Monday, December 28, 2009

Anil helps Farah to get Akshaye to star in his film

Farah Khan believes three is her lucky charm. She has triplets, her production house is called 3's Company and now she has three namesakes in her project Tees Maar Khan.

After casting Akshay Kumar for TMK, she has just pencilled in Akshaye Khanna for a parallel role in her film. To avoid confusion in names, she will refer to them as Akki and Akshu. The unit hands will have to refer to them as Mr Kumar and Mr Khanna. But then, stylist Aki Narula is also on board her project!

"There is bound to be some gadbad at some time when the film goes on floors in March," laughs Farah. "I can well imagine if I am calling Akki and Aki lands up or when I say Akshaye and Akshay arrives."

When her hubby Shirish Kunder and she were looking at options for another hero for Tees Maar Khan, Akshaye was on the top of the list. "I am glad he was convinced and said yes. Akshaye is half-Parsi like me and he calls me dikri! We get along superbly."

Anil Kapoor played a major role in the casting too. He is close to both Farah and Akshaye and put in a word on Farah's behalf.

Adds Farah, "Shirish went to meet Akshaye on the sets of No Problem at Mehboob Studios last week. Now everything is signed and sealed."

Akshaye will have to shed weight for the film and has already started preparing for the role..
Says Farah, "It's the first time that the two Akshays are working together in the same film. Though both have worked in many Priyadarshan films they haven't done a project together with him either. I am glad they are doing it with me first!"

Tees Maar Khan will have one actress, who will be announced by the second week of January.

Boys will be boys

The reason is because Sanju who has a fleet of cars brings a new car to work each day. Just yesterday, he was in the studios with his red sports model fancy car. And, in between shots all the others ‘boys’ — Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna and Paresh Rawal were apparently just hanging around Sanju’s car, touching it, feeling it... and wanting to take it out for a ride. What’s it with men and machines yaar? “I find them more irresistible than even women,” said one of the actors.

Farah signs Akshaye for Tees Maar Khan

Farah confirms the news. She says, “Akshaye Khanna is playing a pivotal role. We needed a big name and an established actor, who had a good comic timing. Khanna fitted the bill perfectly. Moreover, Kumar and Khanna have never worked together so this is a fresh combination of co-stars. It is a very unique role and the second most important character in the film. Kumar is playing the title role, while Khanna is playing Atish Kapoor.”

Ask her if there is any actress opposite Khanna, she says, “There is just one actress opposite both the Akshay(e)s. It is a strange script and I cannot divulge details about it.”

Glad to know Farah considers Akshaye as a big name for she kept dissing him in the past. I am relieved Akshaye will be seen in a new movie after all.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Akshaye on speed

If you are ferrying your way to Alibaug this weekend, do not be surprised to see Akshaye Khanna zooming ahead in his own speed boat. The actor has the unique hobby of collecting speed boats, and recently put it to good use. While shooting for Anil Kapoor’s No Problem, Akshaye offered the use of his speed boats.

The cast and crew of No Problem were to shoot 2 kms off the sea shore. So Akshaye suggested that they should use his speed boats to travel for the shoot. And that’s exactly what they did, use ‘Freedom’ and ‘Freedom II’, for the shoot. Freedom is a white and yellow boat, while Freedom II is white and blue.

Rajat Rawail, one of the producers confirmed, “Akshaye owns two huge speed boats. One of the boats is 27 feet long, while the other is easily 32. In fact, he just bought the larger one two months ago. I was discussing the two-day shoot scheduled at the Yellow Gate, Fort with my team. Akshaye happened to come and sit next to me, and he figured that I was planning to book speed boats for our travel. He promptly said that we could use his boats and that he has two of them.”

“The boats, I must say, are lovely and we have been using them for the last two days. Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Kangna Ranaut and Anees Bazmee, all traveled in the boats. I believe Akshaye uses them to travel to Alibaug, which is one of his favourite spots,” Rajat added.

Akshaye attends Anil's b'day

It was a quiet birthday night for the actor who celebrated his big day with Bollywood pals. Kapoor, who was last seen in the worldwide super-hit, Slumdog Millionaire, was dressed casually and spent the evening interacting and celebrating. Attending the event were his Mr India co-star, Sreedevi, Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna, who chose to stay away from the cameras for most of the evening.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Akshoo loves vadapav

Yeh Kehne Se Pehle Tumhari Zaban Kyon Nahi Jal Gayi

No one can take a 'vada pav' away from Akshaye Khanna. He loves it so much that you cannot even call it junk food without getting into an argument with him, "Vada Pav is not junk food. It's got this aalo patties which is placed between the bread. How can it be junk food?" Go for it Khanna! Anyways 'junk food' is nothing but silly 'gora' concept!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sush hugs Akshoo

Both women dressed in designer saris (costing the producer a few lakhs) were in perfect tandem. What is notable is that Kangna who seems petite could actually measure up quite well to the tall Sushmita. Both women wore flat slippers, exposed their flat bellies and shook their hips so seductively that the men who were watching — Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Akshaye Khanna had their tongues hanging loose.

Akshaye Khanna the youngest guy of the lot also got rewarded by a nice bear hug from sexy Sush... and after she finished, the actor was strutting around looking very pleased. Well, not everyone gets such benevolence from the ex Miss Universe after all.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Akshaye's Hungama



Hopefully, more such Akshaye TV spots will turn up soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Akshaye's astrological forecast

Akshaye will remain in the limelight because of his performance in the films in 2009. This year will also see him work hard on honing his skills as an actor.

Akshaye heads to gym

For his role in Priyadarshan’s hard-hitting tale of honour killing in Bihar Ajay Devgan needs to have a specially toned-up physique.

Priyan tells us why. “I’ve turned the horrific tale of an actual incident in Bihar of an inter-caste romance into a full-on actioner. See, I wanted to keep it real. At the same time I wanted to make it riveting for the audience. So while shooting on an authentic location (Karaikudi is like a small town in Bihar) I’ve made my two heroes Ajay and Akshaye Khanna into full-on action heroes. This film has the kind of real stunts never seen in Hindi cinema.”
Priyan has roped in his old action director B Thyagarajan and a stunt director from South Africa , Frances to devise action scenes which would take the director’s Bihari drama into the region of riveting realism.

Says Priyan, “When I say real action I mean fight scenes that are the opposite of cable-wired flips somersaults, jumps and leaps. This time Ajay has gone as raw as it can get.”
The action sequences have both Devgan and Khanna locked in hand-to-hand combats, and other very basic forms of physical aggression that went out of vogue with the old Kung Fu films.

For this Devgan needed to get into a different shape. And so did Akshaye.
In fact, Akshaye is a new convert to the gym . Till this schedule in Karaikudi started. And Ajay persuaded Akshaye to head for the gym.

“Yes, we’ve a set up a terrific gym in this wilderness. It’s been set up in an under-construction building. It has all the equipment,” says Bipasha. “We all work out in it. Ajay and I, of course. Paresh Rawal also works out. Akshaye Khanna only used to play squash for exercise. Now he’s started going to the gym. They need to get into a specific shape for this film.”

Before producer Arbaaz Khan can shift Bihar to Vai near Mumbai for the shooting of Abhinav Kashyap’s Dabangg, Priyadrashan has relocated a village of Bihar in Karaikudi, a Tamilian small-town 80 kilometers away from Madurai to shoot for his very real headline-derived intercaste love story that shook rural Bihar some time ago.

Doesn’t the film take Priyan into a space completely different from his award-winning Kanchivaram?

“Not at all. That was a different kind of reality. This is different,” says Priyan.

A substantial movie for Akshaye after a long time. Can't wait.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Priyadarshan's movie's shooting on

Every director has a favorite heroine and most often, for inexplicable reasons, like David Dhawan's casting of Rambha or Priyadarshan of Rimi Sen. Well, now Priyadarshan has changed loyalties and his current favorite is Rituparna Sengupta, another Bong sensation.

Sengupta said, "I was first cast for Priyan sir's film with Percept Picture Company, Bum Bum Bole with Atul Kulkarni and Darsheel Saffary. After that film was complete, I got a call from his office offering me a role in his latest political thriller, which is yet to be titled."

Priyan is currently shooting his film on the Kerala Karnataka border with Ajay Devgan, Akshaye Khanna and Bipasha Basu. Rituparna added, "The film is based on the caste war of North India and I play an integral part of the film, whose character is helped by Akshaye Khanna."

Priyan had first cast Sen in Hungama. He was impressed with her commitment to work and therefore cast her in his other films like Garam Masala and Kyon Ki. But it now appears that his loyalties have shifted to Sengupta, who also has a National Award for Best Actress to her name. Additionally, Priyan has also cast another Bengali beauty - Bipasha Basu - in the main lead.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Akshaye dances in live concert



Found it on youtube. Is it recent or is it old? Either way its nice.

Akshaye at Sanju's bday

Akshaye at Sanjay Dutt's 50th bday.

