Akshaye Khanna's film 'Ittefaq' hits the screens today. We look back at the media-shy Bollywood actor's film journey and the reason why he decided to make a comeback in showbiz after 4-year sabbatical. (All photos courtesy: mid-day archives and Yogen Shah)
Akshaye Khanna made his Bollywood debut in 1997 with 'Himalay Putra', which was produced by his father Vinod Khanna. But the movie failed at the box office
Akshaye Khanna's next film 'Border' (1997) earned him the Filmfare Best Debut Award. He was also nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998
Akshaye Khanna went on to star in films like 'Kudrat' (1998), 'Laawaris'(1999), and 'Dahek' (1999), but these movies did not do well commercially. In picture: Akshaye Khanna and Anjala Zaveri in a still from 'Himalay Putra'
Akshaye Khanna starred in Rishi Kapoor's 'Aa Ab Laut Chalen' in 1999. In picture: Akshaye Khanna and Urmila Matondkar in a still from 'Kudrat'
Akshaye Khanna next starred in Subhash Ghai's 'Taal' in 1999 opposite Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The film was a huge hit critically and commercially. In picture: Akshaye Khanna and Jyothika in a still from 'Doli Saja Ke Rakhna'
In 2001, Akshaye Khanna starred in Farhan Akhtar's cult classic 'Dil Chahta Hai'. This film was a turning point in his career. He also won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the movie. In picture: Akshaye Khanna and Anjala Zaveri on the sets of 'Himalay Putra' with director Pankaj Parashar
In 2002, Akshaye Khanna appeared in Abbas-Mustan thriller 'Humraaz' for which he earned a nomination for a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. In picture: Akshaye Khanna with Karisma Kapoor
Akshaye Khanna went on to star in comedy films like Hungama (2002) and Hulchul (2004) that were box office hits. In picture: Akshaye Khanna and Parmeet Sethi in a still from 'Laawaris'
Akshaye Khanna, however, failed to recreate his box office magic later with films like Shaadi Se Pehle (2006), Aap Ki Khatir (2006), Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love (2007), Mere Baap Pehle Aap (2008) and Naqaab (2007). In picture: Akshaye Khanna with Hema Malini on the sets of 'Himalay Putra'
Akshaye Khanna starred in 'Race' in 2008 that turned out to be a hit. In picture: Akshaye Khanna with Ameesha Patel in 'Humraaz'
Akshaye Khanna's performance in the 2007 film 'Gandhi, My Father' earned him critical appreciation. In picture: Akshaye Khanna with Vibha Dutt
In 2010, Akshaye Khanna's films 'No Problem' and 'Aakrosh' flopped at the box office. The same year, his film 'Tees Maar Khan' released. In picture: Akshaye Khanna, Saif Ali Khan and Aamir Khan in 'Dil Chahta Hai'
In 2012, Akshaye Khanna starred in 'Gali Gali Chor Hai', which also flopped at the box office, following which he took a four-year break from acting. In picture: Akshaye Khanna with Suniel Shetty
While speaking about his sabbatical from Bollywood in an interview with mid-day, Akshaye Khanna said he was away from the silver screen for four years due to personal reasons
Akshaye Khanna said he 'felt tortured' while he was not doing films. In picture: Akshaye Khanna with father Vinod Khanna at an awards ceremony
Akshaye Khanna said, "There was a reason why I took a sabbatical. I had some personal reasons which didn't allow me to work. But there has never been a point in my life where I wanted to take things slow, or I don't want to work."
Akshaye Khanna said, "Besides work (acting), there is nothing I know or can do. I have been working nonstop since I was 19 so not working is torturous. That phase has gone now."
Akshaye Khanna said, "I am still me. What probably hit me hard was that I value being on a film set. The sabbatical was a good thing. If an actor stops acting, something inside him crumbles and dies."
Akshaye Khanna said, "Moreover, the audience in India barely gives them as many chances to entertain them. I would be a fool if I didn't realise how fortunate I am to be getting good work despite the break and the flops."
Akshaye Khanna said, " I can't imagine why I deserve this chance. Maybe I have done something right for this to happen to me."
On being called a social recluse, Akshaye Khanna told mid-day in an exclusive interview, "I am the biggest social recluse ever. There's nothing wrong with it or to be ashamed of. I have always been this person."
Akshaye Khanna told mid-day, "It might be in conflict with how the world functions today. Anyone from this industry must conduct his career differently. An actor should be more public, social and on-the- face. I should change my ways in the coming years. Who knows... I could be tweeting my heart out."
Akshaye Khanna further said, "I need to be more practical. I have been stupid to not put myself out there. It isn't the most sensible thing to do. Actors need to be more flexible. I think I have made tremendous progress."
Akshaye Khanna said, "I have a morbid fear of the press, being seen and being talked about. There is no logical reason behind it. Nothing specific triggered it. But if I saw myself on a magazine cover, I would look away. I would shut a paper if there is an interview of mine."
Akshaye Khanna said, "I had become so comfortable with my solitude, that all this didn't matter. But, I am in the midst of a diabolical change and I think the fear is fading away finally. I don't think people have agendas against each other anymore."
Talking about social media, Akshaye Khanna told mid-day, "I like social media because it allows everyone to be free."
While talking about the lure of showbiz, Akshaye Khanna told mid-day, "The aspiration of any artiste is to be loved. Recognition, fame, appreciation - it all comes in a package. It's a part of what I signed up for when I became an actor. If you take away his body of work, Salman Khan will also collapse as a superstar."
Akshaye Khanna made his comeback in Bollywood after a 4-year sabbatical with 'Dishoom' in 2016
Why did he select 'Dishoom' as his comeback vehicle you wonder? The actor said he chose to feature in 'Dishoom', which stars John Abraham, Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez, as he really liked the script and as it was an interesting concept
Akshaye Khanna played an investigative officer in 'Mom' (2017) co-starring Sridevi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In picture: Akshaye Khanna with Madhu Sapre at an event
Akshaye Khanna's latest film 'Ittefaq', which is a suspense thriller and remake of the 1969 film, releases today. In picture: Akshaye Khanna with Milind Deora and school cadets at an event