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.


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.

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

Shortkut stills 4

More and more, it does look like an Arshad Warsi movie, doesn't it?


Salman refuses to haveAkshaye on his show

Salman Khan believes in having his way. For the promotion of Anil Kapoor’s Short Kut, the episode was scheduled to feature Akshaye Khanna and Khan thought that Akshaye will be boring on the show. So, he insisted on having Arshad Warsi instead of Akshaye to make the show interesting.

A source said, “The distributor had spoken to the channel to have Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna on the show. Everything went as per plan until Salman came up with the suggestion that Arshad Warsi and not Akshaye Khanna should be on the show with Salman Khan. Going by the promos of the film and Akshaye’s serious image, Salman thought that Akshaye cannot add enough spice to the show. Since Anil and Salman are good friends, Anil was okay with Salman’s suggestions. The dates of Anil and Arshad are now being worked out for the show.”

Preeti Shahani of Indian Films did not deny our story but diplomatically said, “We are still in the discussion and negotiations stage with the channel. We are yet to come to any conclusion.”

Hopefully, Akshaye will have a sense of humour about this and prove Salman wrong.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shortkut song trailer--Kal nau Baje

Akshaye is amazing in this video. While still not perfect as he could be, he's getting there. Now, Akshoo, please maintain yourself in this form. Don't go to seed again.

Akshaye back in action

If Imran Khan hasn’t shot for five months,
Akshaye Khanna hasn’t faced a camera in six months. His last release, a dud —Priyadarshan’s Mere Baap Pehle Aap — was a year ago. The year 2008 also saw him in the thriller Race and the sublime Gandhi My Father, a film that didn’t set the box office on fire.

Hits and flops aside, the charming, but temperamental Akshaye still calls the shots in Bollywood because in a room full of bozos who pose as stars, his talent shines through. And so what is this star son doing now?

He is all set to rock the screen in his role in another Anil Kapoor production called—Shortkut-The Con Is on. Puffing hard at his cigarette he says, “Shortkut... has a very nice, strong story. It is not one of those nonsensical comedies where characters attempt buffoonery to get laughs. It is a small film with a big heart.’’

He candidly admits that the six-month sabbatical that he was forced into at the start of 2009 is because of the global recession and the multiplex strike.

Says the actor, “Hindi film industry’s fortunes are directly connected to that of the world finance markets. Two of my films got cancelled.’’ However now that the tide is changing, the reclusive actor will do two films back to back.

The first is Anees Bazmee’s No Problem with Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Suniel Shetty and Kangna Ranaut that will be shot extensively in South Africa this July. And the second is a thriller with Priyadarshan where he plays a CBI officer. The film is based on report that had appeared in The Times of India newspaper.

Asked if star sons get shortcuts into Bollywood, he says, “Of course we are privileged. But someone can only open a door for you. Once you are in the room, you’re alone. Then, you have got to fend for yourself.’’

He concedes that Bollywood is a mom-pop industry, and he feels that it is legitimate for the outsider to think that children of the industry have incalculable advantages. “There is a lot of envy, there is a lot of flak that we as children of the industry get for what we may have achieved or not achieved. We’re under constant surveillance.’’

Popping a piece of pineapple into his mouth, he says, “The reason why Bollywood doesn’t have a casting agent is because there are just 20 actors to choose from. Each year so many girls/boys make their debut, but such few get accepted.’’

He’s happy that he’s in an enviable place, and he’s also happy that he has found a true friend in the much older Anil Kapoor. “What’s age got to do with friendship?’’ he wonders. And says, “If you can describe Anil in one sentence it would be — he is young at heart.” He defends his good friend’s jumping around at the Oscar ceremony saying, “People criticised him for that. Honestly I thought Anil was so endearing.”

His friends aside, Akshaye also has made his share of foes according to the grapevine. Reports have it that he made a snide remark when he heard that young actors like Emraan Hashmi were charging remuneration as high as four crore. The buzz is that Akshaye in his usual sarcastic manner said: “If Emraan charges four crore, then I should be charging much more.’’

