Monday, July 9, 2007

The Talented Mr.Khanna

He’s a joy to watch, but a pickle to interview. Akshaye Khanna tells it like it is

Are you between films now or starting on something new?

I have just finished Race with Abbas Mastan — it’s got Anil Kapoor, Saif (Ali Khan), myself, couple of heroines and now I’m busy trying to promote Naqaab and then Gandhi My Father. I’m not shooting for a while, then I’m starting on an Anil Kapoor production called Short Cut. So at the moment, I’m in limbo.

Who’s directing Short Cut?

We’ll talk about that at a later stage.

Saif said that Race is a complete masala movie. It’s another film with Abbas Mastan for you soon after Naqaab.

Yeah, we did two films back to back. I have two thrillers from Abbas Mastan but both are very different. Both, to my mind, were very good scripts (laughs). I completely enjoyed doing them.

Naqaab’s trailer gives you the same feeling as Humraaz.

I can completely understand that response because they’re the same actors, same director, one girl, but I must say it is a completely different film, script, setting. So it’s not doing justice to Naqaab to compare it to that film.

It’s called the most shocking film. Are there shades of A Perfect Murder?

No, I can’t even touch on those aspects because like any good thriller, it would be foolish to reveal the plot. If you know what’s going to happen, then there’s no fun!

When we say it’s the most shocking thriller, that’s the USP of the film. It’s constantly going to keep you guessing. It’s very unpredictable. It’s constantly moving in directions you least expect.

It’s shocking, surprising you. People are looking for that in a thriller. Every director has a forte and this is Abbas Mastan’s.

How is your comfort level with them?

We’ve got a tremendous comfort level because this is my third film and I’ve done Race as well. We like each other on a personal level – our business is a very people’s business.

You’re spending 100, 110 days in each other’s company from morning to night so it’s important at some level to like the people you work with. It’s an added bonus. It’s also important to a team to have success.

If you really enjoy working with each other but keep churning flop after flop, even that’s not going to work. Both our past films have been successes. We bounce off each other really well.

The trailers of Gandhi My Father are out. Have you seen the play?

No I missed it, but many people in my family have seen it.

How did the role of Harilal Gandhi come to you?

(Producer) Anil Kapoor and (director) Feroz Abbas Khan have been working on the script for a long time. It’s something they were very passionate about it and they offered it to me.

What was your reaction to the script?

I was spellbound. I had never experienced writing of this caliber. It was literally a work of genius; the writing was so powerful and beautiful. I had never experienced reading a script like that. It took me by the scruff of my neck and shook me up.

What is your feeling about the character itself?

We’re not here to analyse the character. I have to play the part. In this film, we’re telling a story that’s 100 per cent true about the relationship that Mahatma Gandhi shared with his eldest son Harilal Gandhi.

It’s a very intimate father and son love story. This is how my director calls it. And this is a story that a handful of people are aware of. In fact we know everything about Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi, but we know nothing about their children. So this becomes a very interesting, beautiful story to tell.

This film has nothing to do with history, the freedom struggle or independence. It is about the family of Gandhi. And these are emotions that never become irrelevant or obsolete. They will never die. Everyone has a family so it’s a very universal theme.

Did you feel that Harilal was doomed because he struggled at every turn?

This is a film we really care about. Our entire team came from a place of honesty, of truth, as much as was humanly possible. We just wanted to tell the story as it is, without being judgmental. That was the very essence of our journey. We leave the judging to the audience. Our entire focus was in telling the story.

Apparently, there are some Gandhians protesting over the film’s theme?

I haven’t heard of anything. How can they protest about something they know nothing about? This is the story based on the biography of Harilal Gandhi by Chandulal Dalal.

Wasn’t the film stalled in court over some copyright problems?

No one has a copyright on history. So that doesn’t even arise. The project was never stalled.

After watching the film, how did you feel?

I wouldn’t want to talk about it. It’s so easy to praise yourself, your work, your family. I find it very stupid when people do that. I have loved this film – to me, it’s very special, like all my films are. But for me to sit and praise it without people having seen it, I find very immature and embarrassing. I have loved the film.

There were reports that you, along with the rest of the cast, did an hour of yoga every day while shooting. Is that your usual form of exercise?

