in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, India. His father served as a captain in the 'Indian Navy,' and his mother was an English teacher. His sister's name is Sheetal Vashisth.
He attended primary school in Amravati, Maharastra, India. He later earned his MBA degree from the 'University of Mumbai.'
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Raqesh began his modeling career in his late teens. He also won the 'Mr. Pune' contest.
When he was 21, he became the first runner-up at the 'Grasim Mr. India' held in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, India.
Later, he represented India at the 'Mr. International' contest in Germany and secured the first runner-up position.
He modeled for the well-known toothpaste brand 'Colgate' and the chewing-gum maker 'Wrigley's.'
Raqesh's impressive performance in the 'Colgate' commercial earned him his debut movie role: 'Amar Shah' in the 2001 Hindi romantic drama 'Tum Bin…: Love Will Find a Way.'
The following year, he secured the role of a psychosomatically ill character, 'Gaurav,' in the critically acclaimed film 'Dil Vil Pyar Vyar.' The film was a disaster at the box office. The same year, he appeared in the short movies 'Woh Dheere Dheere' and 'Kuch Dil Ne Kaha.'
In 2003, he was featured in two mystery thriller movies, 'Sandhya' and 'Tumse Milke… Wrong Number.' The following year, he was cast in the film 'Kaun Hai Jo Sapno Mein Aaya.'
He appeared in two romantic drama movies, 'Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai' and 'Naam Gum Jaayega,' in 2005. The same year, he debuted on TV with the drama series 'Saat Phere… Saloni Ka Safar.' He gained overnight fame with the role of 'Neel’/‘Neerav,' which he played until 2008. He was nominated in the category of the “Best Actor in a Negative Role” at the 'Indian Telly Awards.'
In 2006, he appeared in two feature films, 'Jai Santoshi Maa' and ‘Jaadu Sa Chal Gaya.' The same year, he traveled to Kolkata to promote ‘Celebriance,’ a celebrity hunt in the eastern part of India. Two years later, in 2008, he became part of the TV series 'Ek Packet Umeed,' as 'Anuj.'
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In 2010, he played the character 'Shlok' in the supernatural TV series 'Seven- The Ashvamedha Prophecy' and the protagonist 'Aditya Singh Jakhar' in the Hindi TV drama 'Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak?' The series was telecast until 2012, and is arguably the first Indian TV show revolving around the LGBTQ theme.
He replaced another actor, to essay the role of 'Karan' in 'Simplly Sapney,' an Indian TV drama.
He returned to the big screen in 2012. He was soon cast in the Hindi movie 'Heroine' and debuted in a Marathi movie 'Aayna Ka Bayna.' The same year, he depicted the lead character 'Rohan Mishra' in the TV series 'Hongey Judaa Na Hum.' The series lasted till the middle of March in 2013.
Along with his then-wife, Ridhi Dogra, he participated in the sixth season of the dance reality TV series 'Nach Baliye.' In 2013, he performed in two movies, a teen film named 'Gippi' and a comedy–drama titled 'A New Ishtory.' The following year, he replaced Karan Singh Grover as the lead character 'Asad Ahmed Khan' in the soap opera 'Qubool Hai.'
He was cast in his second Marathi film, 'Citizen,' in 2015. The following year, he played the lead characters in the Marathi movies Vrundavan' (which boasted of a talented ensemble cast) and 'Sarv Mangal Savdhan' (a romantic comedy).
In 2016, he portrayed the protagonist 'Shantanu Kant' in the fantasy–comedy series 'Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant,' after Karan Grover left the show. The show was aired on the Indian TV channel 'Life OK' and also on 'MBC 2,' a channel of the 'Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation,' in Mauritius.
He was one of the panelists on the ‘Hindustan Times Scholarship’ program in Pune, to choose the students eligible for the scholarship for the academic year 2017–2018.
He appeared as 'Reyansh Diwan' in the musical romance/drama 'Tu Aashiqui' in 2018 and as 'Ashok' in the critically acclaimed Marathi psychological thriller 'Savita Damodar Paranjpe.'
The year 2019 witnessed him appearing in two lead roles, 'Raja' and 'Aditya,' in the Marathi movies 'Mumbai Apli Ahe' and 'WhatsApp Love,' respectively. He was also cast in 'Forever,' a movie released on 'Amazon Prime.' 'KTina' is one of his upcoming projects.
Family & Personal Life
It is believed, he had changed his surname from “Vashisth” to “Bapat” earlier, as “Bapat” was the surname his great-forefathers used. However, of late, he has changed his surname back to “Vashisth,” on his mother’s request. He is now known as both Raqesh Vashisth and Raqesh Bapat (on his social-media platforms).
He met actor Ridhi Dogra on the sets of 'Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak?' They became good friends and eventually turned into lovers. On May 29, 2012, the couple tied the knot. However, in February 2019, they divorced amicably. They continue to stay friends.
His hobbies include painting, sculpting, singing, playing the sitar and the flute, horseback riding, and playing tennis. When he was in ninth grade, he won the 'National Award' for painting.
He loves to sculpt idols of Hindu deity Ganesha for his home, during the annual Indian festival Ganeshotsav.
He has two pet cats named Nemo and Et.
Along with his sister, Sheetal, he supports the non-profit organization 'Shyamchi Aai Foundation.' The organization supports skill development of children and encourages them to follow their interests.