Akshaye, Ajay n bipasha in Priyan's next

Just as filmmaker Priyadarshan seemed obsessed with mindless comedy, he decided to get serious after all. He is all set to embark upon a project that quite falls in the genre of his Sazaa-e-Kaala Paani, Gardish... Priyan will direct a movie based on caste-wars set in India. When we got in touch with the director, he told us, “In Northern India there are many cases of inter-caste marriages, and sometimes children are even killed for daring to opt for inter-caste marriages. There have been many articles from the Times of India that gives a base to our story and script. In fact, the movie, a thriller, is based on an enquiry commission.”

This film will see Akshay Khanna play a CBI officer, Ajay Devgan as a Major deputed for the case and Bipasha Basu plays Akshaye Khanna’s ex-girlfriend. However Priyadarshan says that the icing on the cake is Paresh Rawal who will play the villain this time round. “Paresh always complaints that I make him the laughing stock, so he is all geared up to resurrect his career of playing a serious, horrible villain in this film,” says Priyan.

The yet-to-be-titled movie will be shot in two schedules - September and January and will release sometime in 2010.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Akshaye enjoying S.Africa

Bollywood celebrities Sushmita Sen and Akshaye Khanna have been taking in the sights of KwaZulu Natal during the filming of the romantic comedy No Problem,set at various locations including the Camelot Golf Club in Hillcrest and La Mercy Beach.

The movie, directed by Anees Bazmee, will be filmed in the province for two weeks, before the cast and crew head for Cape Town for a further two to three weeks. POST has learnt that Kangana Ranaut and Paresh Rawal are also in Durban.


Acting heavyweight Sanjay Dutt was expected to arrive last night (Tuesday) and Sunil Shetty is heading our way on Friday.

Production started on Saturday and several locals have been used as extras.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Akshaye's interview

With its hilarious plot and surprisingly good cast, Short Kut: The Con Is On is a million laughs a minute. Mathures Paul speaks to the main
protagonist

One of the most underrated actors of our times, Akshaye Khanna has been giving us hit after hit ~ Gandhi, My Father, Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love, Hulchul, and many more. A few weeks back he received the IIFA Best Villain Award for his role in Race. Khanna is very much in the news as his new film ~ Short Kut: The Con Is On ~ has succeeded in making box-office cash registers ring.
First, the plot of the film in brief. Short Kut is a comedy about the trials and tribulations of two con artistes ~ a struggling director and an actor in pursuit of their tinsel town dreams. Shekhar (Akshaye Khanna), an aspiring assistant director, and Raju (Arshad Warsi), a wannabe junior artiste, meet and strike-up a friendship. While Shekhar is extremely talented and confident, Raju is a buffoon and thinks he is God’s gift to Bollywood! As luck would have it, Raju manages to steal Shekhar’s prized script and is catapulted towards stardom. Soon Shekhar plunges into a phase of self pity and dejection, which results in his wife Mansi (Amrita Rao) leaving him. Shattered, Shekhar looks for that golden opportunity to get even with Raju.
What was it about Short Kut that appealed to you ~ Anil Kapoor or the script?
It’s always the script. Always. I respond, or react, to scripts spontaneously. We have a great personal relationship, a friendship that’s not easy to break. I cherish it and value it.

Anil Kapoor, the producer and the actor…
Actor-producer relationship is more at a professional level. A bit formal. We are careful of not upsetting each other; not to make the other feel uncomfortable. Anil is a friend and a producer. He brings commitment and passion to any project. The same goes for anything he does in life. That indeed is a great asset.

Are you satisfied with the new Hindi film scripts?
Difficult question. Generally things are getting better but not at a pace most of us would want. I think the level of writing that we see in the television or film industry in the West is higher than in India. We have a long way to go before we achieve that level of originality and diversity. (Thinks) Not only in the area of writing but every aspect of film-making ~ acting, designing, production, etc. The drama audiences watch on television or films in the West cannot be found that frequently in India.

The need for casting directors…
In the Hindi film industry there is almost nothing called casting directors. It doesn’t exist and it never has. It’s sad. But one of the reasons for that profession not being able find its place is because we have only a few actors. You have 20-odd leading men in the industry. Maximum 25. Girls even less. There are so few people that the industry doesn’t require a casting director. If there were hundreds of actors, their (casting directors) roles would have been important.

But new actors are coming our way…
But we need many more.

Maybe viewers don’t want to accept new faces…
That’s also true. Viewers need to accept them. At times our audiences don’t accept new faces. If someone new comes, he or she is either accepted or not accepted. An actor like Imran (Khan) has been accepted. It’s not a matter of coming from an established family of actors. A person is accepted because he is accepted! As simple as that. Sonam (Kapoor) was also simply accepted. Now look at Deepika Padukone. She doesn’t have any background in acting. But she was accepted. In south India Asin is already accepted. But to the Hindi film industry she is new.

Your next film with Anil Kapoor…
We haven’t started shooting. When we start, it begins in South Africa and then moves to Mumbai.

Classy guy


This is one classy lad. No lewd jokes, humour or tasteless jibes for Akshaye

And it was obvious at a recent interview that he was doing to promote his new film. While others referred to some of the SMS jokes doing the rounds about Shiney Ahuja, Akshaye rigidly snapped, “Cut it out guys. It’s not in good taste.

Just leave this sensitive issue alone.” A moment’s silence followed before Akshaye resumed talk about every other topic, with a smile, all over again. Now, that’s sheer class.

Akshaye to work with a new director?

One is he wouldn’t want to share screen space with his father. The other is, he doesn’t want to get married. Says Akshaye, “I don’t believe in the institution of marriage. Yes, the other day a pundit predicted I’d definitely get married in 2009. He said he can write it in his blood, ‘Iss saal teri shaadi pakki.’ I was horrified. Now I keep asking everyone around me to assure me it won’t come true. The fact is, marriage is just a legal piece of paper. I don’t see why the government needs to get involved in what two people do with their lives. It’s none of their business.”

As for working with his charismatic dad, that’s also a no-no. “Even today I’d think 10 times before facing the camera with him. In terms of physicality alone he’s so powerful. No point in sharing space with him until I feel confident of matching him by at least 10 percent. As a star-son it’s a constant struggle to move away from being known as Vinod Khanna’s son and create my own space.”

Otherwise nothing has changed about Akshaye over the years. He remains as reclusive as ever. “I like it that way. I see no point in talking about myself unnecessarily. I’m not a high-profile person. I like being as low-profile as humanly possible. So I’ve no interest in reaping the benefits of a film by talking about its success. In the long run it’s the film that matters. Talking about yourself is of no consequence. It doesn’t come naturally to me.Yes, Race was a hit. If people want to remember me in Race, they will without my selling myself.”

Akshaye refuses to admit he does too little work. “It’s not conscious. In fact next year I’ve three films. If I had my way I’d work 365 days a year. As for being picky, who isn’t? Aren’t Abhishek, John and Hrithik picky? Hrithik’s last release was Jodhaa-Akbar more than a year ago. I’m starting a new comedy in South Africa with Anees Bazmi No Problem. It’s got me, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Kangna Ranaut.”

Akshaye Khanna, who has done comedies in the past with the prolific Priyadarshan will start shooting for a serious film on a caste–based marriage in Bihar with the prolific director.

“Yes, I’m doing a non-comedy film based on a caste issue with Priyadarshan. It’s got Ajay Devgan and me. Priyan has been making a whole lot of comedies. After that I’m starting another film with a new director. I don’t recall doing a film with a new director except Lateef Binny with whom I did Dehak many years ago.”

He blames someone from within the unit of his latest film Shortkut for planting stories of his differences with his co-star Arshad Warsi.
“I haven’t done it for sure. Whoever spread these stories did it for no reason than to create a stupid silly hype about the film. People enjoy reading about such battles between two actors. Even I do. Arshad and I get along quite well. I really enjoy spending time with my co-stars specially if they’re good actors. Arshad and I are at loggerheads as characters in Shortkut. But to create that antagonism on screen you’ve to be compatible with your co-star.

A screen partnership is almost like a marriage, a short-term but strong commitment. If you don’t get along with your unit the film suffers. I don’t work towards it. But I just get along with my co-stars. I’m a very blunt person. If I don’t like someone, he is sure to know.”

Akshaye is full of praise for Arshad. “Shortkut is Arshad’s best performance to date. He’s better here than he was in the Munnabhai movies. I play a writer and assistant director who hopes to make his own film. I’m the only normal character surrounded by these zany people. And by the way Shortkut has the distinction of being written by two of our finest writer-director of comedies Neeraj Vora and Anees Bazmi.”

It was even said that Akshaye refused to promote his new film at a recent international event. “Nothing could be sillier. Because all of us from the film had gone with the express purpose of promoting the film. It was an insane charge.”

His last film Mere Baap Pehle Aap he says did decently enough to make money for everyone. “It’s just that the film wasn’t hyped up as a hit. No matter how nominal, the film did make profits. I can name so many films that have been declared super hits but haven’t made money. I don’t want to name them because they involve friends.”

Akshaye is satisfied with the roles he‘s doing. “I don’t see too many other actors doing the variety of roles I am doing.”

