This year marks the 20th anniversary of Dil Chahta Hai, a much-loved buddy movie that went on to become a cult classic in Hindi cinema. Among the many fine things in the film, Akshaye Khanna’s portrayal of Sidharth Sinha — a sensitive, mild-mannered artist who falls in love with a divorcee much older than him — is especially endearing. It’s one of his most acclaimed roles. Asked if it’s one of his favourites, Khanna pauses for several seconds before saying yes.There is already a ton of trivia, interviews and long-form pieces of Dil Chahta Hai. But are there any anecdotes that the world doesn’t know yet?State of Siege: Temple Attack 2021.“You are asking the wrong person,” he says over a Zoom call from Mumbai “My memory is not that great. But I can tell you it was a very happy time in my life and a very happy shoot.”A lot might have changed in Khanna’s career since the film’s release but one thing that hasn’t is his feeling of fun when it comes to cinema. “Whether I’m participating in the process of filmmaking or just watching films, it has always been an enjoyable experience.”
Khanna’s filmography suggests he is genre-neutral. But he would have liked more action films than he has. It’s why he readily agreed to State of Siege: Temple Attack, in which he plays an NSG commando. The film, directed by Ken Ghosh, is inspired from the 2002 terrorist attack on Akshardham Temple in Gujarat.
This isn’t the first time he is playing a role where he is required to wear a uniform and handle big guns. In his second film, Border, he was a second lieutenant. He later played a lieutenant in LOC Kargil.So, what’s the fascination for uniforms and guns? “It’s just something that captures your imagination, I suppose,” he says, “Action movies are hugely popular all over the world. I love watching it repeatedly. Whether it’s a police officer or an army officer or anyone in those kinds of professions are attractive on a weird aspirational level.