Akshaye Khanna on being away from films: I’ve lost my stripes, have to earn them back again.

globalmovie     07 Jul,2017         No Comment

Akshaye Khanna on being away from films: I’ve lost my stripes, have to earn them back again
“It’s very rare to have a creative journey that spans 50 years. And you are still a leading lady. Forget India even globally…very rare,” he said, when asked about Sridevi…

After being away from the limelight for almost four years, Akshaye Khanna returned to Bollywood with last year’s Varun Dhawan-John Abraham starrer, Dishoomak Even though his was a relatively smaller role of the antagonist, he got his fair share of visibility and now he is coming up with a mystery thriller, Mom, co-starring Sridevi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. I caught up with him at the film’s producer, Boney Kapoor’s office. I was told he is moody, unlike any other star in Bollywood and will shoot down any ‘stupid’ question thrown towards him. I was also told that he is a man of few words and is highly intimidating.

Well, with all these preconceived notions in mind, I went in to interview him and boy I was surprised and how! It’s true that he is unlike any Bollywood star and can be quite intimidating but one thing that I learnt about him was his undying love for art and cinema. We discussed in detail about his film Mom, his co-stars Sridevi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, his reclusive nature, his brother Rahul Khanna, and his view of the film industry now that he has returned.

Here are the excerpts from the interview…

One thing about MOM that excited and enticed you to come on board?

AK: Quality of the writing. It’s really good. My role, superb. (I) might not be playing the leading part but that’s not what I am always looking for. Sometimes you can have tremendous impact on a story or on an audience or on a film by doing a slightly smaller part also, it doesn’t matter to me. That always been the case with me. One is always looking for to attach oneself to a project which one feels…where one can score…most importantly.

In fact, last year, during Dishoom, you had said that because you are returning your focus would be to be a part of good films rather than looking out for leading roles. Is that still the case?

It doesn’t have to be either or. It can be both.

When you were away from films, were you completely cut-off from Bollywood or you were aware of what was going on in the industry, what sorts of films were being made?

Yeah, I mean film industry is not a private place. It’s not something that only if you are working, you’ll know what’s happening in the industry. It’s very public, everybody knows, every college student knows which films are being made, how much they are crossing, who’s in them, which actors have signed which films, which are the films that are coming in 2018. It’s a public domain, there’s no secret.

Did it scare you a bit that the audience might not accept you? Moreover, producers might not sign you considering that the audience is very fickle minded. Out of sight and out of mind, as they say?

It’s not a question of being scared. It’s a question of mentally being in the right place. One cannot think of oneself in isolation. One has to understand that in any business, you have to earn your stripes. You cannot become the captain of a ship on the first day of work. You have to work your way up to that level, that comes with time. Similarly, in any profession you cannot demand success, you cannot demand respect…you have to earn it. So one should always be aware especially in a collaborative profession where creativity is not only coming from you, it’s coming from whole bunch of people. One has to know one’s place, one has to respect…and earn one’s stripes. If you take a break for a substantial period of time, then it depends on person to person. But as far as I was concerned, I definitely looked at it as though I was coming to earn my stripes all over again. I’d lost them. Because today the world is moving so fast, you can’t expect people to remember your work. Yeah, of course there will be a section that do remember. But one has to constantly strive to stay relevant, to remain a face that people continue to want to watch. To remain an artist whose work people still appreciate, still want to see.

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