The star of hits like Border (1997), Taal (1999), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Humraaz (2002), Hungama (2003) and Race (2008), Akshaye Khanna makes a comeback on the big screen after a four-year break post Gali Gali Chor Hain (2012). The star talks about his break and says he enjoyed playing a baddie in Dishoom.
What was it like to not do any film for four years?
Honestly, not working is like not breathing. Right now I am like an excited fish in the water.
Why did you take a break?
I had some personal issues which didn’t allow me to work for a while; I had to take care of them. After that, it took me a lot of time to find something that I really wanted to do. I cannot work for the sake of working; I wanted to be excited about what I would be doing. It took me time to find a couple of scripts that I liked and I am working on those films right now.
What did you like about Dishoom considering it’s a negative role?
One of my friends called me saying Rohit (Dhawan) would like to meet me for a film, and he just gave me a brief. But that one-liner was so interesting that I couldn’t say no. I didn’t want to do a full-fledged role, I wanted to start slowly with small, but good, solid roles ; like the one in Dishoom. I play a negative role in this film but it’s a superb role. It’s a great cast as well — Varun (Dhawan) and John (Abraham) are young and energetic, and my role is great.
Did you know Rohit before working with him?
I didn’t know Rohit before doing this film. I had watched his Desi Boyz (2011) before I met him and working with him was a great experience. Dishoom is a film of different genre. It’s a thriller and also a fun, young film.
Did you get along with John Abraham and Varun Dhawan?
Oh, they are full of energy and it was exciting to work with them. We made a good team. Varun is good at his work, ready to learn and tries to give his best in every scene, and so does John. John has been in the industry for a very long time now; he is too good with action.
How different is this negative role from the ones you played in Humraaz, Race et al.?
I have never played an Amrish Puri villain, a really bad guy who rapes women or does horrible things. What attracts me to any role — positive or negative — is the character. It should be entertaining. So what if it’s a negative role in Dishoom? It’s fun to do a negative role because it’s entertaining.
You have been in films for almost 20 years now. Do you think the industry has changed over the years?
As an industry, we were so disorganised 25 years ago in terms of how films was funded, how they were made and how they were released. Now, it is all transparent, organised and so much more professional. But there are so many aspects to the filmmaking business. One is the business side, the other is the technology side and then there is the creative process. Certain sectors within the same industry are changing much slower; the creative side is changing slowly.