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How Anil Kapoor got Akshaye Khanna

Friday, July 13, 2007
Anil Kapoor is hardly known for his sense of humour. So when he told Akshaye Khanna in jest that he wanted him to play the role of Gandhi in his production, Gandhi My Father, Akshaye took it seriously and ran away and avoided Anil's calls - as he didn't want to play an old man. When asked to play the role of the Mahatma in Gandhi My Father, Khanna panicked and kept avoiding producer Anil Kapoor

Funny vein

Narrating the incident Anil says, "When Akshaye and I were flying back from a Toronto show I narrated him a bit about Gandhi My Father and said I have a role in mind for him. A few days later, I thought why not pull a fast one on him?

I called him up and told Akshaye that I wanted him to play the role of Gandhi in the film. Akshay read the script and panicked. He thought I was mad to offer him the role of an old man who had a grown-up son. After that, he not only disappeared but started avoiding my calls!"

Then what did Anil do? "I thought I had my share of fun, passed a message to Akshaye that I wanted him to play the role of Gandhi's son - Harilal Gandhi - and it was only then that he came on the line for me. He instantly agreed and has given his 100 per cent to the role.

He has changed a lot since Taal - he's more committed but still doesn't know how good he is. He is only putting in 10 per cent of his potential. Once he puts in his all he will surpass all the actors in India today."

Deserving actor

Anil says Akshaye had to audition for the role as his director Feroze Khan wasn't convinced about Akshaye doing it. "Akshaye doesn't know but he actually had to audition for the role. We told him they were rehearsals.

I wanted Akshaye for the role but Feroze was wary of working with stars and was upset with my decision. I told him I will take the responsibility and that he should trust my judgement. People want to see more of him but we should spend as much big money on his film as an Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan film. He wanted Akshaye to get the same treatment as the rest of the unit and not once did Akshaye complain. Even I travelled economy while flying. That's the kind of love we put in for the film."

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