Special: Actor Rahul Khanna talks about being back with Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's Lost

Actor Rahul Khanna talks about fashion, cinema and his endless fights with actor brother Akshaye Khanna

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  20th August 2021 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  20th August 2021 12:00 AM
Rahul Khanna

Rahul Khanna, credit: Sheetal Mallar

Rahul Khanna so reminds you of those unwonted men straight out of the mushy Mills and Boon tales — the dapper look, the chiselled face, the calm demeanour and soft manners, everything about this ageless actor makes you go weak in the knees. The self-proclaimed “Boutique Bollywood Actor” with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour was recently in Kolkata to film for director Anirudhha Roy Chowdhury’s next Hindi movie, Lost. We got a rare glimpse of Rahul as he spoke at length about his lifestyle, hobbies, fashion and fitness choices.

What made you say yes to Lost?

I was really impressed with the script that’s so well-written with such a great economy of words. It had nothing overstated and there was a gentleness in writing. I look for characters that are unique, and I was never approached to play such a character before this.

Rahul Khanna
Rahul Khanna, pic credit: Paul Gregory

How do you prepare for any character?

I like a lot of rehearsals. I’m not necessarily a method actor but I like to be very well-prepared and need to know all my lines beforehand and have sessions with the hair, makeup and costume teams so that when I come to shoot, I don’t need to think about anything else but my character.

How has the pandemic changed you as a person?

The pandemic has made me re-evaluate what’s important to me and let go of what’s not important. There were certain friendships that naturally melted away and I realised they were really not rooted in anything substantial and perhaps were frivolous. Also, since I have always been minimalist, I gave away loads of stuff (that I got the time to sort through during the pandemic), to those who need them.

What did you wish to become as a child?

I love animals, so, at some point, I wanted to become a vet or a horse trainer. I was also very creative and doodled and that attracted me to the world of entertainment and I studied acting though I never consciously thought of becoming an actor.

Rahul Khanna, pic credit: Clad
Rahul Khanna, pic credit: Clad

Did your father (late actor Vinod Khanna) ever influence you? What are your memories with him?

My parent split when we were very young, so I didn’t grow up with him and hence he had no direct influence on my decisions. I actually haven’t seen many films of my dad but I love Amar Akbar Anthony and also like him in Qurbaani, Dayavan and a couple of others. When we (Rahul and his brother, actor Akshaye Khanna) were very young he used to take us out in the sea in a little motorboat and it was so much fun since he was very adventurous.

Tell us about your bond with Akshaye?

We are very close to each other but we also have strong opinions about everything and so, we are constantly fighting. There are lots of fights, a lot of pulling each other’s legs and in case of any tiff; it’s always me who extends the olive branch. He also tries to boss me around, though I don’t let him.

What kind of films do you watch?

I like a lot of old films of Cary Grant and stylish thrillers like Thomas Crown Affair, Ocean’s 11, Talented Mr Ripley and I love Quentin Tarantino movies, especially Jackie Brown.

Apart from Leila, you haven’t been seen in any web projects. Why?

I didn’t like the roles offered so far, but I am reading a couple of web scripts currently. You will turn 50 next June.

Rahul Khanna
Rahul Khanna, pic credit: Clad

Your secret to good looks?

I really enjoy exercising and eating healthy. Since I have a short attention span; I don’t like spending several hours in the gym. I prefer short but intense intervals of workout sessions involving a balanced mix of cardio, weights and functional movement. I also go for long walks and meditate to destress.

Fashion choices?

My fashion taste is quite simple and I don’t like colours in my wardrobe. White, Navy blue, grey and black comprise my preferred colour palette and I like subdued outfits in cotton, linen and wool. My sartorial picks depend on how they make me feel besides the occasion I am dressing for. If I am just hanging out with friends, I am mostly in a grey T-shirt and white shorts.

Rahul Khanna
Rahul Khanna, pic credit: Paul Gregory

Your diet?

I have whole, unprocessed food and organic, seasonal, local veggies. I rarely eat out and enjoy homemade food. My comfort food is homemade potato chips. I replaced sugar many years back with stevia. At times I have dark chocolate and my comfort drink is coffee with a little skimmed milk and stevia.

Are you single, or seeing someone?

I am not going to answer that, but I feel there’s nothing wrong with being single. I am very happy in my own company. If you ask what attracts me to a woman, it has to be her sense of humour, integrity and kindness.