Akshaye has no plans of turning director. “I don’t think about it. It’s something that may happen. But not right now.”

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Akshaye's interview

After winning awards for his negative role in Race , Akshaye Khanna strikes back with Short Kut . The actor speaks about everything from Amrita Rao’s ravishing hot look and his feud with Arshad Warsi.

Who takes a shortcut in this film and why? For love, money, success?
Arshad Warsi, who plays Raju in the film, takes shortcut and interestingly for all three.

Give us a gist of the film
Shortkut is a story of two people – Shekhar (played by me) and Raju (played by Arshad). Shekhar is some one who does not believe in taking shortcuts in life and believes in doing hard work to achieve his goals whereas Raju is some one who wants everything quickly without taking any efforts. Shortkut is their journey.

How was it teaming up with Amrita Rao after Deewaar?
It was great. I think she has grown a lot as an actor since Deewaar . I remember during Deewaar she was very raw and young and now in Shortkut she has emerged as a more matured and hard working actor.

Would you agree that Amrita is looking her best in this film?
Oh yes, I think she is looking ravishing and hot. She is definitely looking her best in Shortkut .

Shortcut is remake of a Malayalam film ( Udayananu Tharam ). Have you seen the original to understand the character better?
No, I haven’t seen the original...in fact no one from the cast saw the film. Actually Neeraj (Vora) wanted us to act afresh rather than watching the original and imitating the characters.

Has the Hindi version shaped up better than the Malayalam film?
We saw the original only once we finished shooting for Shortkut and without any doubt I think that Shortkut is much better than the original.

Reportedly, the Malayalam film was loosely based on the Hollywood film Bowfinger (Steve Martin – Eddie Murphy). Does Shortkut have similarities to Bowfinger too?
I haven’t seen Bowfinger so I really cannot have a say on this.

You play a director in the film. Do you plan to direct a film in real life in the near future?
No plans as of now of directing but may be some time in future...you never know.

What’s it about Anil Kapoor that he insists on having you in all his productions?
It is always a Pleasure working with Anil Kapoor. He is like my elder brother. I am happy that he has so much trust and faith in me that he gives me an opportunity to work with him in his productions.

Anil Kapoor is a fabulous actor. How is Anil Kapoor as a producer?
He is a fabulous producer too. He takes care of the entire cast and crew like his family, he makes sure that every thing is perfect and is always available for everyone and I think these are few of the most important qualities a producer must possess.

You have known Neeraj Vora – the writer. How was it to know Neeraj Vora as the director?
Well, I have known Neeraj Vora not only as a writer but also as an actor. I worked with him in a film called Doli Saja Ke Rakhna , in which he played a small role...and now working with him as a director was a fantastic experience...he is an easygoing director, he never pressurizes you for any thing and the best part is that he enacts each and every scene to you and makes it even simpler.

How much of truth is there in stories of you having fallout with Arshad Warsi?
There is no truth in it.

Which genre are you most comfortable in – comedy, thriller, drama?
I am comfortable doing all kind of genres provided the script is good

In times of 6 pack and 8 pack abs, do you plan to go for a chiseled look?
Every thing depends up on the requirement of the script... then if it demands 6 pack or 8 pack abs or a chiseled look...it doesn’t matter.

Have you ever taken a shortcut in real life?
Yes, I once took a shortcut when I was in college...it was my French exam and I was not prepared at all so I decided to skip the exam. When my parents came to know about this, they sent me to boarding, which was not a very great experience for me.

Do you believe there is a shortcut to success?
In today’s world any thing is possible but I personally believe that there is no shortcut to success and even if one finds it...it won’t last for long.

Would you recommend others to take shortcut or go the long path?
I cannot recommend any thing to anyone but I think one should make his/her own decision and have courage to go ahead with it and face the consequences whether good or bad.

What are your forthcoming films?
I have one more film with Anil Kapoor production called No Problem .

Shortkut Zoom Special

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Akshaye's interview

The talented Akshaye Khanna doesn’t make much hue and cry before his films release. This time too Akshaye remains all the same before his film SHORTKUT: THE CON IS ON releases. The actor speaks to our correspondent on films, marriage and more…

Your last film MERE BAAP PEHLE AAP released almost a year ago. Quite a long gap!

The biggest reason right now has to be global recession and the multiplex strike…. But now I am doing two films and I hope I will be seen more in the theaters. I somehow try and do one film at a time, which helps me, focus on my work.

Okay, tell me something… why do you always run away from the media. They have always loved you.

(Laughs) Come on… I never do that. See I am talking to you. What do I say to the media if I don’t have anything to say? I am a very private person and I am not very comfortable discussing my private life in public. But otherwise I have never shied away from the media.

Now SHORTKUT is releasing and it’s a comedy. In the last few years you have done quite a few comedies and most have been successful. Are you in love with this genre?

(Thinks) It’s not like that. I don’t think if a film is a comedy or something else. It’s all about the script and the director. I have always loved working with Priyadarshan who is a brilliant director. SHORTKUT too is a comedy and I hope the audiences will love it because it’s a good story made by a good director and produced by Anil Kapoor.

In fact, this is the second time that you are working in Anil Kapoor’s production after GANDHI: MY FATHER, which was rather a completely different kind of film.

It has always been a pleasure working with Anil Kapoor. GANDHI: MY FATHER was a different kind of film, which I will always remain close to my heart. And that is what Anil is good at. His production house is like my own family and this time too the experience wasn’t any different. Anil says, I am like a bad habit for him and that’s why he couldn’t do away with me this time (Laughs out). He is someone who would put his soul behind the films he makes and encourages others to work harder.

But it is being said that you do not have fond memories of the shooting and had a lot of trouble…

No…no that’s completely wrong. I am rather very happy.

It’s said that you and Arshad Warsi had your differences and all was not okay between you.

That’s completely wrong. In fact we had a great time and there wasn’t any problem between us. We both are professionals and I have known Arshad as a great actor. We have also worked earlier in HULCHUL, which was a big success and both of us had some great time working together. Why should we have problems this time! (Smiles)

And what about Amrita? You have worked with her in DEEWAR earlier.

That was long back and she was very young at that time. But she has really matured over the years and has molded herself into a brilliant actress. She looks confident and has come up with a fantastic performance. Her effort shows on screen.

Tell us something about your role.

It’s a hilarious film and you will enjoy every moment of it. I play a struggling assistant who wants to become a director. And in doing so everyone is trying to con the other. Arshad plays a bad actor, while Amrita is a successful actress. She is romantically linked to me in the film but is opposite Arshad in the film within the film.

So, are you happy with the way you career has shaped up since your debut given that you have done a variety of roles?

In fact I am happy the way the audiences have accepted me, the kind of films I have been able to do and remain close to the hearts of my fans. There have been such good films like GANDHI: MY FATHER, DIL CHAHTA HAI, RACE, HULCHUL and HUNGAMA. So, overall I am happy. I am still trying to do good job and keep my audiences happy.

Don’t you plan to work with your father someday?

Of course I do. I wish to work with him because dad is a great…great actor and I am just keeping my fingers crossed that someday…someone comes with a good script for both of us.

You have never been linked up with your actresses.

I hate that. Thankfully it never happened and I wish that doesn’t happen to me any day. I am happy with the way I am.

So when do you get married?

(Smiles again). Not at the moment for sure. But as and when it happens everyone’s surely going to know about that. For the time being I don’t have any plans.

Akshaye on Zoom

ZoOm India’s hottest destination for Bollywood content brings to you an exclusive episode featuring the pretty Amrita Rao, the witty Arshad Warsi and the handsome Akshay Khanna as they come together to talk about their upcoming release ‘Shortkut – The Con is On’ and answer a lot many questions with host Omar Qureshi on An Encounter with Shortkut Starcast. Watch Arshad Warsi and Akshay Khanna harass the petite Amrita Rao and be a part of all the jokes and gossip circulating about the movie.

Sharing their thoughts with Omar Qureshi on why they limit themselves to mostly comedy specific roles, the handsome Akshay Khanna said, “Acting is my passion. It is what I do and love to do. So be it comedy, action or anything…I love doing everything when it comes to acting”. Added Arshad Warsi in jest, “Every 8 / 10 movies are comedy. Every second movie is made comedy by force, so you are bound to do comedy, what to do? But I enjoyed it…its fine”

In her entire career in the Bollywood film industry, Amrita Rao will for the first time be shedding her inhibition and playing a glamorous role of an actress in the movie. Akshay Khanna in an attempt to compliment Amrita states, “She has always played the girl next door but Amrita is looking hot in the movie, she enjoyed playing the role of a glamour girl. She has become Amrita “Wow” and not Rao now.” To this statement, Amrita reacted pleasantly saying, “I am a contemporary girl, I have lived in the city long enough to develop my own style”.


