Friday, August 31, 2007

Sid or Akash?

Since Sid in Dil Chahta Hai became such an iconic character and Dil Chahta Hai itself remains such an important milestone in Akshaye's career, it's surprising to know that Akshaye was not initially considered for Sid at all but for Akash. Sid was to be played by Hrithik Roshan. Hrithik turned it down and Farhan found Aamir willing to do the movie but only the part of Akash. So, he adjusted the screenplay and convinced Akshaye to do the movie and play Sid, a young man who falls in love with an older woman, a subject taboo in mainstream Hindi cinema. The movie went on to become an iconic hit and revived Akshaye's career, though not in the same way as Saif's.

In a way, Dil Chahta Hai played the same role in Akshaye's life as The Philadelphia Story played in Katherine Hepburn's. Before The Philadelphia Story, Katherine was considered a cold and condescending star who was giving flop after flop and was even named box-office posion. Then The Philadelphia Story came out and it Katherine played a woman who is quite strong and yet vulnerable. Audiences were floored by this unexpected side of Hepburn and loved her all the more for it. The legend had begun.

The same goes for Akshaye too. Till DCH, Akshaye was labelled arrogant, an upper class snob who looked down upon the lower middle class Bollywood. Once the movie came out, there was a sea change in perception. From now, he was a reclusive star not an arrogant one, whose South Mumbai breeding set him apart in a class of his own, a charming but not talkative man. In short, it humanised the star.

When the movie came out, I remember asking friends who they thought acted the best in the movie. Many said Saif or Aamir because Sid's character was not universally popular with the masses ( though Sid is the firm favorite on the internet). Still, one friend paused to consider and replied that Akshaye may in the end be the best actor because everyone was convinced he was just like Sid in real life ! The real reason why many people didn't consider him the best of the trio because he was being himself and that'a not a hard thing to do, right?

A few weeks ago, I told another bunch that Akshaye, in fact, was not even considered for Sid's role and he was first chosen for Akash. They immediately shook their heads and said he'd not be able to do it. I think that's a leftover impression of how good he was being Sid, he managed to convince many that he'd be totally out of place playing Akash. Curious because, in real life, he's probably more like Akash than Sid. Which is probably why Farhan wanted him for the role. I think, the character in part, may have even been based on Akshaye.

I was remined of that when I saw the recent Karan Johar's show. In the rapid fire round, Karan asked Akshaye his opinion on Rakhi Sawant's comments, " Jo bhagawan nahin de saktha hain, woh doctor detha hain,"( A doctor gives what even the God can't.) Pat came the reply, " She's proved it," and Karan burst out laughing. Now, this was quite funny, particularly in a rapid fire round, but probably not a very nice thing to say.

Sid would never have said it but it was right up the street for Akash. Aamir was only playing Akash, albeit playing well. But Akshaye is Akash.


Anonymous said...

Wow, well-said!!!!

Anonymous said...

Akshaye Khanna behaves according his mood....and that's what I like about him. He is a natural human being.

Anonymous said...

Akshaye Khanna could have played the character Akash too in Dil Chahta Hai. He would have played it perfectly like he did for his character as Sid. Please, don't forget that Akshaye Khanna is born to act.

Anonymous said...

I like the pics of Akshaye Khanna posted where he sits like in yoga n rolls his eyes, one in his paint ad and other with his tie.

Anonymous said...

The way Akshaye Khanna sits naughtingly in the sofa in Koffee With Karan show, he looks like the character of Akash in Dil Chahta Hai.