“Never,’’ he says, shaking his head vigorously. “I would never say anything derogatory about another actor even in my sleep.’’ Flashing his famous smile he says, “You can check the records. In 14 years, I have never made a nasty remark about any of my colleagues.’’ Of course as always the media is to blame for the gossip circulated!

Which two films have got cancelled? Hope its not Basra and Chandbhai. Could be One way Ticket and the Raj Santoshi movie that never got off. Just hope his current projects No Problem, Basra, Chand Bhai n the Priyadarshan movie are alive.
PS: Yeah, Voice from the Sky could be one of the two. Good catch.

Anil blasts Akshaye?

Good pals Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna recently had a round of "heated discussions". Anil, sources say, called up Akshaye and really blasted him on the phone for not promoting his home production in which Akshaye is a hero.

"Akshaye is hardly around to promote Shortkut -- The Con Is On, which is Anil's home production. Apparently, Akshaye had a difference of opinion with Arshad (Warsi) and he was not attending any promotional event which Arshad was attending. His standard excuse was that he was feeling unwell. After two occasions, we had to bring this to Anil's notice and he was obviously miffed," says a member of the production team.

This was when Anil reacted and decided to call up Akshaye and blast him. "That a film has to be promoted is clearly stated in the contract of the actors. If an actor is not doing that then he is obviously not honouring the contract. So, Anil reminded him of that clause and told him that it is also Akshaye's responsibility to promote the film," the source added.

DNA got in touch with Anil who's in LA, and he admitted that he had made the call but played it down saying that he keeps in touch with his actors for the promotions because he is not around to promote the film.

"I am in touch with all my artistes on a regular basis and I keep guiding and advising the entire team as this is for the time that I am not around during the release of the production," says Kapoor.

Though Akshaye was not available for comment, sources close to the actor confirmed that he had "a heated discussion" with Anil regarding the promotion of the film and post the screaming session, will now be seen at some of the promotional events.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shortkut stills 4

Akshaye, Amrita duet in Shortkut

They say that 'There is no shortcut to success'. But Akshaye Khanna and Arshad Warsi are here to change this equation in their forthcoming film Short Kut - The Con is On. The film stars the whole battalion of stars including the likes of Akshaye Khanna, Arshad Warsi, Amrita Rao, Simi Garewal, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor and Chunky Pandey amongst others. The film has got its lovely music composed by the talented trio of Shankar- Ehsaan- Loy.

Talking about the music, the album has got four songs. Of all the songs, there is this track called 'Kal Nau Baje' which happens to be the only romantic number in the film. While the song is picturised on the 'suddenly-so-sexy' Amrita Rao and Akshaye Khanna, it has been shot at the exotic location of Phuket islands. Well, the story doesn't end there. According to reliable sources from the film, the cast and crew used to travel for a whopping two hours to reach the middle of the ocean to shoot for the song! Not just that, their vanity vans were replaced by yachts while shooting in the sea and they used to commute in a tiny speedboat from the shore to the location.

One just hopes that all of this hard work should get translated into success for everyone associated with this film. After all, someone has rightly said that 'There is no Short Kut to success', we mean...shortcut!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Akshaye's in his element in Shortkut

He's lost a bunch of weight, his wardrobe is better than ever, he's dancing again like he did in Himalayputra, looking like he's in Doli and his comic timing seems to be bang on.

Akshaye is naturally lazy, so he needs someone who can put his foot down and demand that Akshaye be fit and be in his element. Fortunately, Anil is just the mentor Akshaye needed. Thanks Anil.

Of course, with his natural beauty and talent, much more can be done but I am happy that this is not proving to another turkey like MBPA when it comes to Akshaye.

The Making of Patli Galli

Shortkut second song trailer

It looks as if Akshaye is guesting in an Arshad Warsi movie.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No Akshaye, Arshad rift

Just the fact that stories of a reported rift between co-stars is unheard of throughout the making of the film & just when its release is round the corner, things start turning sour between them gets the funny man furious. We hear, now Arshad Warsi is irritated with the rumours that all is not well between him and Akshaye Khanna, his co-star in SHORTKUT - THE CON IS ON

Also regarding the promotion of SHORTKUT at IIFA , the actor clears the air around Akshaye and him not being seen together on a common platform because it seems Warsi was severely jetlagged, having travelled from New York to Macau & thus couldn't make it.

