After staying away from the limelight for three-four years, Akshaye Khanna is back with some interesting projects. Having played the antagonist in Rohit Dhawan’s Dishoom, the actor will be seen in an author-backed role in Sridevi-starrer Mom. The film directed by Ravi Udyawar and produced by Boney Kapoor, also stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and releases on July 7.
In fact, the talented actor is going all out to promote the film with his co-stars. He promises to not take another break and we cannot miss the changes in Akshaye who now likes talking more about his life and work.
Tell us about Mom and your character in the film?
My character in Mom is very simple as I play the cop. It is a suspense thriller so it’s very difficult to talk about the film without giving away the story. Even directing a thriller is difficult. You want to keep the interest of the audience and yet not say much about the story. That way our director Ravi has done a good juggling act. He has managed to strike a fine balance — he has made it look interesting and also kept people guessing.
How was the experience of working with talented actors like Sridevi and Nawazuddin? Have you watched Nawazuddin’s films?
I have to admit that it was great working with them because they are exciting talent. I believe that working with anybody with this kind of talent is a blessing for any artist. I have my selfish reasons for saying this because the better the people or co-stars are, the better your work is. They were not just talented but had so much experience that it helped me. Sridevi has done such few films in the last 15-20 years that very few actors have got the opportunity to work with her. And I am lucky to be one of those. I feel so blessed to get a chance to share the frame with her.
As far as Nawazuddin is concerned, he is equally talented. I have watched several of his films.
People are happy to see you back in films. Hope you are are not taking any more breaks?
No way. No more breaks for me.
You have mentioned in a few interviews how not working was a torture. What has triggered the change in you?
The break I took wasn’t by choice. I went through a phase when I was facing personal issues for almost two years and I wasn’t in a position to work. I want to work all the time. It’s just that I was not being able to. After that, I felt that I wanted some time off. I have been working in films from the age of 19 and I have had a really good time. I am never ever taking a break as long as I am offered good quality films. There are so many talented people in the industry that I want to continue working with.
There are several notions about you like you are a recluse, choosy about your roles etc. You too haven’t ever come out to talk about your life and work. Has that worked against you?
Yes, I think so. I think I have not moved with the times. Maybe that had a negative impact on my career. It would be foolish of me to think that it didn’t have any negative impact. We are all living in a world where one is constantly in the public glare. I have to adapt to this lifestyle, be more open and communicative. I am aware about it, and have started to bring the necessary changes.
You are working with the new breed of directors — Rohit Dhawan, Ravi Udyawar and Abhay Chopra (Ittefaq remake). How has the experience of working with them been?
Let’s talk about Ravi because I am promoting Mom. It’s hard to believe that Mom is his first feature film though he is an experienced ad filmmaker. I can guarantee that he is one of the finest directors I have worked with in my career and I am not saying this because I have worked with him. I am saying this because I have watched the film. Boney (Kapoor) has made huge contributions to the film industry but him discovering Ravi and giving him the responsibility to make the film, has been his biggest and best gift to the industry. Once in a while, you get talents like Rajkumar Hirani or Ravi. It’s so rare.
You have played the leading man for so many years but after your comeback, you got only special roles...
That’s because the length of the role doesn’t matter to me. It’s the impact of the character that matters. You can do one scene and yet make a strong impact and stay longer with the audience. Or you can play the leading man or lady and still have nothing to offer. I would always choose to play a smaller role that makes a stronger impact. In Mom, both Nawaz and I have extended cameos but the impact of both the characters is huge. None of us would have signed the film if that hadn’t been the case.