Article Hindi

5 best performances of Akshaye Khanna – Birthday special

We celebrate the actor's 43rd birthday with some of his impressive performances.

Suparna Thombare

“I know I am an oddball,” Akshaye Khanna said in an interview in 2017, and it is no exaggeration. The actor, who made his debut 21 years ago, has worked in only 35 films so far, and had a four-year hiatus from 2012.

The 43-year-old also disappears between films and is hardly ever seen at media events or industry parties. He gives very few interviews, and when he does speak, he is usually laconic.

Yet, in an industry where out of sight is often out of mind, the reticent Khanna has been able to make a mark. Known to sign films according to his own whims, Khanna often leaves fans wanting for more.

One may say acting is in his genes, thanks to his father, the late Vinod Khanna. But there is also no denying that the actor has worked on his craft over time, growing with every film, never really delivering a rank bad performance.

It is quite unfair that we get to see so little of such a talented actor, but when he does come on screen he brings to the table his distinctive and nuanced style and effortless charm.

With his recent outings in Mom (2017) and Ittefaq (2017), Akshaye Khanna has again proved his commanding screen presence and acting chops. While we wait for him to give us some more laudable performances, we celebrate the actor's 43rd birthday with a look at his best performances so far. 

1. Border (1997)

JP Dutta’s war film was only Akshaye Khanna’s second. With a star-studded cast that included the likes of Sunny Deol, Suniel Shetty and Jackie Shroff, it would have been difficult for any new actor to make a mark. But Khanna did it quite easily with his boyish charm. He was noticed thanks to the way he portrayed an innocent and sensitive youngster who finds it difficult to be a ruthless fighter as a soldier. The many close-ups allowed Khanna to emote with his eyes and showcase his emotional range. 

2. Taal (1999)

It is not Subhash Ghai's best film, but Akshaye Khanna's refreshing lover boy definitely lifted it, apart, of course, from the amazing music by AR Rahman. Khanna took on the role of the rich London-returned Manav, who is smitten by a local girl from a poor family, played by Aishwarya Rai. 

Khanna brought so much innocence, sincerity and rawness to his character. Taal was definitely just a glimpse into the maturity the younger son of Vinod Khanna was capable of.

3. Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

Farhan Akhtar's debut film, a coming-of-age tale of three friends, changed the course of Akshaye Khanna's career. His performance as Sid, a young man who is mature beyond his years, stood out amongst the acts of accomplished actors like Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia. The sincerity in his eyes as he feels love for an older woman, played by Kapadia, makes you believe in his love. 

One of the most memorable scenes is the one where he tells Kapadia that he is not sorry for being in love with her. His nuanced and sensitive performance in that scene is one of the most touching in Hindi cinema. 

4. Humraaz (2002)

Akshaye Khanna has played the baddie in several films, including Race (2008) and Dishoom (2016), but it all began with Humraaz. In his first negative role, Khanna brought a lot of badass attitude, as he was to do with other villainous parts. In this film, he played a man who can go to any lengths to become rich, and he brought flamboyance, cockiness and humour in equal measure to the role.

5. Gandhi My Father (2007)

Akshaye Khanna’s performance as Harilal, the troubled son of Mahatma Gandhi who shared a love-hate relationship with his father, was one of his finest. Though the film was more of a history lesson than an insight into the father-son relationship, Khanna’s act stood out. The actor has the amazing talent of conveying his emotions with his body language. In a pivotal scene in the film, when Harilal discovers that his wife is no more, Khanna's performance is truly moving.