Maybe he's targeted because he is mostly seen in multihero projects like the unnecessary bad blood created between him and John Abraham during DHAN DHANA DHAN GOAL. But then single hero projects can be dangerous enough, to get linked with the leading lady. What's better Arshad?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Akshaye in Race sequel?

There’s good news for Kareena Kapoor who managed to bag the most glamorous jodi award with beau Saif right under John-Bipasha’s nose at a recent awards show. Apparently director Abbas-Mustan have turned to Kareena to star in their sequel to last year’s hit Race and not Bipasha Basu.
In fact, only Katrina will make a return to the female cast of the sequel to the original thriller. Word is that Sameera will also be replaced by the more happening Deepika Padukone. The directors were initially keen on getting Priyanka to complete the casting coup of sorts, by having the top three actresses of today’s times — Bebo, Katrina and Priyanka — in their film. But Priyanka wasn’t interested, and they had to settle for Deepika. The heroes in the film remain the same, and it’s surprising to see the directors retaining Akshaye Khanna who was miffed with them for giving Saif a better deal during the film’s promotions.
Looks like all’s forgotten in the Race to the box-office.

If Katrina is coming in Race 2, why not Akshaye? This news is different from all the other stories, so take it with a grain of salt.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Akshaye doesn't collect award

Akshaye Khanna was in attendance at a recently concluded international awards to promote his coming film ShortKut The Con Is On but he was missing for all the events related to the film.

That's not all. He was present at the award ceremony but didn't go up on the stage to collect the award when his name was announced (For Race in the Best Actor in A Negative Role category).

Strange behaviour

A source present at the venue says in a surprised tone, "Khanna's behaviour was rather strange. He has been to award shows abroad earlier but never has he acted like this. He not only neglected the promotional event for his upcoming film but also failed to pick up an award the next night at the awards ceremony."

Disappearing act

Anil Kapoor, the producer of ShortKut specially flew down from the States where he is shooting for the American television show 24, to unveil the first promo of the film at the function. The organisers flew in Amrita Rao, Arshad Warsi and other cast members of the film.

But when the time came to promote the film, the Indian and international press kept waiting for Khanna, who went MIA for no apparent reason. The source continues, "When his name was announced for an award, Khanna was found missing from his seat.

Anil Kapoor picked up his award instead. It was later discovered that he had already left the building."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

IIFA video

Some IIFA footage of Akshaye? I could not get the video to work.

Designed by Akshaye

Apparently, it was this suit that was self-tailored by Akshaye. Nice suit. We're impressed. This site has more info on fashions in Shortkut.

PS: It doesn't matter how good the designer is, the clothes won't look good until you work on your body. Akshoo, are you listening? There's no need for that beer belly.

Arshad hates Akshaye?

They might be starring together in the upcoming film SHORTKUT-THE CON IS ON, but it's reported that Akshaye Khanna and Arshad Warsi cannot stand each other in real life.

Buzz is that the two actors made all efforts not to bump into each other during a recent event much to the surprise of the people gathered there.

It's learnt that the actors who shared great chemistry in their earlier film HULCHUL have developed cold vibes since Akshaye tries to hog all the limelight in his projects. This fact has not gone down well with Arshad , who's making all attempts to avoid his co-star.

With the two on a mission to snub each other, we wonder what Anil Kapoor, the producer of SHORTKUT will be going through.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Cast of No Problem

Anil Kapoor is acting in his home-production… finally. In his first two films – ‘Gandhi My Father’ and ‘Shortkut’ - the actor was merely the producer, not the actor. "That's because there was no role for me in those two films," Anil tells me, "Why should I force myself in a project, even if it's produced by me? If the director feels he needs to cast someone else, someone who suits the role more than I do, I wouldn't hesitate one bit. In fact, I've never ever forced myself even in films produced by my father or brother."

