Akshaye Khanna on his films, sabbaticals, career and more: ‘Who wants to sit at home? I love to be on set’

Happy birthday Akshaye Khanna: In an interview with indianexpress.com, Akshaye Khanna had opened up about how his personality spills into his characters, keeping himself free from the shackles of limiting genres and more.

Akshaye Khanna is undoubtedly one of the most nuanced, subtle actor we have today. He is also someone who doesn’t force himself onto his characters, but becomes one with every character he portrays on-screen. The man who gave us Dil Chahta Hai’s Sid — the ultimate brooder, the one with a high emotional quotient, turns 46 today.

On the occasion of Akshaye’s birthday, we revisit one of the earlier interviews we did with the actor which tells the story of the his ingenuity and a natural panache for acting.

On bringing a little bit of himself in his characters

Akshaye, who initially wanted to play Aakash in Dil Chahta Hai, ended up playing Siddharth in the film, a person who was not the typical on-screen man-child (which we have often seen in our movies), but someone who was emotional, mature and reserved.

It has been twenty years since Dil Chahta Hai released, but the film is spoken about with warmth even today. About playing such an impactful role in such a fun film like Dil Chahta Hai, and a part of his personality spilling in Sid, Akshaye had said, “I don’t analyse my work as such, but I love to hear when people talk about my work. You bring a little bit of yourself to every character you do, there is no way of escaping that. It is my personal opinion, I could be very wrong. It is but natural, it is your body, your mind, your face attached to the character.”

On not sticking to one genre

Akshaye has never stuck to one genre, in fact, according to him, the actor’s only job is to redefine themselves on-screen. He has played every character with equal conviction, be it the shallow Shiven from Salaam-e-Ishq or the police officer Dev Verma, of Ittefaq.

The actor maintains, “Genre is immaterial, the audience has a preference, an actor shouldn’t. Some of the best writers and directors have given me such fantastic roles, they have not limited me, so why should I.”

On being away from films

In his career spanning twenty-four years, and two long breaks, Akshaye has always been picky about his roles. The actor said, “Who doesn’t want to be associated with the best writing, best talent, best director there possibly can ever be? That’s the whole journey, that’s the only important thing — work with the best.”

After 2012, Akshaye went on a four-year-long sabbatical, after which, everybody thought that this is the end of Khanna’s career. On bouncing back, the actor had expressed how traumatic the break was for him.

He had said, “I don’t want to think about those years when I have taken breaks. Those were not pleasant times in my life, I am not a person who likes to sit at home, I love to work. But, there will be times, testing times, times when you’re not getting the work that you want to be part of, so (you have to) sit at home. Who wants to sit at home? I have been working since the time I was nineteen years old, I don’t know anything else. I love to be on set. Love.”

On being without a career plan

But Akshaye still doesn’t have a plan, he never had one, he never strategised his career moves and just wanted to be a part of good movies. About his future plans not being ever chalked out, the actor had said, “No plans. Just go with the flow. That’s the plan.”

Akshaye Khanna was last seen in Section 375 in 2019. Here’s wishing the talented artiste a very happy birthday.

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