Quite and dignified Akshaye turns 31
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Quite and dignified Akshaye turns 31

Arnab Banerjee profiles the actor, who holds a lot of promise, but is yet to find his deserved place under the arch-lights. Capturing Akshaye in various moods

india Updated: Mar 30, 2006 18:24 IST

When it comes to good looks, a great body and a sexy swagger, Vinod Khanna was one Bollywood actor from the yesteryears who had it all.

While it may not be a case of like father like son, his offspring Akshaye Khanna too oozes a lot of charm, both on and off screen.

As he turns 31 today, we take look at the actor, who holds a lot of promise, but is yet to find his deserved place under the arch-lights.

Not a great start
His debut film, Himalayputra, made viewers sit up and take note. The spontaneous and charming actor’s natural talent was discernible even in the masala potboiler. And weren’t fans of the senior Khanna pleased.

Sadly some unmemorable films followed like, Mohabbat, Dehek, Kudrat,Doli Saja Ke Rakhna andLove You Hamesha.

It was only in films like Border, Aa Ab Laut Chale, Taal and Dil Chahta Hai that one got to see the promise that the star son held.

JP Dutta's Border, which boasted of a huge star cast like Sunny Deol, Suneil Shetty Tabu, Rakhee and Jackie Shroff, gave Junior Khanna’s fans a rare glimpse into his perceptive talent.

Akshaye Khanna turns 31 today. He holds a lot of promise, but is yet to find his deserved place under the arch-lights.

Instead of the usual brawn that most actors are expected to demonstrate, this actor interpreted the role with rare sensitivity. But despite the film doing phenomenally well, success eluded him

Turning point
Then came Subhash Ghai’s Taal costarring Aishwarya Rai and this time around, not just a certain section but the entire nation acknowledged his potential as an actor.

His costar, Anil Kapoor was so impressed with him that he has gone on record saying that Akshaye “is the finest actor he has ever worked with.” Coming from the perfectionist methodical Anil Kapoor, it sure is some compliment.

If bouquets, compliments and fan following came in ad infinitum, the true box office barometer, which decides an actor’s fate, never quite favored him. In addition his limited selection of films kept the actor on the periphery and never quite allowed him to become a top-ranking star. He was also conspicuously absent from the P3, where wannabe actors are often seen.

It was Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai, which became the turning point of his career. In the path-breaking story of three friends, Akshaye as the young painter Siddharth stole the show with his unconventional restrained performance.

Among the three actors, his character, in love with a much older divorcee Dimple Kapadia, was perhaps the most difficult role and he delivered with aplomb.

Suave and subtle
Abbas Mustan directed Humraaz added another feather in his cap. As Karan Malhotra, he cons his way into lady love Priya’s heart (Amisha Patel) and unscrupulously deceives Raj Singhania (Bobby Deol). As the suave and handsome debonair, he is unapologetic and is quite the scene-stealer whenever he shares screen space with the rest of the cast.

And therein lies his appeal – as the smooth charming trickster, who delights even in all the possible negative shades.

In a candid self-confessional mood, he also “is not apologetic about my pedigree,” and “enjoys wearing greasepaint when ever I am on the sets,” he had once said.

His image – that of a difficult actor who “doesn’t like meeting the media, hates premieres of any film and has nothing much to say on anything” is fast changing though. “I made some wrong career decisions and am now carefully reading scripts to act in,” he confirms. “I am choosy,” he also asserts. “And will always do fewer films as compared to others.”

Akshaye has a unique style of his own not reminiscent of any earlier actor. Nor does it look trained or methodical as he seems to be more effortless and instinctive.

And he has quite a fan following even among his fellow industry people. Right from Shabana Azmi, the Bachchans, Subhash Ghai to the art house favorites Deepti Naval and Nandita Das, to sexy siren Mailka Sherawat and newcomers Ayesha Takia and Priyanka Chopra. All of them swear unequivocally - “He is the best among actors today.”

Forthcoming attractions
Satish Kaushik’s Shaadi Se Pehle – a wacky comedy about marital discord costarring Mallika Sherawat and Ayesha Takia.

Abbas Mustan’s 36 China Town costarring Shahid Kapur and Kareina Kapoor
Nikhil Advani directed Salaam-E- Ishq costarring Salman, Khan Vidya Balan, John Abraham, Ayesha Takia, Juhi Chawla, Priyanka Chopra, Govonda, Anil Kapoor, Sohail Khan and Perizad Zorabian.

Feroze Khan directed Gandhi My Father Shefali Shah, Vinay Jian and Bhoomika Chawla and a host of Hollywood actors.

Anees Bazmi directed Autograph staring Urmila Matodkar.

First Published: Mar 30, 2006 12:45 IST