I used to practise yoga anyway. I was really into it. It made me feel physically and mentally very good. It was a nice routine that Feroz suggested. I’ve always been athletic since school. I don’t exercise to lose weight. I enjoy it. I feel great after a workout – whether it’s squash, yoga or swimming. You feel so good!

Were you a rebellious son?

As a teenager, right up to when I was 25-26, I was very rebellious. I rebelled against any authority, sometimes even stupidly. That came from immaturity, childishness. Until date, I haven’t been comfortable with authority. Now my rebelliousness is more mature (laughs).

Do you protest quietly?

Yeah, I protest quietly. My rebellious energy is more mature.

What was your relationship like with your own dad? He was a bit of an absentee dad when he became an Osho follower.

(Pauses) I think we were too young to kind of understand anything. I was four or five. So that’s too young. I definitely must have felt the lack of it, but we had such a wonderful family support system.

That’s such a beautiful thing in India. As a child you feel so loved and taken care of. So those feelings were (pauses) balanced by family.

Was his absence ever explained to you?


Did you ever question it?


Any adjustment problems?

I don’t have a distinct memory of it.

Have the Khannas thought of teaming up?

We haven’t got script to team up together. I think Sunny has been working in the industry now for about 25 years? It’s taken him that long to find the right script for his dad, Bobby and him to work together. Give us little more time…

Rahul recently said how you’re often the bossy brother.

Really? I can be a bit bossy sometimes, but he’s bullied me all his life, so if I do it now, once in a while, it’s ok.

A while ago, you said you were lacking in self-confidence.

Self-confidence… it’s like the stock market. It goes up and down. I’ve never analysed why.

Your recent films Aap Ki Khatir and Salaam-e-Ishq were both disappointments.

Yes, I was particularly disappointed with Salaam-e-Ishq. I loved the film. The length proved to be an issue with the film. I completely understand why people felt it was too long, but I expected it to do much better.

At that time, you said the commitment-phobe in Salaam-e-Ishq was a lot like you. Do you still feel like that?

Sometimes. I suppose it’s all about someday meeting that person you can’t resist. That day hasn’t come. That’s the way I see love.

You’re still friends with your ex Tara Sharma — were there commitment problems there?

Yes, we’re friends, but the issue there wasn’t commitment.

And stories of you seeing someone in the US?


What is the status on your love life?

Nonexistent. I’m only 32 yaar. Why does everyone want to get me married? Let me enjoy myself, my freedom. I thoroughly protect and nurture it so it lasts for as long as possible.

On Simi Garewal’s show, you said you were anti-marriage.

(Sighs) I’m for reforms in the institution of marriage. I don’t subscribe to it in its present form. I feel that enough time has past; I think the time has come for changes to be made in the institution. It was not perfect when it was made and it’s still imperfect.

All institutions go through change. Life itself is change. Why shouldn’t marriage change? Let the pandits sit and discuss in forums. I think an overall look has to be taken. We have taken leaps in science and spirituality. Why not improve upon marriage?

Looks like you’ve really thought about this.

No, not really, I’ve never articulated this before. It’s an interesting thought. Most people may take offence to it because they believe marriage is a sacred thing. I apologise to them, but I’m entitled to my opinion.

You’re best friends with Anil Kapoor today. Did it start on the sets of Taal?

It started there definitely, but we lost touch. I met him couple of times a year at parties. But we interacted in such close proximity on this film that it gave us an opportunity to be friends.

Do you look to him for advice — career or personal?

(Laughs) Many times. Well, he is one of the senior most, successful actors. What I enjoy about Anil as a person and friend is his positivity about life. His energy is very positive and creative. He’s like a source of energy. People who meet him sip from that tap – it’s always open. That’s a great quality in a man.

There is an age gap between you two. Do you feel you’re more mature than your years?

I wish! No, I don’t think so. I know a lot of people my age who are much more mature than me.

From Mid-day. Thanks to the commenter who posted the link. You rock!

No movies but Shortcut to go and that won't start for a couple of months. Depressing! It makes me wild to think that there is this incredible actor just sitting at home doing nothing!


Anonymous said...