Akshay Khanna admits that he is not a snob and when asked about his image in the industry, his co-star Arshad Warsi defends him and explains the reason behind the misconceptions. The stars further share their experience, juicy gossips on the sets during the shoot, the experience of working with Anil Kapoor as a producer and loads more…

‘Shortkut – The Con is On’ specials on ZoOm kick started with the song ‘Kal 9 baje’ playing exclusively on the channel on June 25 & 26; and ‘Mareeze Mohabbat’ featuring Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor and Amrita Rao on July 02, 03 & 04 when ZoOm audience got the first glimpse of the video on television. The specials continued with an on-air contest around the film from June 28 to July 07 where the winner will get a chance to watch the special screening of the film with the star cast and also get to take home film merchandise, audio CDs etc specially autographed by the stars themselves.

‘Shortkut - The Con is On’ is due to release on July 10, 2009. The film is based on the story of two strugglers, one who makes it big as a Superstar (Arshad Warsi) after stealing a script, and the other whose struggle as a director (Akshaye Khanna) continues after his script gets stolen. Actress Amrita Rao plays Akshay Khanna’s love interest. Tune in into witness yourself the chemistry shared by the stars and the faith they have in the story of the movie.

So get set and watch ‘An Encounter with Shortkut Starcast’ on Thursday, July 09, 9.30pm with repeat telecast on Saturday, July 11, 2pm and Sunday, July 12, 12pm. Also get to hear who the original cast was supposed to be and how it all got changed in the last hour. All this and more…exclusively on ZoOm.

Monday, July 6, 2009

There's a person in my life: Akshaye Khanna

Akshaye Khanna is quite a reticent guy and likes to keep it that way. We drew him out for a short chat about his upcoming flick, his co-stars, a bit about his private life and future plans. Read on...

Let's talk about ShortKut
It's a movie about two people who want to achieve their goals in life, with the film industry as a back drop. It's all about people and their choices, narrated in a funny way.

So have you taken any ShortKut for success?
Well I did not take any short cut in my life as such..... it just happened. There are people who think that the biggest short cut you can ever take is being an actor's son if you want to be an actor. I was born in a filmy family, which helped me to overcome hurdles to become an actor. Or else, we see these girls and guys coming to Mumbai from far away places to become actors, directors, scriptwriters and many of them face disappointments. Getting into the industry is a very-very difficult thing. So I respect having this advantage. Apart from this, at Malabar Hill, there's this road called Seedi (Stairs) Road which I used to take as a shortcut to school, whenever I used to be late and miss the bus.

This is the first time you've worked with Amrita Rao....
Amrita is a very easy person to work with. She is a very simple girl in her personal life and she brings that simplicity to her work as well. There is certain innocence about her; which comes on screen as well. She has never done sexy or glamorous roles and I think she has enjoyed transforming herself into something which she had never done before.

Were you insecure about acting with Arshad, known for his comic timing?
Arshad is a fantastic actor. Especially in these kinds of comedy films. I think his best work has been Munnabhai films. I think his work in Short Kut is as good if not better than his work as Circuit.

You haven't worked with Priyadarshan in a while.
I am starting a film with him, towards the end of September- October. It also stars Ajay Devgan, and it's not a comedy. Priyan has not made a serious movie since Virasat. It'll be fun, interesting and something different.

After Tara Sharma, you haven't been involved with someone else...
How do you know? There is a person in my life but I would not like to talk about it.

Any interest in getting politics, like your dad?
Not at all. I have the same interest as most normal citizens have for their country or politics. I follow the newspapers; and whatever is happening in the country. But I am not interested in being a part of politics.

Any plans to produce films in the Future?
No, not right now. Now, I am concentrating on my acting. May be in the future I would like to.

Who is this? Amrita Rao?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Akshaye's interview

The talented Akshaye Khanna doesn't make much hue and cry before his films release. This time too Akshaye remains all the same before his film SHORTKUT: THE CON IS ON releases. The actor speaks to our correspondent on films, marriage and more...

Your last film MERE BAAP PEHLE AAP released almost a year ago. Quite a long gap!
The biggest reason right now has to be global recession and the multiplex strike.... But now I am doing two films and I hope I will be seen more in the theatres. I somehow try and do one film at a time, which helps me, focus on my work.

"Anil says, I am like a bad habit for him..."

Okay, tell me something... why do you always run away from the media. They have always loved you.
(Laughs) Come on... I never do that. See I am talking to you. What do I say to the media if I don't have anything to say? I am a very private person and I am not very comfortable discussing my private life in public. But otherwise I have never shied away from the media.

Now SHORTKUT is releasing and it's a comedy. In the last few years you have done quite a few comedies and most have been successful. Are you in love with this genre?
(Thinks) It's not like that. I don't think if a film is a comedy or something else. It's all about the script and the director. I have always loved working with Priyadarshan who is a brilliant director. SHORTKUT too is a comedy and I hope the audiences will love it because it's a good story made by a good director and produced by Anil Kapoor.


In fact, this is the second time that you are working in Anil Kapoor's production after GANDHI: MY FATHER, which was rather a completely different kind of film.
It has always been a pleasure working with Anil Kapoor. GANDHI: MY FATHER was a different kind of film, which I will always remain close to my heart. And that is what Anil is good at. His production house is like my own family and this time too the experience wasn't any different. Anil says, I am like a bad habit for him and that's why he couldn't do away with me this time (Laughs out). He is someone who would put his soul behind the films he makes and encourages others to work harder.

But it is being said that you do not have fond memories of the shooting and had a lot of trouble...
No...no that's completely wrong. I am rather very happy.

It's said that you and Arshad Warsi had your differences and all was not okay between you.
That's completely wrong. In fact we had a great time and there wasn't any problem between us. We both are professionals and I have known Arshad as a great actor. We have also worked earlier in HULCHUL, which was a big success and both of us had some great time working together. Why should we have problems this time! (Smiles)

And what about Amrita? You have worked with her in DEEWAR earlier.
That was long back and she was very young at that time. But she has really
"Arshad's a bad actor..."

matured over the years and has molded herself into a brilliant actress. She looks confident and has come up with a fantastic performance. Her effort shows on screen.

Tell us something about your role.
It's a hilarious film and you will enjoy every moment of it. I play a struggling assistant who wants to become a director. And in doing so everyone is trying to con the other. Arshad plays a bad actor, while Amrita is a successful actress. She is romantically linked to me in the film but is opposite Arshad in the film within the film.

So, are you happy with the way you career has shaped up since your debut given that you have done a variety of roles?
In fact I am happy the way the audiences have accepted me, the kind of films I have been able to do and remain close to the hearts of my fans. There have been such good films like GANDHI: MY FATHER, DIL CHAHTA HAI, RACE, HULCHUL and HUNGAMA. So, overall I am happy. I am still trying to do good job and keep my audiences happy.

CHECK OUT: How SHORTKUT lost its direction?

Don't you plan to work with your father someday?
Of course I do. I wish to work with him because dad is a great...great actor and I am just keeping my fingers crossed that someday...someone comes with a good script for both of us.

You have never been linked up with your actresses.
I hate that. Thankfully it never happened and I wish that doesn't happen to me any day. I am happy with the way I am.

So when do you get married?
(Smiles again). Not at the moment for sure. But as and when it happens everyone's surely going to know about that. For the time being I don't have any plans.

Casting change in Shortkut

If the original cast of "Short Kut - The Con Is On" would have remained intact, audiences would have seen Anil Kapoor playing the role that Akshaye Khanna now essays. Also, Arshad was a late entry into the project as he finally got the part written for Akshaye.
"Yes, the film did see some casting changes though all of it happened before it went on floors. Akshaye was always the first choice for the film and he was on board immediately. After 'Gandhi My Father', it was but natural that he acts in my next production as well," Anil told IANS.

But due to a couple of reasons Anil had to opt out of the project and stay on primarily as a producer.

"Originally I was supposed to do Akshaye's role and he was to do Arshad's role. It was around the same time that Subhash Ghai asked me to do 'Black & White'. I had no reason to say no since I have very high regard for him. We have worked in some wonderful movies together ('Ram Lakhan,' 'Karma', 'Taal') and with 'Black & White' we would have come together after a long time," the versatile actor said.

Around the same time, Anil's dates were also clashing with Yash Raj Films' "Tashan".

"Subhash-ji certainly wanted me in his project and requested me if I could postpone 'Shortcut' for a while. Since I couldn't do that as we were ready to kick-start our project, I proposed to move out of my own project. This is when I requested Akshaye to step into the role written for me," he said.

Considering the fact that Akshaye had made up his mind to play the role of a lovable brat, wasn't it difficult for him to have a re-look at the film with a different perspective?

"See, Akshaye is such a versatile actor that he could do well in both the roles. He has a sensitive side to him, something that I realised when I worked with him in 'Taal'. I had complete confidence that he would be convincing in the other role too," Anil said.

Roping in Arshad wasn't difficult at all. "He consented to the film immediately..."

Incidentally, Paresh Rawal too was approached for playing one of the important roles in "Shortcut".

"We would have loved to see him as a part of our film. We approached him for the role of an acting guru-cum-secretary, which is now being played by Chunky Pandey. But Paresh was bowled over by Arshad's part and wanted to do his role," Anil revealed.

