Akshaye Khanna is a man of few words. The actor, who lost his mother Geetanjali Khanna in December last year, is guarded about his life and sternly says, “Don’t even go there”, when asked about her. But with a film release on the anvil, he is eager to talk about his role in Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s upcoming political film The Accidental Prime Minister. “I had a great deal of fun working on this film. Vijay has used me wisely,” Akshaye is quick to say about his role on the biopic based on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Anupam Kher essays the role of Singh in the movie. When Gutte approached Akshaye for the role he initially refused it. “I didn’t like the role and the way it was written. It was a small part. I instantly told him that the script was great but the role wasn’t interesting. He asked for time, made changes and sent me the script again and I loved it,” says the 43-year-old, who plays the role of debonair and dashing Sanjay Baru. Baru was the media adviser to the former PM from 2004 to 2008 and later went on to write the book The Accidental Prime Minister on which the film is based. Gutte made sure that Akshaye did not meet the real Sanjay Baru when he started work on the film to induce spontaneity to his acting. “Vijay didn’t want us to meet as he had done all the homework.
He simply asked me to follow instructions. The results are stunning. I am eager to meet Sanjay Baru now and see his reaction,” Akshaye exclaims. While his father Vinod Khanna was actively involved in politics, Akshaye has no inclinations of following his father’s footsteps. “I am not a political person,” he retorts. On his character, Akshaye says, “Sanjay Baru protected the Prime Minister. He has so many facets to his character—he’s an economist, a media man and an author.
I have never played a journalist before so it was very interesting. It’s a lovable character and we stuck to facts and we didn’t deviate from there.” With three decades behind him in the film industry, Akshaye feels “blessed to have lasted so long, ” and is enthusiastic about the younger crop of actors. “Even I started very young but these youngsters today are sensible and work on themselves one hundred percent. They make sure that they are well prepared when they face the camera. We learnt everything on the sets. But they know how to dress, how to talk and walk well before. Look at Sara Ali Khan, for example. She is respectable, beautiful and has made a graceful debut (in Kedarnath). I admire the way they (young actors) are carrying themselves. Times are changing and along with it everything else also changes,” he concludes.