Breaking cliches

Breaking cliches

Multifaceted actor

Breaking cliches
His pristine aesthetic is not limited to cinema. Unlike some, he talks with a reflective openness. Unlike many, he is unusually articulate and affable. An actor of singular charm, Rahul Khanna played the ISI officer Yousaf in the television series ‘The Americans’ and made many jaws drop.

In a freewheeling chat, the actor talks about how the spy in him is still alive, that incredible break-up story of his and why he would love to play Inspector Amar.

So how has life has been after ‘The Americans’? “Great,” he says. “The show as you know is extraordinary. It has received many Emmy nominations and my role got a lot of great feedback. I really enjoyed being on it. It has opened up a few new doors for me. And I hope some thing good comes out of those opportunities at some point.’’

As for seeing Yousaf again, he says, “Your guess is as good as mine. The last time we saw Yousaf in the show, he was still alive, which is a great sign. But since it is an espionage show, and especially with this show, the writers and the producers are notoriously secretive. One doesn’t really have any insight into what their plans are in terms of characters, if or when they are coming back but we can keep our fingers crossed. I would certainly love to be back on the show.”

It’s legendary that any project he takes up has a sophistication about it. Does he prepare for it?

“I think as an actor, you are so dependent on what’s offered to you. You just have to make the best choices and the way I chose to do stuff is to see whether it resonates with me in some way and it has some connection to the project or to the role or to the people working on it or all of the above,” he says.

“The way I prepare myself for anything is to just immerse myself in it. To be open to new ideas and just do what comes naturally in the part in terms of preparation, like really paying attention to details in terms of costuming and wardrobe, in making sure your lines are learnt beforehand, if there is any research that needs to be done, making sure that’s done and to just sort of committing to it and enjoying the process as much as possible. The most important thing is having fun doing it,” he adds.

It wouldn’t be a hyperbole to call him social media’s blue-eyed boy. He is at his ‘punniest’ best there.

He wrote his heart out some time back about a lost love and the internet offered a shoulder to cry on. But the twist was in the tail, literally. He was talking about a particular airline which breached his trust.

The internet went berserk, you tell the actor. “Yes it did,” he exclaims. “One of my major pet peeves in life is poor customer service and I especially hate big companies that take
loyalty for granted. I felt it was important to actually say something publicly in this case because apart from horrible customer service, I also felt it was possibly a serious security issue and I felt morally obligated to share that with people who were planning on flying that airline, but I wanted to do it in a creative way. I wanted it to be something that would reflect my personality and yet be hard hitting. And sort of get the message across. I couldn’t expect anything better because my breakup letter went viral. So I thought it really did get the message across.’’

The actor, who has a writer in him, enjoys reading David Sedaris and when he is not doing that, he is pursuing his wanderlust. Any interesting place that he had travelled to recently? “I would have to say China was really interesting. I was there recently on a shoot and it was fascinating because it’s such a different country from anything we are used to seeing on a day-to-day basis. And the culture is so ancient and yet all the developments are so staggering in terms of technology and construction and the Communist legacy. You can still feel it in the air almost. Of course, the food was fantastic.”

It’s time to talk movies and you want to know which Bollywood project he’d like to be part of.
“My all-time favourite movie would have to be my dad’s ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’. I thought it was such a feel-good, campy, over-the-top, larger-than-life, circus-like extravaganza.

It had everything from family, romance, action, music, and it always bring a smile to my face. So I think if I have to chose one Bollywood movie that I would love to be a part of, or it was ever remade, I would love to play the role of inspector Amar.’’
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