"He was keen to play the role of a bad actor who achieves superstardom. Nevertheless, I'm extremely happy with the way the final casting has worked out for my film. I'm now quite positive that audiences too would find the film as funny and entertaining as we all do."

Directed by Neeraj Vora, "Shortcut" boasts of a special appearance by both Anil and Sanjay Dutt along with leading lady Amrita Rao in a dance number "Mareez-e-mohabbat". The film is all set for a July 10 release.

Very bad. Akshaye should have struck to his original role.

Akshaye prefers Amrita to Kagana

According to the latest B-town buzz, actress Kangana Ranaut was recently spotted making attempts to get Akshaye Khanna’s attention. Kangana was reportedly trying to get close to the actor when the star cast of upcoming film ‘Shortkut’ was travelling to a foreign locale on the same flight. But an oblivious Akshaye was busy catching up with none other than Amrita Rao.

Accompanying Amrita Rao, Akshaye Khanna, and Kangana Ranaut on the flight, was Farhan Akhtar.

Grapevine has it that when Akshaye and Amrita were having a fun time together, Amrita eventually fell off to sleep on the actor’s shoulder. And once the flight landed in Hong Kong, Kangana introduced herself to Akshaye as his co-star in the next Anil Kapoor film to which all that the actor said was “really”.

Poor Kangana! But we wonder what’s cooking between Akshaye and Amrita?

Hey, Kagna don't take it to heart. Akshaye is like that. Very shy which people take to be arrogance. Even Amrita felt like that during her first film with him. Its only during later part of Shortkut shooting that they opened up to each other. Same stuff happened with Priyanka. It takes him time to open up, so don't get bad feeling about this.

OTOH, I always thought if he had opened up more, Kareena would have been his girlfriend now. Stuff happens. I think many Bollywood girls like him very much but are turned off by his cool demeanor, which is just shyness.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm not SRK: Akshaye

Akshaye Khanna is quite the elusive actor, who shows up only when his films are up for release. The actor puts down his behaviour to 'ultra shyness.'

He talks to Nithya Ramani about his film, Short Kut: The Con Is On, costarring Arshad Warsi and Amrita Rao. He also tells us why he thinks he did not make it to the A-list category in spite of being in the film industry for a little more than a decade.

What is Short Kut about?

It is about two characters -- a struggling actor, who wants to be a star and a struggling writer, who wants to become a great director. It is how these two achieve their goals. They have been friends for long but cannot stand each other.

I play Shekar and Arshad plays Raju. He steals my script and becomes a superstar. But I continue my struggle to make my way on top. There is a romantic track between Shekar and Mansi (Amrita Rao).

He sometimes gets tempted to take shortcuts but believes that there are no shortcuts in life.

It's a fun, entertaining film, with excellent characterizations.

Does the film imply that we should take shortcuts in life?

The film is about life, where you always have two options in front of you. This film tells you to choose the right path always. You may get success initially [if you choose the wrong path] but it is not long lasting. If you choose the hard way, you may take time to reach the top but it is long lasting.

How was it working with director Neeraj Vora?

I have known Neeraj for a long time. He has been Priyadarshan's writer from the beginning. I have worked with Priyan for a long time now, so I know Neeraj as a great writer. He has a good eye for acting and knows how to direct an actor. By that, I mean a director is good when he can convey what he wants without saying a word.

How was it working with your co-stars Arshad Warsi and Amrita Rao?

Amrita is a very sweet girl. She is good looking, beautiful and has a great body. She looks sexy in this film, and has a glam role.

Arshad is an awesome actor. I have seen his Munnabhai series and I must say he has outdone his Circuit character. I respect Arshad in this genre. He knows his skills.

Was it fun on the sets with him?

I am not a social person. I do my work and go back. I do not interact much with others. Arshad cracks jokes but filmmaking is a very serious business. There is no place for pranks.

Have you taken any shortcuts in life?

It is suicidal to take shortcuts in our profession. The longer you are in the industry, the more experience you gain. You can't afford to take shortcuts to reach the top.

But I loved cheating during my school exams. That's the biggest shortcut I have taken.

How was it working with your co-stars Arshad Warsi and Amrita Rao?

Amrita is a very sweet girl. She is good looking, beautiful and has a great body. She looks sexy in this film, and has a glam role.

Arshad is an awesome actor. I have seen his Munnabhai series and I must say he has outdone his Circuit character. I respect Arshad in this genre. He knows his skills.

Was it fun on the sets with him?

I am not a social person. I do my work and go back. I do not interact much with others. Arshad cracks jokes but filmmaking is a very serious business. There is no place for pranks.

Have you taken any shortcuts in life?

It is suicidal to take shortcuts in our profession. The longer you are in the industry, the more experience you gain. You can't afford to take shortcuts to reach the top.

But I loved cheating during my school exams. That's the biggest shortcut I have taken.

How was it working with your co-stars Arshad Warsi and Amrita Rao?

Amrita is a very sweet girl. She is good looking, beautiful and has a great body. She looks sexy in this film, and has a glam role.

Arshad is an awesome actor. I have seen his Munnabhai series and I must say he has outdone his Circuit character. I respect Arshad in this genre. He knows his skills.

Was it fun on the sets with him?

I am not a social person. I do my work and go back. I do not interact much with others. Arshad cracks jokes but filmmaking is a very serious business. There is no place for pranks.

Have you taken any shortcuts in life?

It is suicidal to take shortcuts in our profession. The longer you are in the industry, the more experience you gain. You can't afford to take shortcuts to reach the top.

But I loved cheating during my school exams. That's the biggest shortcut I have taken.

Do you think people in the industry take shortcuts?

As far as I can think of, I don't think anybody in the industry takes shortcuts. Neeraj might have taken instances from the film industry but he would be the best person to answer.

Akshaye on Michael Jackson

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Akshaye "still considering Basra"


The Screen Best Actor in a negative role
for Race will be seen in a hilarious role in Short Kut -The Con Is On next
As evasive as the monsoon this year, Akshaye Khanna arrives an hour late for his appointment at Anil Kapoor’s office in Juhu, Mumbai. “Better late than never,” sigh the journalists with relief. But Khanna asserts that he wasn’t trying to be fashionably late, he was stuck in the never-ending traffic for over a couple of hours. The actor never likes “being driven” because he knows the city so well that he just “hates drivers”. Kneading his shoulders, he says he needs a back massage after that tiresome drive. Thankfully, instead of a back rub, he settles for a fruit plate of bananas and pineapple (not cut the way he likes it!) and parries questions.

Short Kut - The Con Is On would be the 25th film in his career that took off 12 years ago with Himalayaputra. By now, the 34-year-old actor enjoys the star-status that affords him to pick and choose his roles. Contrary to his fastidious image in filmdom, Khanna reveals, “I would work for all 365 days in a year if it were possible. I would ideally wish to have three releases every year. I don’t work just for the sake of working,” he reasons. Sure enough, Khanna lends any project requisite respectability by starring in it.

Quiz him about shortcuts that he has taken in real life and he knits his eyebrows disapprovingly to declare, “Never!!” and on second thoughts, he smiles adding, “As a school-kid whenever I missed the school bus, I would go trundling down a gully in Malabar Hill to catch up.” Wagging his finger, he advises, “Taking any shortcut is suicidal. It’s always better to work hard. Especially in the film business, if you take a shortcut you are dead. Shortcuts can turn into bad habits. Like taking steroids can be a deadly shortcut to getting a muscular physique but in the long run it will only harm your body.”

Speaking about Short Kut–The Con Is On, the remake of a Malayalam hit, he points out, “No, I don’t want to watch the original whenever I am acting in a remake. I like to approach the role my way.” This hilarious film pitches him in the role of struggling director Shekhar who is conned by his friend and actor played by Arshad Warsi. Khanna says that he always approaches roles spontaneously. “In the fourteen years that I have been in films, it’s only for the last two years that we have started getting bound scripts. So where was the question of working on the character?” he asks as a matter-of-factly. But he admits to having given a deeper thought to some challenging scenes in Gandhi My Father.

Khanna is happy that his Patli galli se nikal bhi jaa from the film is scaling the popularity charts, but he informs that Kal nau baje is his favourite number in the film, as it has a soulful quality to it. Quashing all the rumours about his “showdown” with co-star Arshad Warsi, he elaborates, “Arshad is exceptionally talented, he hits you as an actor. If not better, he is as good as he was in Munnabhai in this film.”

Amrita Rao, his love interest in the film, may have gone all hot and hip for the role in the film but it is “primarily her simplicity as an actor” that appeals to Khanna. Director Neeraj Vora wrote most of his Priyadarshan films and shares a great rapport with the actor, “He’s an extremely funny person, he will keep you in splits all the time. As a director he’s very intelligent and liberating as he lets you be and has simple suggestions that make the world of a difference to a scene,” he says.

