Acknowledged by his peers as a fine actor, he has not exactly mingled with the city’s glitterati. Aloof and even considered moody, the younger of Vinod Khanna’s two sons has hand-picked his movie projects. Striking up a count of 24 films in ten years, most of his performances have been top grade.
As for his private life, for years he was linked with the feisty actress Tara Sharma. Then came the split. Is the 31-year-old Akshaye Khanna chronically commitment-phobic? Interviewed by Khalid Mohamed
I must have met him, may be a dozen times during my interviewing beat, right from the pre-Himalayputra release days. It was apparent that he has what it takes —attitude, intelligence and a certain natural-born acting instinct.
With journos (especially critters like me), he’s been suspicious and unforthcoming. It’s been a smile, shake hands, hello-how’reyou-nice-nice that sort of a relationship.
Anyway, since I’ve been hearing that his “good friend” of many years, Tara Sharma, is on the cusp of marriage to deejay-cum-actor Rupak Saluja..and yes, the fact that I’ll be seeing Akshaye K after a longish hiatus in Salaam-e-Ishq, I trundle over to meet him. For an interviewer, there’s no stronger challenge than to make the untalkable talk.. hallelujah, he did:
Hi, long time, can I ask you anything?
(Lighting a cigarette) Hi, yeah it’s been long..anything?..it depends on what you mean by anything.
Let me rephrase myself — what’s up?
What’s up is that I’m really looking forward to the release of Salaam-e-Ishq.
|Akshaye Khanna's Salaam-e-Ishq releases this Friday.|
Doesn’t every actor say this before every film’s release?
I’ve never looked forward to the release of any film of mine as much as this one. It’s the most fun character I’ve played in my career. He’s a Delhi guy, saucy, mad, his take on life is skewered.
Skewered.. and he’s commitment phobic.
Sounds like someone I know.
Yeaaah? Maybe. What do you mean?
Like you don’t commit yourself to relationships, Akshaye.
I’ll let that pass. The role lends itself fabulously to an actor. Scenes were improvised, I added stuff which wasn’t on paper. Some of my suggestions were shot and have been kept in the film.
Isn’t filmmaking primarily about marketing today..and you haven’t marketed yourself at all. Right?
I can’t deny that. Yup, I’m not good at selling myself, my PR skills are atrocious. In any case, I’m not sure how much marketing works for an actor in the long run.
Would you agree that you’re mammothly moody?
Yes, earlier on I was.
So, on the eve of your film’s release you’ve come out of media hibernation?
Doesn’t everyone? But it’s not to get only good stuff written about me. I’m talking because..well, I don’t have problems in talking to anyone, anytime.
I heard you were going to script, direct and produce your own films.
I’m not a writer. As for direction, I don’t have the guts to do that. Still you can never say never. Production? Maybe sometime in the future..I would certainly not make science fiction movies. I’d go for the adventure movie genre like Indiana Jones. I love thrillers, too…Casino Royale was fabulous and I saw Bourne Identity over and over again.
meaning you want to be the Indian James Bond?
(Seriously) I couldn’t be Bond, I’m just saying that it would be fun to do thrillers.