But there's a role for Anil in his next home-production ‘No Problem’. This one stars Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna and Anil himself in principal roles. "Akshaye has starred in all my productions so far. He's a wonderful artiste," Anil says. Reportedly, Anil has signed three leading ladies for the film - Bipasha Basu, Kangna Ranaut and Neetu Chandra.

Akshaye's secret passion

They are known for their acting skills, but Hrithik Roshan and Akshaye Khanna also have some talents that the world knows little about - singing and dress designing!

Hrithik mesmerised all and sundry with his singing and Akshaye surprised guests with his designing skills at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards extravaganza that concluded in the Chinese town of Macau on Saturday.

Hrithik sang "Tere jaisa yaar kahaan..." at an impromptu 'antakshari' music session conducted by actor Boman Irani, while Akshaye came dressed in his own creation - a formal suit.

"If I actually tell you who has designed my outfit, you will get a shock - it's me," Akshaye told IANS. "Actually, I have a passion for tailoring which many people don't know about. So it's just one of my designs," he added.

Anil Kapoor, who is producing Akshaye-starrer Shortkut: The Con Is On, vouched for the latter's creativity in fashion. "He (Akshaye) is very good at it, but very expensive," he quipped.

Is that why his wardrobes are usually so awful? /sarc

Monday, June 15, 2009

Akshaye at IIFA

Fashion Advice

Akshaye looks much better in Shortkut than he did in MBPA. His wardrobe is also much nicer. A few simple suggestions to look even more dazzling:

Avoid tucking T-Shirts.
Avoid V-necks, stick to roundnecks.
Avoid wearing overalls.
Avoid wearing hats n caps.
Work on your tummy. Needs to be flatter.
Work out better hairstyles (like in your Humraaz days).
Work on your legs. They are too thin.

Shortkut wallpapers 2

Shortkut stills 3

The Gang at IIFA

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Amrita teaches Akshaye

Here’s what Amrita Rao did when she was stranded in the middle of Phuket Islands with her Shortkut: The Con is On co-star Akshaye Khanna.

The actress started entertaining him and even taught him to flex his vocal chords. All this happened when the duo had to do a romantic scene on a bamboo tree on the island. The crew was on a separate yacht which, however, ran out of fuel leaving the actors stranded. And much to the amusement of the crew, Amrita kept Akshaye so occupied that he even learnt a couple of songs from her. Akshaye was also overheard telling the crew members how versatile the actress is. Guess it’s small incidents like these that can really shape up into a good friendship, Akshaye is now one of Amrita’s ‘very good friends’.

This is kinda cute n romantic. They look good together.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shorkut Promo

Akshaye is damn sexy in this one. Movie looks fun too.

Shortkut stills

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Akshaye on Hi Blitz Cover

From November 2006 issue. If you find scans of this issue and article, please send me a link. God knows how much material we've missed because I don't keep tabs on film magazines.

Shorkut promotion starts at IIFA

Shortkut to be promoted at IIFA, at the Venetian, Macau. Entire cast is supposed to be present.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Weekend Fun

Moving into drama

It's awesome that Akshaye is doing three dramatic roles at the same time: Basra, Chandbai and Priyadarshan's new movie. He plays a cop in Basra and Priyadarshan's new movie and some sort of film maker in Chandbhai. These movies are any day better than the work he has done so far, when you think of Aap Ki Khatir or Mere Baap Pehle Aap, so he's definitely moving into a different league. Doing one good movie every four years like DCH and Gandhi, My Father isn't gonna cut it. What matters is consistency. Akshaye's finally achieved it. If Voice From the Sky had also gone ahead, it'd have been awesome. Right now he only has one comedy on plate: Anees Bazmee's No Problem. Hope he won't have date problems as he starts doing so many movies at once.

Akshaye in a new Priyadarshan film and it's not a comedy

A Times of India report of September 2, 2001, based on inter-caste marriage killings in Bihar and which said, ‘Falling in love is a sacrilege in Alinagar, barely 200 km from Delhi,’ apparently made a lasting impression on Bollywood’s comedy king Priyadarshan.