Next month, he’s off to South Africa for Anil Kapoor’s third production No Problem. “Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Paresh Rawal and I will be in South Africa for the next two months. Anees Bazmee (director) and I worked in Deewangee earlier. So, it is like old friends gathering. We are going to have great fun,” he adds with a mischievous smile. He’s on a hattrick with Anil Kapoor Productions. “Anil Kapoor will never cast anyone because he’s friends with that person, he will cast an actor who suits the role. I am no exception,” he says. It is very easy for him to connect with Anil Kapoor because “he’s so with the times”. Khanna adds that he enjoys the company of elder people, “Most of dad’s pals are my friends and my friends’ parents are also my friends.”

Khanna is “still considering” Nikhil Advani’s production Basra. After No Problem, he pairs up with Ajay Devgan for “a serious film” with Priyadarshan.

During his days off he finds himself reading, exercising, traveling and hanging out with friends, “I want to buy a plot of land and start gardening; I like being with plants,” he adds.

For all his fastidiousness, Khanna doesn’t feel threatened by the rising competition from younger stars, “What competition? Our country doesn’t accept new faces easily. There are only about 20 actors to pick from. That’s why we don’t need any casting directors in India,”he adds with a sardonic smile. But he brushes off the allegation that he likes to work in his comfort zone with directors known to him, “Who doesn’t like to work in an enjoyable setup? But I am open to any good offers from newcomers too.”

All the pineapple chunks and bananas downed, he lights a cigarette and looks out of the window forlornly. High time he tried out marital bliss, you suggest hesitantly. Shooting a scathing look, he replies with mock seriousness, “A face-reader predicted recently that shaadi pakka in 2009! It’s such a frightening thought, pray for me,” he says.

How would he describe himself, now that it is shaadi time for him? He admits to being finicky about some things like “food, cleanliness and noise” and he hates gadgets! But he also adds, “I am a simple, boring and ultra-shy guy.” Add to that - a charming smile and oodles of histrionic talent. A pretty good catch, what?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Akshaye trying to change himself

Actor Akshaye Khanna says that he was trying his best to change his image as a moody and temperamental person to become more at peace with himself.

"I am a little moody...but certainly not snobbish as people perceive. But I am trying my best to change this image and become more at peace with myself," Akshaye told PTI in an interview.

The actor said he was not comfortable talking about his personal life.

"Maybe that is why people say I am recluse. I always talk to the media when there is a film release round the corner. Otherwise what will I speak to the people about? 'Shortkut' is releasing on July ten and I'm talking to you," he said.

Akshaye rejected speculations that he has a problem with co-star Arshad Warsi and refused to promote Shortkut with him and that producer Anil Kapoor was miffed.

"There was no problem between me and Arshad during the making of the film. We both are professionals and Arshad is a fantastic actor and has done a brilliant job in the film. Anil is like my elder brother and he would always be one for me," he said.

Akshaye said he could not attend the press conference at IIFA because he was unwell.

"Like any elder brother and producer Anil called me to check on the dates for the promotion of the film. Now if media calls that a rift between him and me then I can't help it," he said.

Speaking about Shortkut, Akshaye said he plays a struggling assistant who wants to become a successful director.

"The story is very good. I liked my role very much. Earlier Anil Kapoor was supposed to do my role and I was to do Arshad's but later Anil decided just to produce it and not get into acting," he said.

The script was first written by Anees Bazmi and then re-written by Neeraj Vora, he said adding that both the writers are genius at comedy.

"So I was assured that the film is going to be hillarious," Akshaye said.

He said comedy is difficult because you need to look as natural as possible in front of the camera.

"You cannot overact or look expressionless...the scene will fall flat otherwise," he said.

"Even if the comedy is over the top, it should come across as a natural act and should not look forced. Now that's a task...if you achieve it, you do a good job," he said.

Referring to the comedies he has done so far, Akshaye said comedy has been situational for all his characters in comedies.

"I prefer doing a comedy that everybody in the family can watch together," he said.

The actor who has portrayed negative characters in Abbas Mustan's films like Race, Humraaz and also acted in comedy films like Hulchul, Hungama as well as an unusual performance in Gandhi-my father, says he looks for creative satisfaction while doing a film.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Neeraj Vohra on Akshaye


From Akshay Kumar to Akshaye Khanna
you seem to have an AK fixation
Add Anil Kapoor to the list (laughs). I have already worked with Akshaye in the capacity of writer in films like Hungama and Hulchul . So we knew each other pretty well and clicked off instantly. He is pretty comfortable at comedy.



What’s the truth behind stories of Akshaye Khanna and Arshad Warsi not being on good terms?
I believe they gel very well. They have recently shot for a photo and channel shoot for the film so how could there be any trouble between the two? In the film, they two are pitted against each other and want to get even. Through out the shooting they both were at other ends and had their own approach to prepare for the scene. Perhaps that’s how the media has misconstrued them to be at loggerheads.

Akshaye's interview

Even though he is the proverbial 'star-son', he has achieved whatever he has, on his own merit. Even though his debut film gave Bollywood its answer to Tom Cruise, he is yet to make it to the 'Numero Uno' slot, something that he makes no qualms about. He is none other than the suave and sexy Akshaye Khanna, whose sex appeal lies in his smile, a fact that will be 'justified' by million of fans worldwide.

After having garnered rave reviews and critical acclaim in his last film Gandhi My Father, this debonair man is back. This time with a comic caper called Short Kut - The Con Is On. Bollywood Hungama caught up with this actor for an exclusive interview. Excerpts of the same:

Akshaye, to start with, why such a long gap from Mere Baap Pehle Aap to now Short Kut - The Con Is On? Was it intentional to stay out of the media glare or did it just happen?
Basically, the film business is not about any one person's schedule. It's about lots of people coming together, which only means that it's not in your hands to control the number of releases that you have in your hands. It's not the case with just one actor, it happens with most of the actors.

To top it all, the recession factor has affected the film industry in a very bad way. As you know, there are so many films in the last 6-7 months have either been shut down or have been postponed. Even a couple of films of mine which were supposed to start at the beginning of this year, have been scrapped due to various reasons. I myself have not faced the camera for almost 6 months now!

Short Kut The Con Is On is essentially a slice of life kind of film What is Short Kut - The Con... all about? And what's your role in it?
Short Kut - The Con Is On is essentially a slice of life kind of film, based on essentially two characters. There are times in life when we have to choose between two routes. One of which is a shortcut- the easy way, while the other requires more efforts and struggles. The film's characters also face the same dilemma.

One is Raju (played by Arshad Warsi), who is playing a struggling actor and who wants to become a star. He bluffs his way out of trouble and comes across as a good for nothing harmless fellow. Arshad, who is majorly known for his out and out comedy, brings out a dark edginess to this loud mouthed character. On the other hand, I play Shekhar, a struggling writer-director, who has been an assistant director for years and hopes to make it big one day, like anybody else does. I have this quiet yet intense, immensely talented yet low key kind of role. Shekhar's value system is sound and his fundas in life are very clear - come what may, there are no short cuts to success. And if you have a dream, protect it.

One of the main reasons for me to say yes to this film was the fact that it was being written by Anees Bazmee and Neeraj Vora, two of the best writers in Bollywood As for the film, it is set against Bollywood as its backdrop. And the Bollywood factor is very integral to the script because the characters are from the film industry. The film is basically about the choices that one often has to make in life, be it in work or even relationships. The film is treated in a fun and entertaining manner and is not at all a serious film, by any stretch of imagination. How these two characters go about achieving their goals and ambitions in a fun way is what the film is all about.

You are one actor who is not known for rushing into things and signing the dotted lines. So, what was it so exceptional about Short Kut that made you sign the film?
Let's not use the word 'exceptional' or any such superlatives. It's always the script that has drawn me towards it. You just can't have a great script but a lousy director or is being produced by someone who is not capable of releasing the film. These are also important issues. But, as I told earlier, for me, it's the script that comes first, then the role, followed by many other factors.

I think that people will love and remember Arshad for his role in Short Kut. As far as Short Kut is concerned, it was definitely the script, followed by my role. Also, one of the main reasons for me to say yes to this film was the fact that it was being written by Anees Bazmee and Neeraj Vora, two of the best writers in the industry in the genre of 'masala' films and comedy. It was an exceptional opportunity for anybody associated with this film as these two names were coming together for the first time. It's also very difficult for such a thing to happen again.

You have the Master comedian Arshad Warsi as your co-star in Short Kut. How was it working with him?
If you take his filmography, then, one would say that he would always be remembered for his role of 'Circuit'. But, in my opinion, the role that he has done in Short Kut is at par with that of his role of 'Circuit'. And I think that people will love and remember him in this film.

Amrita Rao is a very lovely and a hard working girl, whom I would call as 'original actress' Akshaye, you are known more for your serious roles. Was it easy or difficult to match up to the antics of Arshad?
Not at all. Actually, the fact remains that working with actors who are the best at what they are always is a plus point to those who are working with them. It just does not 'take' away anything from you, on the contrary it 'gives' something which a bad or inexperienced actor will never give. Arshad is definitely someone to watch out for in this film.

