Sunday, June 15, 2008

The best role I've ever done-- Akshaye

Akshaye Khanna is one of the most underrated actors of Bollywood, so say some die-hard fans. He's got it all - his father Vinod Khanna's boyish charm, oodles of talent and some good backers in the film industry. Even Bollywood veteran Anil Kapoor swears by Akshaye. But somehow, the actor hasn't been able to crack the A-list, despite all these pluses. He's either played supporting roles or negative roles and has not found much success as a solo leading man.

But now, Akshaye hopes to change all that with Mere Baap Pehle Aap in which he plays the lead. The film's a comedy that also stars Paresh Rawal, Genelia D'Souza, Om Puri and Rajpal Yadav.

A quick chat with Akshaye on his new film:

What attracted you to this film?

The film is about relationships. It's a family-oriented flick. I am sure when the audiences come out of the theatres they will identify with the film. The situations in the film are hilarious and it's a positive film. What I liked about the script was that it was unique even though it had all the ingredients of a commercial Hindi film. But it's not a hackneyed plot. It's refreshingly different. Also Priyadarshan is a great director. I really enjoy working with him. We share a great relationship and I enjoy coming to his sets.

Tell us something about your character in the film...

This is probably the best role I have ever done. It fits in perfectly with the story and even complements it. I play the role of Gaurav, a man who always wants his father to be happy. So he tried everything in his capacity to make his dad happy. Sometimes, that leads to hilarious situations, especially when he tries to unite his dad with his lost love.

Can you tell us about any one particular funny situation?

Yeah. Genelia once asks me in this film, 'Who do you have in your house besides your father?' I reply 'I have uncles and aunts, grandpa, grandma and they all come together in one human being and that is in my father'. I thought that was an interesting line.

How well do you and Paresh get along?

We have done a lot of films together. But I think we have the maximum scenes together in this film. So there is a lot of interaction between us as we play father and son. He is a great guy, interesting to work with and a great actor as everybody knows. We gel well and it is fun to be with Paresh on the shoots. We don't have any problems or any hitches.

What do you feel about Paresh's comic timing?

Paresh has his own style of acting. His style is very effective. His performance forces the audience to sit back and watch him without even blinking. He manages a rare blend of comedy and seriousness that's hard to emulate.

Do you like him as a person?

In our industry, it is very important to personally like the people you work with. It is good to have a professional relationship but if you have a personal equation, the quality of work improves. In filmmaking, you end up spending a lot of time for days with the same people. So it's important to like them and enjoy good communication with them. Else you can't perform too well and the rapport suffers. We share a good personal equation too.

You have worked with Priyadarshan in some films earlier too. Do you sense any change in him?

None at all. He's just become older (laughs). He is a really good speaker and he expresses his point of view so clearly that the actors face no problem at all in doing what he wants them to. A distinct and clear explanation leads to a good film. Communication is where most directors fail.

Well, now let's talk about your rapport with your real-life father Vinod...

My father is more like a friend to me; we share a very good relationship. We discuss so many things. He is not the one who likes to force his decisions on others. Plus he loves to socialise. This is why he has so many friends.

What other films are you working on?

Besides Mere Baap Pehle Aap, there is Anil Kapoor's Shortcut and an animated film Ab Dilli Door Nahi. I dubbed for the animated film. It was a completely different experience.

What about producing? Anything coming up there?

Right now, that has taken a backseat. But yes, if I come across a good story, I will definitely try my hand at producing films.

(Beta Masala)