“The memory of that report stayed with me for eight years,” says Priyadarshan who, after working on a script for six months, is now starting a film based on the killings that had shaken the core of India. The film, to be produced by Kumar Mangat, will go on the floors in August and it will feature Ajay Devgan and Akshaye Khanna as CBI officers — one on deputation to the village, the other a local officer.

The female lead is being kept a secret, but there is indication that Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Asin are in talks with the producer. Mangat, refusing to comment on his choice of heroine, says, “Omkara brought a lot of critical acclaim to my banner. It was widely appreciated in the US and at international film festivals. I’m sure this film will also make a huge cinematic statement.”

For Priyadarshan, who has to his credit a mixed bag of films like Viraasat, Saza-e-Kala Paani, Kanjeevaram... and some brain-dead comedies like Mere Baap Pehle Aap and Garam Masala, this untitled venture is a break from his comic reign. “At least I will break away from the remake rut,” he admits candidly.

This Ajay-Akshaye film is a thriller. Priyan points out that even in this current age the barbaric caste killings continue to dominate Alinagar because here any attempt to plead the cause of love and marriage of inter-caste relationships is seen as an intrusion into their affairs.

Omkara is a great movie; it brought lot of critical acclaim to Saif although I liked Ajay better in it. Priyadarshan can make good movies if he applies himself and working with new, savvy producer like Kumar Mangat is always good for Akshaye's career and looks like he is taking up on my advice that he should insinuate into the Saif Ali slot as he's the right age and no one else is there.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Amrita on Akshaye

Right now Amrita is looking forward to Anil Kapoor’s next venture Shortkut. “The film is slated for an April release hence I am busy with the dubbing of the film. It is a story-oriented comedy. I am paired opposite Akshaye Khanna and working with him has been a very different experience. He is one of the best actors we have today,” says Amrita.

Urvashi plays nurse to ex-flame Akshaye

Akshaye Khanna is on a high after signing a couple of big films in recent times. He had been on a self-induced break of sorts to figure out the kind of films he wanted to be associated with. But once he’d done that, there was no dearth of film offers for this talented actor.
Maybe it was all those story narrations coupled with bad weather that got Akshaye down with a bad case of viral. So he decided to take it easy, stay at home to rest.
But word got out and his ex-flame, actress Urvashi Sharma, also got a wind of it. She turned up at Akshaye’s doorstep the very next day to play Florence Nightingale.
Before you get any ideas, Urvashi has focused all her affections on her “close friend” Hurman Baweja and was with Akshaye only for old times’ sake. She probably knows Akshaye well enough to figure out that he’d never reach out to his close friends, even if he needed looking after.
So she decided not to let him have any say in the matter and made her presence felt in his house, looking after him as he recovered from his nasty bout of viral.
We think Urvashi is ready for an alternative profession, what say?

Ex-flame? SO, this affair has gone kaput too?

Get well soon, AK. There will be many more ladies.

Akshaye offered Kukunoor-Ghai film?

Akshaye Khanna may be teaming up with Subhash Ghai once again. The two had worked together in Taal, but parted on a sour note when Akshaye expressed his displeasure at the way his role shaped up. But now, with Akshaye not exactly flooded with film offers, and Ghai having sunk Yuvraaj, looks like neither has many options left.
So when Subhash Ghai offered Khanna his next production to be directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, Akshaye is said to have agreed without much ado. Although people from Nagesh’s unit would like us to believe that it was the director who had convinced Akshaye to do the film, it doesn’t seem to be the case as he has been having close door meetings with Ghai of late.
Dor star Gul Panag is likely to be signed as the female lead in the film, believed to be a comedy of errors. Besides the patch-up, Akshaye has reportedly been paid an astronomical fee to be a part of the project. But then, one wonders, how the patch-up came about?

OK, this was from March and we next heard that Akshaye rejected Nagesh's offer. Looks like this project isn't going ahead. Sad.