Although Akshaye Khanna bonds big-time with his dad off screen, he is petrified of working with him in films. The actor has sworn never to share screen space with Vinod Khanna.
"I worked with my dad in my first film Himalay Putra. It was a terrifying experience. There're certain people whom you shouldn't work with. My dad is one of them," Akshaye, who was recently seen tickling funny bones in Mere Baap Pehle Aap, told IANS.
"Mr. (Amitabh) Bachchan is another. To stand in the same frame as them confidently is impossible. They've such an overpowering screen presence.
"It's very difficult to match my father on screen. It's that quality - either you have it or you don't have it. Very frankly I don't have it. I just don't have that kind of presence. There're some actors who just wash you away on screen. My dad is one of them."
Akshaye doesn't feel the same way about any of his contemporaries.
"But yes, Govinda is another actor I feel the same way about. He's a very effective actor. Govinda is a very scary actor. Even Sanjay Dutt has such an overpowering screen presence," said Akshaye who worked with him in Salaam-e-Ishq.
Interestingly, Akshaye has done two very different and diametrically opposite father-son films in the last two years.
While Feroz Gandhi's Gandhi My Father featured Akshaye as Mahatma Gandhi's estranged son, in Priyadarshan's recently released comedy Mere Baap Pehle Aap he plays Paresh Rawal's son who is adamant on getting his father married.
"Can you imagine two more contrasting father-son films?" Akshaye laughed.
"Mere Baap... is a genuine feel good film. I like doing such films. My character puts his father's happiness ahead of his own. The son is more like a father, and vice versa. Paresh's character is so childlike. It's a very heart warming kind of relationship. Paresh and I have always gotten along. We spend a lot of time together when we're working."
Is Akshaye happy with the quality of cinema he's doing?
"I do the films I get. And I'd rather be in a successful film than a good film. Having said that I must say Gandhi My Father is the single-most important film of my career - probably my best work. I'm immensely attached to it.
Interestingly, many are calling 2008 Akshaye's year of comedy.
"Agreed my next release Short Cut after Mere Baap Pehle Aap is also an out-and-out comedy," he responds. "But Race was not a comedy."