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The Rediff Interview / Akshaye Khanna

November 24, 2004

Akshaye Khanna's last box-office success was the hilarious Hungama directed by Priyadarshan. Now, he is pairing up with the same director for Hulchul, an eagerly anticipated 'family comedy' hitting the screens on November 26.

Excerpts from the actor's conversation with News Editor (Entertainment), Syed Firdaus Ashraf:

You're pairing up with Priyadarshan for the third time with Hulchul.

It has been superb doing three films -- Doli Saja Ke Rakhna, Hungama, and Hulchul. I love working with him. We are very comfortable with each other. We don't have any issues; we enjoy each other's company and I like him as a director. Otherwise, we wouldn't have done three films together.

Would you do regional films with him?

Yes, why not? I'll have some problems with the language but if I practice, I can improve on that. Some of the best films we make in India are in South India,  especially Malayalam films. They're fantastic!

You're following up Hungama with another comedy.

Yes. Hungama was a comedy with a slight love story. Hulchul has more romance and is also funnier than Hungama. There are a lot of family emotions and heavy drama. You can say it is a great Hindi film.

A still from HulchulWhat is your role in the film?

I am playing a college student.

I think the story is what will drive the film. It is a situational kind of film. Some films are character-driven but this is story-centric. It's a fun film to watch; it flows beautifully and makes sense. You can watch this film again and again with your grandparents or your girlfriend. You won't get bored. This is what I feel (laughs). Now, it is up to the public to decide.

Why do your brothers in Hulchul oppose your romance with Kareena?

You will have to watch the film to find out!

It is Hungama meets Virasat. Amrish Puri plays my father, and I have three brothers -- Paresh Rawal, Jackie Shroff and Arbaaz Khan.

Suniel Shetty plays Kareena's brother. Arshaad Warsi plays my college friend.

How was the experience working with Kareena?

She was superb, fantastic! You know, some people have to work hard to perform. She does not need to do anything. Acting is in her blood. She has tremendous knowledge of acting. She has inherited it from her family.

But then, so have you, from your father, Vinod Khanna.

I think I have to work much harder, unlike Kareena. She is a born actor.

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What are your future plans?

I'm starting a film with Anil Kapoor in January. I plan to do good films, with the best directors and scriptwriters.

Are you trying to play it safe?

There is no playing safe in life. This is especially true for the film industry (laughs). One has to do just what one's heart feels is right. One has to give a 100 percent commitment, and maintain that.

What do you do when not working?

I don't take breaks. I am 29, and young. I want to do more, but good work. I want to work with good people. I want to be excited in what I am doing. Unless I am excited about the project, I'd rather not work. If I don't have work, everyday is a Sunday for me.

I believe you do a lot of yoga?

I work out. I do yoga. I watch a lot of films: that's my favourite pastime.

Someone introduced me to yoga, and I just tried it out. Now, I love it. It makes me feel good. It opens your body, muscles and joints. It relaxes you, and stress levels go down.

I enjoy playing squash equally. I enjoy all kinds of exercise. I love sports.

Any plans besides acting?

Not for now. It may be possible in the future. I don't think I can write scripts. I feel writing is the most difficult job.

A still from HulchulWhen will we see you onscreen with your father?

Whenever the script is good enough.

Does your father guide you?

Of course, he guides me when he has to. I've been working for long and am independent now. Whenever I have doubts, I ask him. If he feels I'm doing something wrong, he advises me.

Why isn't there and scandal or gossip associated with Akshaye Khanna?

Because I am very smart! (laughs)


Maybe after two or three years.

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