In Short Kut, you have been paired opposite Amrita Rao. How is she as a co-star and how has been your equation with her?
She is a very lovely and a hard working girl. What I like about her is that she doesn't try to copy anybody or be somebody else. She is someone whom I would call as an 'original actress' and essentially a very sweet girl to work with. In other words, she is very simple and not at all complicated.

Amrita has always carried the 'girl next door' image with her. If the promos of Short Kut are anything to go by, then, it seems that she has moved notches ahead to drop this image. What's your take on the same?
I know that this is the first film in which she has been glamorized and shown in a very different way like never before. She has done it really well. She has worked really hard. I enjoyed every moment of me working with her and am looking forward to work with her in the future too. I think that she has got a great future.


Click above for more movie stills
How has the music of the film evolved? Which is your favorite track from the film and for what reasons?
I am a huge fan of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy ever since I 'discovered' their music in Dil Chahta Hai. Ever since, every track of theirs was a masterpiece for me, be it Salaam-E-Ishq, Kal Ho Na Ho, Lakshya. All of their albums were outstanding. And as far as the music of Short Kut is concerned, I don't think that any of their fans will be even remotely disappointed with it. They have really given us an exceptionally rich album. Like most of their albums, this album too, I feel will stay fresh for a long time.

And my favourite track in the film is the romantic 'Kal Nau Naje' that has been picturised on me and Amrita. It's a beautiful melody and I think that its one of the best songs that I have been fortunate to have in my career.

In real life, you have always been a 'mover and shaker'. But how much of a Short Kut's Shekhar are you?
Frankly speaking, I do not identify with any of my characters in any of my films.

What are the locations the film has been shot?
The film has been shot primarily in Mumbai and one stint in Thailand.

Any memorable incidents while shooting the film?
Whatever kind of film, be it comedy or action, it's a serious business, which means pure hard work and concentration. Which is why, the entire filmmaking experience becomes a memorable incident in itself.

The entire filmmaking experience becomes a memorable incident in itself Have you, at any point in life, taken any 'Short-Kuts' to success?
Not that I can think of, especially in the kind of business that I am in. Taking shortcuts is suicidal. That's why I can clearly say that I have never taken any shortcuts to success, even though lots of people feel that star-sons always have a natural short-cut into Bollywood. This is a notion that prevails in majority of the public's minds, something that just cannot be changed.

To all such people, I have time and again, cited the example of a carpenter who wants his son to become a carpenter too. In such cases, all that he can do is to present his son with his set of tools and clients. At the end of the day, 'only' if the son makes proper utilization of these 'inheritances', can his business survive, else, the business will be doomed. The same applies for star-sons too!

Taking shortcuts in my profession is suicidal What's your take on the multiplexes issue that had got the entire industry to standstill? Do you feel that this could have been avoided?
It's very difficult for me to comment on this issue as I have not been following the intricacies of this debate closely, whatever arguments they had to sort out between them. So, I am not in a position to give an accurate comment in the same.

Have you been approached for Qurbani's remake?
No. I haven't been.

I haven't been approached for Qurbani's remake Despite the number of years in the industry, you still have to make it to the top slot. What's your take on that?
I believe that everybody has got their own destiny. And, as an actor, one tries to do the best in every film and in whatever way possible. And then it's up to God, the audiences and one's destiny what happens after that!

Are there any surprise elements (cameos) that will surprise the audiences in Short Kut?
As the promos depict, all the characters of this film have been revealed. All in all, it's a very transparent film.

Lastly, what is the status of your forthcoming films?
I will be starting Anees Bazmee's No Problems next month, which should be out early next year. Then, there's an untitled film with Priyadarshan which has me and Ajay Devgan in it and is being produced by Ajay himself.

Directorsaab

My directors have not slotted me: Akshaye

Give us an idea about Shorkut.
The story of Shortkut is basically a film revolving between the lives of two characters- Arshad Warsi and mine. We are both part of the film industry. Arshad is a struggling actor and he wants to become a star at any cost. And I am playing the character of a struggling writer and director, who wants to make his film one day and he is someone who is very honest, hard working doesn’t believe in taking all the shortcuts in the life. So it’s the story of a journey of two people within the film industry. And their personal journey and how the journeys come together. And the hilarious situations that arise out of that.

How often do you take a shortcut in life? Since you live in the town area, and travel to the suburbs, is there a shortcut you have discovered for shooting schedule as well?
I am awaiting the Bandra- Worli sealink to open up for me to find a shorcut.

Shortkut is the second film with Anil Kapoor as a producer. What's your rapport like with him?
I and Anil don’t share a relationship of producer and actor, we are very good friends. I think a producer and an actor sometimes shares a very formal relationships. Both being careful that they should not hurt each others feelings. Unlike that, we are friends first.

What was the experience like, working with Arshad Warsi?
The thing is Arshad is a great actor he is a master in comedy like Munnabhai and all his comedy films. He has that element of comedy. He suits this character so well and he has done it so well.

Which kind of roles you are comfortable with? Negative roles such as in Race or comedian parts such as in Hulchal?
In my career I have done all kinds of roles. I have played the character of a romantic actor, serious, all kinds of characters I am comfortable in. My directors and producers have not slotted me. They keep offering me different roles, not every actor gets an opportunity to do different roles. Because writers don’t even think in a certain way. But with me I have been very fortunate with my directors and writers because they constantly see me in different shades. This is very lucky for me.

Amrita Rao has an all new sexy image in this film Was that a surprise for you too?
She is playing an actress and is very famous. As far as I can remember she has not done such a glamorous character in any film so far. She is looking very glamorous and good in it. She is a very sweet, simple girl. It was very much a pleasure to work with her.

Any plus points about the music of the film?
I think it is outstanding. Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy, they have done a very good job. Very often you get a good song but rarely do you get a good album. I think this music will last for some time. “Kal nau baje” is my favorite track, it’s a romantic number and its very nice.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Akshaye- Ajay-Priyadarshan thriller called "Smile"?

It's that time of the year when Akshaye Khanna emerges from his cocoon to talk to the media. His next film Short Kut: The Con is On releases next month. The otherwise reclusive actor is in a mood to chat today and admits that he’s had to make that extra bit of effort. “I’m not much of a public relations guy. People often misconstrue this for attitude but I’m not comfortable reading about myself in the papers every morning. And partying is out of the question since a room full of people makes me nervous as hell,” he says with sincere candour.

His only release this year Short Kut comes after the 2008 blockbuster Race and his brooding laugh-a-minute apperance in Zoya Akhtar’s Luck by Chance where he played himself. When reminded, he laughs a hearty one, adding, “Oh yes, that was a good one. But then, I can do anything for Zoya. I’ve known her since Dil Chahta Hai days when she was a baby.”

Associations seem to play a big role in the 35-year-old’s life. His last film, Mere Baap Pehle Aap, was his third with Priyadarshan and will be followed by Smile, co-starring Ajay Devgan. After the success of Race, Khanna has signed up for Anees Bazmee’s No Problem which goes on floors this year-end. And with Short Kut, he will have featured in both the films under Anil Kapoor Productions banner. But the actor denies his friendship as being the sole reason for his having done Short Kut. “Anil is a good friend but that aside, he’s also a responsible filmmaker and his first duty is to let the casting for his movie be fair and sound,” he justifies.

However, in the film he plays a struggling filmmaker who acts quite contrary to the viewpoint Khanna has just expressed. “The film uses Bollywood as the backdrop and while I play a writer-director, Arshad (Warsi) is a struggling actor and both of us are ready to adopt any means to become successful,” he explains. But Khanna makes it clear that unlike the usual spoofs on the industry, this one doesn’t subscribe to stereotypes. “It’s an entertainer and brings together two of the industry’s best writers — Neeraj Vohra and Anees Bazmee.”

His intense Siddharth Sinha act in Dil Chahta Hai redefined his career as an actor, but Khanna has on his profile a fair bit of comic acts. So we ask him if that’s where he has established his niche. But the question ticks him off. “You need to merely look at the work I’ve done and you’ll have your answer,” he quips. “If I did just comedy, it would be extremely restricting and get very boring. I am not choosing comedy over anything else in fact, I am no more picky than anyone else in the industry, I just choose the best of what I get offered,” says the actor.

Clearing rumors

Akshaye Khanna first refused to promote his upcoming film ‘Shortkut- The Con is on’. However the reclusive actor denied these reports, “Who wouldn’t want to promote their own films?”

The actor has even put the rumours to rest about his rift with co-star Arshad Warsi. According to Akshaye, performance of Arshad’s is on par with the Munna Bhai series and is all praises for his co-star.

As for the other friendship with producer Anil Kapoor, Akshaye thinks since there aren’t many friends in the Bollwyood industry itself, it’s surprising that he and Anil bond very well. So much so that Anil Kapoor made his debut as a producer with Akshaye in it followed by ‘Shorkut’ and even his next film with an ensemble cast will feature his buddy.

