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A mantra or two for success...

After his debut film sank without a trace, Akshaye Khanna was all but forgotten. All until director Farhan Akhtar presented an all-new, all-impressive version in "Dil Chahta Hai". Now more poised, Akshaye Khanna takes some time out to answers a few questions from MADHUR TANKHA...

On the highway to success... Akshaye Khanna. — Pic. by Rajeev Bhatt.

HE WANTS to hitch his wagon; doesn't want to be cowed down by complacency; believes his intense, brooding character in "Dil Chahta Hai" was certainly his best performance.

Actor Akshaye Khanna may be fastidious when it comes to selection of roles but he is a happy-go-lucky type in real life. Not that he gets gratification or a high after watching movies like "DCH" where he played a challenging role.

But he likes to maintain equanimity and wants to work with a fresh frame of mind, every time he faces the camera or even a journalist.

A self-confessed film buff, Akshaye doesn't want to do things half-heartedly but wants to work with single-minded determination. No wonder, he took full two months before giving nod to his newest film, "Deewangee".

Although he is younger in age than most of his contemporaries, he looks precocious and engaging, like he had amply demonstrated while enacting the role of a young lover of a recluse, alcoholic Dimple Kapadia in "DCH".

Full credit should go to the man for playing a character, which not many in Bollywood would have attempted. He earned wide acclaim for his sensitive perfor-mance and also the Best Supporting Actor Award.

But he knows that dancing is not his forte as could be seen in "Humraaz" but his no-holds-barred swinging at a discotheque in "DCH" would have put any teenager to shame. He is indebted to producer Nitin Manmohan, who gave him his first cheque when he had just entered the competitive industry.

Says this Vinod Khanna Junior, "My first amount was delivered to me by Nitin while I was doing "Himalaya Putra".

``He signed me for the film although the picture couldn't fructify".

Talking about his latest flick, Akshaye informs that the script of Nitin's "Deewangee" has definitely taken inspiration from the Hollywood churn-out "Primal Fear". While doing `Deewangee' I certainly learnt a lot from co-star Ajay Devgan, who has lots of experience," he adds. Are you critical of your work, one questions him. Akshaye says, "I'm extremely critical of my work. I cannot recall any one particular scene during my entire acting career where I have got fulfilment, joy or have had a thrilling experience. Normally, I get my dialogue 15 minutes or half an hour before the shoot. This leaves no room to think about different permutations, approaches towards a scene, which is frustrating. This is primarily the reason why I take a great deal of time before giving the go-ahead to any director.In "DCH", director Farhan Akhtar had given me a bound script, where all miniscule details were there. As the script was given to me one year before the shoot, it gave me ample time to zero in on my performance.

``It was the best performance in terms of my personal satisfaction," admits the actor. Isn't he more confident now than the early days, one queries.

Comes the reply, "I am definitely far better equipped in handling my scenes, dialogue delivery and technical aspects of film-making than when I was a novice. Experience in this profession certainly helps you as an actor. I think now I am in a position where I give a bit of input as my contribution to Indian cinema."

Although, Akshaye candidly admits that there was no particular actor who inspired him while he was growing up, he certainly wants to command the same respect and have the appeal and charisma of his father, Vinod Khanna, in his heyday. He gets irritated when one tells him that films like "Dahak" and "Love You Hamesha", which have been a disaster at the box office, had no other hero besides him.

Is he like Saif Ali Khan, who needs another hero to make the film run successfully? "I believe that good films run well at the box office while bad films do miserably," says Akshaye.

One questions him whether going to some acting school helps a budding actor. Says Akshaye, "Technique is certainly very important. Some kind of formal training is an essential prerequisite before joining the Bollywood bandwagon. All actors, especially lead actors, need somebody who is a veteran in the profession to hone their skills. However, one thing, which a youngster must realise is that it is better not to get any training at all than to enrol in some nondescript school in the suburb of Mumbai.

If it is a recognised institution, then only one should seek admission."

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