I lack self-confidence: Akshaye Khanna
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I lack self-confidence: Akshaye Khanna

The talented actor has a very different notion of himself. Akshaye in various moods

india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 12:30 IST

Akshaye Khanna, who is known to be choosy about his roles, surprisingly has five films under his belt and says he has never been more productive in life before.

Despite being known as one of the most talented actors in Bollywood, Akshaye has a very different notion of himself. "Even today I am hugely lacking in self-confidence. There's a huge level of dissatisfaction and turmoil. I guess that's part of every actor's personality."


Knowing how choosy you are, why are you suddenly in five films?"
It's not a question of being choosy. It's about finding roles that excite me. I have always maintained that I'll do any project I like. It just so happens that I liked all the five scripts. There's so much work happening in our film industry. Just how much of that work is worth doing depends entirely on the individual actor.

I was offered stuff that I found terribly exciting. I want to work. It's the only thing that keeps me happy. Whatever films I did, I did happily. I have never been so productive before.

You have done comedy before...
Yes, two. Priyadarshan's Hungama and Hulchul. But I didn't do Shaadi Se Pehle because I needed to do another comedy. It's not about doing a particular kind of film. It's about doing what excites me. But I can safely say Shaadi Se Pehle is at least two or three times better than Hulchul and Hungama put together.

Despite being known as one of the most talented actors in Bollywood, Akshaye has a very different notion of himself.

In what way?

In terms of the laughter it provides. It's much funnier and more entertaining. This is in no way a reflection on the director. It is just the script. Why only Satish Kaushik? Any competent director including Priyan (Priyadarshan) would do a good job of Shaadi Se Pehle. I enjoyed working with the whole team. The actors have all been cast meticulously, keeping the characters in mind.

If the casting is done well, a lot of the load is taken off the director. Some of the actors like Anupam Kher and Suniel Shetty I had worked with earlier. The two girls Mallika and Ayesha Takia were new for me.

You just shot with a whole ensemble cast for Dharmesh Darshan in London?
It was unbelievably cold. I think Dharmesh has reached a point in his career when he wants to move with the times, to make something that appeals to young audiences. Not that he has drastically altered his style. Just that the basic treatment is more contemporary than his last few films.

How hard is it to go from Farhan Akhtar to Dharmesh Darshan?
I never had a problem adjusting to different schools of filmmaking. I have worked with an eclectic bunch of directors from Anees Bazmi to Farhan Akhtar to Abbas-Mustan to Nikhil Advani.

Nikhil's Salaam-E-Ishq looks very interesting from the outside?
It's even more interesting from the inside. It's something never been done before. It is one of the greatest screenplays that I have come across. The film will shock the pants off everybody.

Every five years we get four-five films that push the envelope. "Salaam-E-Ishq" is one of them. I don't know about the other films this year. "Rang De Basanti" has already done that. But Nikhil's film is definitely a trendsetter.

Whom are you paired with in Salaam-E-Ishq?
I am with Ayesha Takia again after Shaade Se Pehle. She's a wonderful actress. One of those rare natural-born talents like Kajol, Rani (Mukerji) or Preity (Zinta). Look at the talent we have especially among the female actors... Shefali Shah, Kareena (Kapoor), Priyanka (Chopra)... They are looking so good and doing such work. Look at their calibre. Look at Rani in Black!

Have you grown as a person and actor?
I hope so. I have become more relaxed and confident. Even today I am hugely lacking in self-confidence. There's a huge level of dissatisfaction and turmoil. I guess that's part of every actor's personality.

You have worked with Abbas-Mustan before in Humraaz. How was it in 36 Chinatown?
Fantastic! They are just so focused on their work. They know exactly what they want and what works. There are very few directors with the success record of Abbas-Mustan. Their film works because they don't touch anything they don't believe in.

You are playing Mahatma Gandhi's eldest son Harilal in Feroz Khan's film. Yes. But I am not supposed to talk about it at all. I don't question my producer Anil Kapoor. If he says I can't, I can't.

Why the secrecy?
It can't be treated like any Hindi film.We have done a very complicated two-version film. The post-production work requires a substantial amount of time.

All I can say is it's an once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. All my films are special. But a project like this comes to an actor once in his lifetime, if at all. I'm blessed it has come so early in my career. It's very close to my heart.

Not so early in your career...
Eleven years... I couldn't be happier at this point of my career. I couldn't have asked for more. I love every moment of shooting. I couldn't have asked for more. And I must say that the press has always been fair to me.

What else are you doing?
I don't have time for anything else.

Do you have a love life?
Not at the moment! But I'd like to change that very soon. Marriage? I am not ready for that at all.

You want to be a footloose actor all your life?
That thought has crossed my mind.

Your mother must be worried.
Not the least. My parents are too cool and liberal. I'm only 30. I started acting when I was 19. My only goal in life was to be an actor. That I am! I want to keep getting good work.

First Published: Apr 11, 2006 12:30 IST