Akshaye is also all for his other co-star Amrita Rao’s new look in the film. According to him Amrita who has been given girl next door looks in most of her films, sizzles in this one. And he thinks this film will help change the typecast Amrita has been fitted into.

Well, with Salman choosing Arshad over Akshaye to promote Shortkut, we wonder if it upsets Akshaye Khanna to play a second fiddle to Arshad.

Akshaye loves 24

Akshay Khanna is an ardent viewer of the western thriller serial ‘24’. His best friend, Anil Kapoor, has been roped in to play a part in this popular serial and it seems Akshay is green about it but at the same time he is very much proud that Anil has received the offer. Akshay excitedly said, “If I had my way, I’d leave everything behind and sit with Anil on the sets in Los Angeles.” But the actor is not comfortable with the location and instead, prefers New York, citing Los Angeles as “too wide, too impersonal.”

Akshay had delivered a fine performance as Harilal Gandhi in ‘Gandhi My Father’ which was produced by Anil Kapoor. The duo was last seen together in the movie ‘Race’ and before that in ‘Taal’. And now they will back together in Neeraj Vora’s ‘Shortkut - The Con’, also produced by Anil Kapoor.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A film with dad

Akshaye Khanna shared screen space with his dad Vinod Khanna in his debut film "Himalay Putra" 12 years ago.

The actor is now longing to act with the veteran thespian once again.

"I would love to (act with my father). Dad is a superb actor and my idol. At the moment there is no project in the pipeline... let's hope somebody would come to us with a fantastic script that would do justice to him as an actor," Akshaye told IANS in an email interview.

The actor, who has done hit films like "Border", "Taal", "Dil Chahta Hai" and "Hungama" among others, is ready with his first release of the year "Short Kut - The Con Is On", an Anil Kapoor production.

Talking about his role in the film that also stars Arshad Warsi and Amrita Arora in pivitol roles, Akshaye said he plays the role Anil was slated to essay.

"I'm playing a struggling assistant who wants to become a successful director. Earlier Anil was supposed to do my role and I was to do Arshad's but later he decided just to produce it and not to get into acting," he said.

"The script was first written by Anees Bazmi and then rewritten by Neeraj Vora, both geniuses at comedy. So I was assured that the film is going to be hilarious," said the actor, who is known to have great comic timing.

"Short Kut" is Akshaye's second film with Anil Kapoor as producer, the first one being the critically-acclaimed "Gandhi My Father". Asked about his camaraderie with the actor-producer, Akshaye said Anil is like an elder brother to him.

"Anil is like my elder brother. It was great working with him once again. It was almost like working for my own production house. What I like the best about him is that he puts his soul behind the films he makes and that encourages everyone to work harder," Akshaye said.

So how easy is it to carry off a comedy?

"I'm very comfortable with comedy, although doing comedy is very tough because it should come naturally to you when you are in front of the camera and (it) should not look forced. If the act looks forced, it would get translated on screen and people won't enjoy watching it. You have to try all the more hard to look natural on screen," said the 34-year-old who has no plans for marriage in the near future.

The actor has two projects lined up.

"I am doing a film again with Anil kapoor titled 'No Problem'. It is directed by Anees Bazmi and then a thriller with Priyadarshan which is based on a report that had appeared in a newspaper some time ago."

So how does he look back at the 12 years in the film industry?

"I am happy with whatever I have got professionally. I am happy that the industry and people have accepted me as an actor. No regrets as such. You learn from what you do. I am still learning," he said.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happily Unmarried

He’s often accused of being too reserved to be in the entertainment business, and Akshaye Khanna testifies that all the accusations levelled against him are with good reason. “I’m an unhealthily shy person. I’m hardly media savvy — even when I read about myself in the newspapers, I feel extremely uncomfortable,” he confesses.

And considering the recent controversy regarding a supposed tiff with co-star Arshad Warsi, he must’ve seen a lot of himself in the news. “There is absolutely no truth in it. Arshad was unwell and couldn’t attend one of the press conferences, that’s how it all started. But we have great chemistry,” he clarifies.

Embarrassed
There was also news doing the rounds that he had skipped receiving his award at IIFA because of a grudge against Warsi. Akshaye explains that the truth is far less controversial and far more embarrassing. “I’ll tell you, but it’s embarrassing. I was there in the audience. Unfortunately, my tummy was upset because of something I had in the afternoon. But since I had promised Sonam I would attend her performance, I sat there with much difficulty.

Afterwards, I couldn’t bear it and I rushed to my room’s loo, which took me almost 20 minutes considering how big the hotel was. By the time I got back, my award was over. I realised that if I go now, I’ll just look stupid. So, I just went back to my room,” he says.

Knot right now
Akshaye confesses that marriage is nowhere on the cards. “My friend forced me to see a palmist who told me that by year end, I would definitely be married. Since then, I’ve been getting nightmares. Pray for me that it doesn’t come true. Who wants to get married?” he quips.

The actor, who features in the upcoming film Short Kut, says that although the film is all about the quick way to success, taking a shortcut in his profession “can be suicidal”. “The film business is extremely cruel. Sometimes talented people aren’t given their due while others rise to the top. But, if you want to enter the industry you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically,” he says. As for himself, he’s quick to add, “life has been more than fair to me”.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shortkut Website Captures




Going clean

The handsome and gifted Akshaye Khanna has seemingly followed in the footsteps of his colleagues, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor and Suniel Shetty - he's gone clean!

If a still [attached] from the slow and scintillating Kal Nau Baje song from his forthcoming comedy, SHORTKUT, is anything to go by, sexy Khanna has gotten rid of his hirsute chest to reveal a more defined physique.

Have a look!

SHORTKUT releases worldwide on 10th July by Indian Films - Studio 18.

why didn't he?

Read somewhere that Akshaye wanted to do Arshad's role in Shortkut. Why didn't he? This is a remake of Bowfinger and does anyone think that the movie belongs to Steve Martin, and not to Eddie Murphy?

Amrita looks sexy--Akshaye

Akshaye Khanna has shed all that excess flab and is ready to roll with an interesting line up of films. As he gets set to start work on Anil Kapoor's multistarrer No Problem, his latest film Shortkut - The Con Is On is all set to hit the theatres. A man of few words, Akshaye opens up in an interview to Buzz18.com.
In most of your films you have either played the bad guy or they have been comedies. What comes naturally to you?

I think acting comes naturally to me. Whether it's a comedy, thriller or a drama, it makes no difference to me. As long as I am on a film set, I am happy. The genre is secondary.
'Underrated' is a word that's often associated with you. Do you think you deserved more in Bollywood?
Actually, everybody gets what they deserve. We all have our destiny and life has its own way of giving you what you deserve. A lot of people ask me if I have got my due. My answer is, 'Yes I have'. As an actor what I can do are - be professional, be fit, try and work with the best people… After that it's up to the audiences.
Do you think shortcuts work in this industry. And like your character, have you ever been at the receiving end of somebody else trying to upstage you?
I have never been at the receiving end. But I think the only shortcut that people think I have used is that I am a star kid. The general feeling is that star kids get an undue advantage. Of course we do. I can't deny that. But it's a god gifted short cut. Otherwise I think in my line of work it is suicidal to use shortcuts. The more effort you put, the more time you devote your craft, the results will be better.
You play a writer-director in Shortkut. Have you ever thought of venturing into filmmaking?
Never say never. But right now I don't have an interest in either. I don't have that thing in me that 'one day I will make my own film'. So as of today I don't think I will ever make a film.

You seem to have become Anil Kapoor Film Company's inhouse hero. What's the secret behind this rapport, considering you haven't done too many films with Anil. You aren't even of the same age?
What can I say! We did Taal. But Anil's a great friend. However, having said that I can assure you that Anil will never cast anyone just because of friendship. I am very clear about that. Tomorrow if he thinks someone else can do a better job he doesn't have to cast me just because we are friends.

We are hearing stories about your tiff with Arshad…

Let's not get into that.

Let me rephrase. In comedies, is there a tendency among co-stars to try and overshadow each other with spontaneous lines?

I am not good with that. Arshad is great with improvising on the set. I improvise a bit here and there in other films. But in comedy I rely on the written word and my director. You see some people add to a scene by improvising while some ruin it. Arshad is among those who improves it.

You are still perceived by most as a media shy guy…

I am not media shy. It's just that I am essentially…not even shy; I would say 'ultra shy'.

But is there a wild side to you, which fans haven't seen?

Like all of us I enjoy hanging out with friends and family. But I am not into doing anything wild or crazy.
Amrita's got a very glamorous look in the film unlike Vivah. What do you think of her?

I think she should do more stuff like Shortkut. She's looks sexy. Because she's got the body and the face that doesn't make her look out of place. Such a look suits her. It comes naturally to her. I think she also enjoyed doing something she hasn't done before. I feel we'll see a lot more of this Amrita in the future.

We are still waiting for the three Khannas to come together in one film. Why doesn't one of you take charge of making it possible?

It's because we haven't come across a script, which would absorb all three of us. Also it's not something that's playing on our heads.

Shortkut Dialog Promo 1