By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Friendships in filmdom are frequently as filmy as they are flimsy. But Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna seem to have formed a longer- lasting bond. Says Anil, "After the wonderful experience on Gandhi My Father if I had my way I'd cast Akshaye in all my films. I'm very very fond of him as an actor and as a friend."
However 'friend' turned completely into 'actor'recently when the twosome came together for the first time since Subhash Ghai's Taal for Abbas-Mustan's Race. The spirit of one-upmanship was so high between the Anil and Akshaye that onlookers on sets thought the duo had fallen out with each other.
Laughs Akshaye, "Yes, once the camera was switched on Anil and I were fiercely focussed on doing our best. And what's wrong with that? Race is a thriller. Anil and I had a ball working together as actors again after Subhash Ghai's Taal. Yes, we were really in competition for Race. From 'start camera' to 'cut' we became co-stars. Once the camera was switched off we were comparing notes. Kaisa kya kiya....tu kaisa tha...main theek tha?? Yes I'm very competitive, in the sense that I want to do my best within the character I'm given to portray. So dies Anil."
Laughs Akshaye. "That's how we are as co-stars. As far as Anil Kapoor The Producer goes, I've told him pointblank that he has to sign me for all his productions. We're already doing another project Shortcut which is a masala film. We're really charged about it. Anil wouldn't touch a project unless it enthuses him fully. Every seed needs a specific nurturing. If my director Feroz Khan hadn't been nurtured by Anil Kapoor, Gandhi My Father wouldn't have been possible. Anil constantly nourished the project. He has given so much to the project. He was such a source of strength for all of us, specially the director. Being from a production family Anil Kapoor gave his all to this film."
Akshaye wants to be as versatile as Anil. "Even today he can balance a Salaam-e-Ishq with No Entry. I'm aiming to be in that maneuvering space. I want people to give me the same opportunities. I can tell you one thing. Actors who are confined by images are very unhappy people."