Playing grey or noble are equally relevant: Akshaye

May 11, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 11 (IANS) Abbas-Mustan gave him the chance to play the darkest shade of black in "Humraaz". Now Akshaye Khanna turns spotless white in the directorial duo's "36 China Town".

"I enjoyed both the good and the bad equally. I don't take any role I won't enjoy playing. For me, playing grey or noble are equally relevant," Akshaye told IANS.

"And why should grey be more challenging? Other actors may think so. But that's because most actors play grey once or maybe twice in their careers. And if you play something so drastically different it will appear to be more fun. But it isn't more challenging.

"What I particularly liked about my villainous character in 'Humraaz' was that he didn't reform at the end. I hate it when the antagonist suddenly gets a sympathy angle at the end. If I played a villain I wanted to go all the way. A bad person doesn't need a reason to be bad."

For Akshaye, playing a bad man again would require a role that's really out of the way. For now, he is all good in "36 China Town".

He is the only non-humorous character in the film. "I make a grand appearance midway. I play a principled cop. The character held my attention. What I like about Abbas-Mustan's cinema is that it is stylised. Whether it was 'Baazigar', 'Baadshah' or my own 'Humraaz', the characters are never routine.

"Even when you are playing a villain like Shah Rukh (Khan) in 'Baazigar' or me in 'Humraaz' there is an edge to the character. Similarly, my cop in '36 China Town' isn't a routine character.

"Abbas-Mustan could have easily put me in khaki and made me behave like a zillion cops in our films. But Abbas-Mustan like to play around with conventions. They love to glamorise and stylise their settings without going over the top. To top it all, I have never played a cop before. I always wanted to."

He lights up at the mention of his co-star Kareena Kapoor.

"Regrettably, she doesn't star opposite me. Nowadays audiences get angry if they are misled in the promos. It doesn't matter whether it is for one shot or a whole film... it is always a pleasure to work with Kareena.

"I am extremely fond of her. I think we have deep respect for each other as professionals. And we really enjoy each other's acting on the sets and on screen. We are very similar in certain ways. We are both very transparent, not capable of hypocrisy... though she is more outspoken than me. At the moment we have no other films together."

Akshaye admires Shahid Kapur, his co-star in "36 China Town", for his determination and dedication.

"As for Shahid, I have as many scenes with him as I have with Kareena since they are together all the time. He is a really sweet boy. Maybe because Bebo and I get along well, Shahid was very relaxed with me. In Bangkok we had a lovely time. Shahid is full of fun and energy... and very determined. He wants to look and give his best to every shot."

Akshaye confesses he is comfortable with all his co-stars.

"I love actors. It would take a really pathetic actor to put me off. I have had bad experiences, but very few. I hate actors who put on a charade...

"As for Upen Patel I don't have many scenes with him. I can empathise with his turmoil as a debutant. He is extremely eager to learn. That is the biggest plus for any starter. Plus he is very amiable. You can sense his ambition. He's chosen his debut cleverly. He suits the role."

As for his last release...

"I was extremely disappointed by the audiences' reaction to 'Shaadi Se Pehle'. I was expecting more. Sometimes your involvement with a film automatically makes you assume audiences' too will get involved. I was wrong. The audience is never wrong. On the flip side I must say it has recovered its money. That's the truth. But somewhere as a team we were wrong."

He is all for his producer Subhash Ghai.

"This is relationship-based industry, not primarily a talent-based industry. When someone puts so much faith in you, it's a great source of strength. I am not saying I am going to be in every project that Subhash-ji produces. But there is a bond beyond immediate gain. He is very important in my life and career. I am sure we'll be working together again."

Akshaye's next release is "Aap Ki Khatir".

"Dharmesh Darshan is a hardcore commercial filmmaker. He is a walking-talking encyclopaedia on Hindi cinema. And he has given such monumental successes. I think he is going to surprise audiences again this time."

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36 China Town


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