Friday, July 13, 2007

"I do not want to be imprisoned in a relationship" -- Akshaye

“I have quite a few good films of mine being lined up for release this year. Like Abbas Mustan’s ‘Naqab’ and ‘Race’, Feroz Abbas Khan’s ‘Gandhi My Father’ and Neeraj Vohra’s ‘Short Cut’”, quips Akshaye Khanna as we settle down for this tête-à-tête in his make up suite, when Abbas –Mustan declare a break in between the shoot of ‘Race’ at Yashraj Studios.

What is your role in ‘Naqab’?
I am excited about the script of ‘Naqab’. However, I am sorry about not being in a position to reveal even a line about the story. It is a romantic thriller. It is a very unusual situation to be in for an actor. ‘Naqab’, which is being directed by Abbas- Mustan is perhaps the first script in my life about which I cannot talk. Because it will let out the plot of the film even if I give one line narration of the film. All that I can say about my role in ‘Naqab’ is that I am playing the role of a struggling actor in the film, though it is not a film industry focused picture. ‘Naqab’ is a very fast-paced film and unlike ‘Salaam E Ishq’, which had a running time of three and a half hours, ‘Naqab’ is a slick youth oriented film, which has a duration of less than two hours.

How was the experience of working in ‘Naqab’?
It was fun working with Bobby Deol after a long hiatus after ‘Humraaz’, also directed by Abbas and Mustan who are directing ‘Naqab’, which has Bobby and newcomer Urvashi as my co-stars. I rarely go gaga over my co-star. However, Urvashi is an exception to the rule. Very rarely does a new comer bag a role like the one Urvashi has done in ‘Naqab’. She has delivered the goods. Urvashi is the apt choice for the role of the heroine of the film because we needed a fresh face without any image.”

You seem to have opened up in a big way though you had gone off media for some time?
“Yes. It is true that I have opened up with the media. I had decided to stop talking to the media because after a point of time, I felt that giving interviews was nothing but a waste of time because I realized that all that I was doing was constantly defending myself and it became boring and uninteresting.”

Are you an instinctive actor?
I am instinctive about my choice of roles as an actor. I do not think too much. If I like a script, I do it. I do not intellectualize much. My decisions come from my heart. I am choosy as an actor. Which actor does twelve films at a time today? Today the bigger an actor is, the lesser is the number of films that he does. Today you just cannot afford to be not choosy, because it takes no time for you to be out if you do bad films.

What is your role in ‘Gandhi My Father’?
I am emotionally attached to is Anil Kapoor’s ‘Gandhi My Father’ directed by Feroz Abbas Khan. The film went on the floors only after research was done for six years after meeting up with all the members of the Gandhi family besides historians. It is for the first time that I have acted in a period film. I play Harilal Gandhi, the son of Mahatma Gandhi in ‘Gandhi My Father’. It is a film, which sets out to depict the intricacies and nuances of the relationship between a father and a son.

What do you think is the USP of ‘Gandhi My Father’?
It is intriguing to know that though today the whole world knows everything about Gandhiji and Kasturba, eight out of ten are not even aware that Gandhiji had children. ‘Gandhiji My Father’ deals with the relationship of Gandhi with his children. Today, among all the grandsons of Gandhiji, only Tushar Gandhi is alive. It is an absolutely 100% script which is based on fact and nothing is made up in the film. Care has been taken to ensure that no one tomorrow can possibly say anything against the script.

What attracted you about ‘Gandhi My Father’?
It was the script and not I as the actor who pushed the envelope as far as ‘Gandhi My Father’ is concerned. As an actor, I realized that the script as well as the story was very challenging. The script pushed me as an actor. Perhaps for the first time in my career, I am fortunate enough to have been able to bag a role, which requires me to play a character whose age ranges from 18 to 60. I have become a better actor after working in a film like ‘Gandhi My Father’. I had to work a lot on prosthetics and make up.

How is Feroz Abbas Khan as a director?
Feroz Abbas Khan has a tremendous understanding of the craft of acting since he himself is an actor of repute as far as the Gujarati stage is concerned. His sense of aesthetics is very strong, almost close to that of mine. Shefali Chhaya is playing the role of Kasturba Gandhi. I have no qualms at all to go on record that her performance in ‘Gandhi My Father’ is one of the best female performances ever on the Indian screen, if not the best.

To what extent were you disturbed as a person after Gandhi My Father was complete?
My role as Harilal Gandhi in ‘My Father Gandhi’ did not disturb me at all in any way as a person. Till date, not a single role that I have done has disturbed me after pack up. I find it very strange when an actor says that he is depressed after pack up. I feel it is very silly because let’s face facts, at the end of the day, you are being paid for acting.

In what way are you different today as an actor?
I had started too young as an actor when I was just 19. I was very immature then and hence very arrogant too. I did not understand my responsibilities at that stage of time. I have always been rebellious because I hate authority of any kind. Even today, I am rebellious by nature but I have mellowed down to a large extent.

Which according to you are your five best films as an actor?
The five best films of mine till date are ‘Border’, ‘Salaam- E- Ishq’, ‘Dil Chahta Hai, ‘Humraaz’ and ‘Gandhi My Father’.

How would you evaluate your growth as an actor?
After having been in the film industry as an actor for the last thirteen years ever since I had made my debut with my father Vinod Khanna’s own home production ‘Himalay Putra’ with Punkaj Parasher as the director, I have now become more comfortable with myself as an actor. Though with time I have gained more confidence, I feel that I have quite a long way to go as an actor. I am of the opinion that there is still a hell of a difference between where I want to go as an actor and where I see myself now as an actor. Zameen aasmaan ka farak hai.

Can you elucidate on this?
I’d like to think that I have matured a little as an actor. Today if you do exactly what is written on paper when you face the camera there is absolutely no point. I try to focus on what more can I add, as an actor with my own inputs to what has been given to me on paper. When you start out as an actor, you cannot do much on that count but experience teaches you to deliver more than what your director desires.

After you broke off with Tara Sharma, are you in any serious relationship now?
I do not want to be in a relationship as of now. Unless and until I meet the right person, I do not want to be imprisoned in a relationship. I have a whole life ahead of me and am now blissfully enjoying my status as one of the eligible bachelor boys of the industry today.

What is your ambition as an actor now?
To continue working for the rest of my life is my ambition now. I hope that people will continue to offer me good roles till I die. I do not want to be out of work at any stage of my life because I love acting, though people ask me whether I plan to take up direction. I do not think I’d be good at direction, though you never know ten years down the lane, I may even take it up. Right now
I am not inclined towards taking up direction at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like this article/interview about Akshaye Khanna. Lots to discover about him.