That's a long and nice interview of Akshaye. So what, if Akshaye Khanna has no movies except Shortcut to do which won't start atleast for a couple of months? Atleast, he has a break, chance and time to think about his SWOT Analysis(strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of his and his career as a talented actor)especially after seeing the promos, and the release of Naqaab and Gandhi, My Father. He can try to figure out what he is supposed to do to show his real potential in his next unsigned movies only if he is free! Yeah, it does make me wild "to think that there is this incredible actor just sitting at home doing nothing." And, if you wish you can give Akshaye Khanna's other fans this news about Naqaab _ the article/preview about Naqaab "Naqaab - Are the situations only as complex as they appeared?" via (!

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to know that this unique hero Akshaye Khanna wants enjoy himself, his freedom. He thoroughly protects and nurtures it so it lasts for as long as possible. All the Best and And Always Remain a Bachelor! Never Get Married!

Anonymous said...

There's nothing to worry about as far as movie offers. Akshaye had something similar going on last year after Aap Ki Khatir, when he had no movies starting for sometime. I'm sure the offers will come. It depends on how well Naqaab and Gandhi my Father do.

Anonymous said...

No matter how well Naqaab and Gandhi my Father do at Box-office, Akshaye Khanna right now needs to have some best offers that too from best writers, directors and banners! Because, Akshaye Khanna has already already already proved that he is one of the best actors in the industry long time back like in Himalay Putra, Border, Doli Saja Ke Rakhna, Taal, Dil Chahta Hai, Humraaz, Deewangee, Hulchul, Hungama,...Akshaye Khanna deserves to get best offers after the promos of Naqaab and Anil Kapoor's Production Gandhi, My Father! We and the directors/banners/writers must not try to judge some forthcoming films of Akshaye Khanna to sign him for their next movies! It's not fair for such an incredible actor like Akshaye Khanna! Why should they ignore this gifted actor?!!

Anonymous said...

You are right and that's why I'm still wondering why directors like Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Mani Ratnam, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra,... are ignoring Akshaye Khanna and his potential!
After seeing Apne (Dharmendra, Sunny Deol & Bobby Deol) recently which is not that great, I wish that a movie should be made with Vinod Khanna, Rahul Khanna and Akshaye Khanna! It does not need to be a family movie which is quite boring for me! I prefer a thriller for these three Khannas together! Vinod Khanna with Hema Malini, Rahul Khanna with Esha Deol and Akshaye Khanna with Ahana Deol (as newcomer if she agrees) in the same movie to be directed by Ahana Deol herself (as a debut director)!

Anonymous said...

That is really quite rarest idea about casting Vinod Khanna with Hema Malini, Rahul Khanna with Esha Deol and Akshaye Khanna with Ahana Deol as a newcomer only if she agrees in the same movie to be directed by Ahana Deol herself as a debut director. That too, a thriller!! That'll be exciting! I have seen Ahana Deol in some magazines! She is beautiful and adorable! I would certainly like her to be cast with Akshaye Khanna as his new heroine!

I really enjoyed reading the interview of Akshaye Khanna here today! Now, I'm waiting for the release of Naqaab which is due this Friday! I'm nervous about the performance of Akshaye Khanna!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I think that Ahana Deol should direct her film soon and cast anyone she wishes! Hope, she casts Akshaye Khanna and acts with him too!;-)

Anonymous said...

All the best to Akshaye Khanna and Ahana Deol! Hopefully, as you are all saying, they work together soon as I find both of them really adorable in term of their look in real life... Because I haven't seen Ahana Deol with Akshaye Khanna onscreen!

Anonymous said...

Ahana Deol is not acting in movies. She prefers to be a director instead.

Beth said...

A friend emailed me about this story and pointed out that he doesn't name the heroines in Race, perhaps as though they are not important enough to be mentioned? That's annoying.

Anonymous said...

Beth, I don't think he meant it in the way you think.

He respects his female co-stars and has always mentioned their names in his interviews whether its Madhuri, Ayesha, Kareena, Aishwarya, Priyanka, or the newcomer Urvashi Sharma in Naqaab.

Also, I'd also like to say that Bipasha and Katrina neither regarded Akshaye either when asked about Race in their interviews.

Katrina's quote recently:

"It's so much fun to be on the sets with actors like Saif and Bipasha. They don't make me feel unwelcome for even a second.'"

and Bipasha would always talk about Saif, and disregard the other actors.

Anonymous said...

