1997: This is when Akshaye Khanna made a ‘maha-impressive’ debut in Border. Despite a plethora of stars in there with Sunny Deol and Suniel Shetty in roaring form, it was the pleasant demeanor of Akshaye Khanna that made many a heart melt.
2016: In the 20th year of his career, Akshaye is pretty much resuming his Bollywood innings, courtesy Sajid Nadiadwala who has showed faith and entrusted him to deliver in his mega crore affair, Dishoom.
“Akshaye couldn’t have made his comeback with anything ordinary and Sajid too knew that for this interesting role of ‘Wagah’ in Dishoom, Akshaye was a clean bet. After all, there is certain unpredictability that the Khanna scion comes with and since the Rohit Dhawan directed film too warrants a ‘will-he-won’t-he’ characterization for ‘Wagah’, Akshaye fitted in perfectly well,” comments an insider.
For Akshaye, Dishoom had to be special since in these 20 years, though he has worked in as many as 30 films, a large number of these have been unsuccessful at the Box Office. Though standard of his performance was largely impressive, especially as he gained further experience in front of the camera, commercial success was sporadic.
“There were exceptions like Taal, Dil Chahta Hai, Humraaz, Deewangee, Hungama and Hulchul (inarguably his best phase that spanned from 1999 to 2004) but post that a slump came with flops like Shaadi Se Pehle, Aap Ki Khatir, Salaam E Ishq, Naqaab, Gandhi – My Father, Aaja Nachle and many more. The only silver lining was Race (2008) where he played a negative role,” says an observer.
This turned out to be a silver lining for both Sajid and Akshaye since the part of ‘Wagah’ is negative inDishoom and that promises a roller coaster ride in the offering for Akshaye.
“It had to be special,” a close associate adds, “Akshaye’s last few releases – Gali Gali Chor Hai, No Problem, Aakrosh, Shortkut – The Con Is On and Mere Baap Pehle Aap had nothing to cheer about. If there has to be a comeback, it better be solid, classy, impressive, notable and above all, hyped well. With Sajid on board as Eros as the partners who are making sure that the film gets a perfect worldwide release, Akshaye was assured that he was making the right move.”
Will the move pay off? Well, it would be known in less than a week’s time. The early indications though are that a step in the right direction has been taken. It is on the audience to join Akshaye on this ride.