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?


Anonymous said...

It feels nice that lots of interviews with Akshoo are done these days. He is now being very responsible towards his new yet to be released film's promotion.

Anonymous said...

After No Problem, Akshoo will be paired up with Ajay Devgan for “a serious film” - recently titled 'Smile' to be directed by Priyadarshan. But, 'Smile' doesn't look so serious? It seems that it's really an interesting film. And, I'm happy that Akshoo will be doing this project.

As for Basra, I'm hoping that Akshoo gets a chance to be part of it that he shouldn't miss it at any cost. It has some very talented actors like R.Madhavan and Shahana Goswami. Akshaye Khanna must sign 'Basra' as soon as possible. I'm sure that he has a very important role in this project. Good Luck, Akshoo.

Anonymous said...

'I am not Shah Rukh, who charms people'- Akshaye Khanna


Anonymous said...

Hey, Akshoo is an intelligent guy! I don't know why I feel that it's his intelligence and reserved nature always attract me!