Akshaye Khanna always mentioned the name of his heroines. What's the deal if he hasn't mentioned sometimes?? But, it was not fair for Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu not to regard Akshaye Khanna in their interview about Race. This shows that these proud girls don't respect Akshaye Khanna! Akshaye Khanna is a very important actor in the industry and he was a star already before Saif Ali Khan in Border, Taal and Dil Chahta Hai! Just because of Saif Ali Khan's popularity and fame, you ignore Akshaye Khanna who is an outstanding and one of the best actor and the one who is just incredible! Not fair! But, why should I worry? After all, Abbas Mustan duo is there for Akshaye Khanna on the sets of Race! I'm surprised about the idea of casting of Akshaye Khanna and Ahana Deol in a movie together! Would like both of them work together onscreen even if Ahana wants to become a director! She can act with Akshaye Khanna in the same move and direct as well!

Anonymous said...

Think you'll like this article & preview about Naqaab: "Are the situations only as complex as they appeared?" at here's the link


More news about naqaab to all the fans of Akshaye Khanna! Remember that there are only 3 days left for Naqaab's release!! So near, yet so seems!!!

Anonymous said...

Wonder why does Akshaye Khanna grow his beard today?? Here's the link, naqaab press gallery via
Think you may like it.

Anonymous said...

Akshaye Khanna with Ahana Deol?? Is Ahana Deol listening? Hope, Ahana agrees to directs and acts too! That too, with that cute Akshaye Khanna! I'm sure both Akshaye Khanna n Ahana Deol will share an exceptional chemistry onscreen! If Bobby Deol is Akshaye Khanna's new-found friend, then he can convince his step-sister Ahana to act with the help of their Dad Dharmendra since Bobby and Ahana hardly meet each other on their own! So, Akshaye Khanna, there is a new heroine for you! AAP KI KHATIRR!

Anonymous said...

Article: Akshaye Khanna was born to play Harilal Gandhi: Anil Kapoor. Here's the link: via Please post it here for Akshaye's fans

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance that Akshaye Khanna and Aishwarya Rai may work together again after Aa Ab Laut Chalen and Taal? What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Me, I'm waiting for Akshaye Khanna and Kareena Kapoor to work together again soon!

Anonymous said...

Akshaye Khanna to be paired with Ahana Deol in a movie is a nice idea! Hope that it happens soon! Also, hope to see Akshaye Khanna and Kareena Kapoor together onscreen too! They made a very cute pair in Hulchul _ in that 'Rafta Rafta' song, it was really funny and enjoyable!

Anonymous said...

I do miss this romantic pair Akshaye Khanna-Aishwarya Rai last seen in Taal, still I would like Akshaye Khanna changes his look and style to match with that quite tall Aishwarya Rai! I'm confident, people will like this pair more than or atleast as the same way as the Akshaye Khanna-Kareena Kapoor!

To all Akshaye's's the video - Exclusive: 'Ek Din' video song from Naqaab and another video Akshay-Bobby 'unveil' Urvashi's Naqaab via You'll certainly like these two new videos!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, why does Akshaye Khanna grow his beard these days! Recently, even Akshay Kumar was seen in unshaven beard! Both Akshay Kumar and Akshaye Khanna don't shave their beard nowadays and have put quite lots of weight! Why?? Is it because of their forthcoming films??

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys, I won't be able to do this one thing which is very important for me and it may link to Akshaye Khanna...that's there'll be a Live chat: Urvashi Sharma on July 11 at 1500 hrs IST via!!
Please, ask her some questions about Akshaye Khanna and Naqaab!! Thanks!! Don't Forget!

Anonymous said...

I think there is a better quality of video at (Bobby Deol and Akshaye Khanna unveiling Naqaab Girl Urvashi Sharma)

Anonymous said...

No news about Akshaye Khanna today?

akshayefan said...

Thanx for the comments. I agree too. The interview was not about Race, so it's kind of harsh to judge him on not speaking about his heroines.

And it annoys me no end that the heroines ignore him and mention others. At least he is not playing favorites.

Anonymous said...

Yep, exactly! The interview was not about Race, so Akshaye Khanna prefers to talk about Naqaab and Gandhi, My Father and also Urvashi Sharma these days. He'll surely talk about Race and its heroines at the right time as he always does.