If I say it’s been crazy busy at work lately, will that excuse me missing Akshaye’s birthday? Or is that a weak excuse? I was tempted to just ignore it entirely, but then I found the time and I thought “better late than never”. So, here are 12 reasons I love him, plus one extra to make up for being late! And they are mostly performances, because he is a very private person.
1.1. I love him because he survived a very public and very odd childhood (more details here)
2. I love him because this odd childhood doesn’t seem to have permanently affected his relationship with his father or his half-siblings and stepmother, which is pretty remarkable.
3. I love him because he made an impression in only his second film, age 22, among a cast of veterans and stars.
4. And in his 3rd film, he pulled off the rare “father and son romanced the same actress” prize with Madhuri!
And it was SO MUCH LESS SCARY than when his father romanced her!
5. I love him because he lucked or talented (is that a word? It should be!) into a couple of classic AR Rahman song sequences right at the start of his career. First “Taram Pum” from Doli Saja Ke Rekhna.
6. Then “Nahin Samne” from Taal.
7. I love you because you hit your stride in the early 2000s, finding roles that managed to combine deep sensitive characters with popular success. Starting with Dil Chahta Hai, and then popping over to Canadian art cinema to do a friendly appearance in your brother’s film Bollywood/Hollywood.
8. You made my all time favorite Priyadarshan film.
9. And you made time to reunite with your Mohabbat co-star again! In a role so small that most “name” actors wouldn’t have even considered it.
10. But that is what I maybe love most about you! That you realized halfway through your career that you would rather do smaller interesting character parts than keep playing the romantic lead. And therefore, at only 30, you took two years off filming and came back playing the small detective role in 36 China Town.
11. And then after 6 years of playing the comic smaller part, you took another break. Okay, smaller comic part, and one amazingly fun villain. With an amazingly catchy love song.
12. And then you came back, as good as ever, to play another great villain in Dishoom!
13. And finally, my bonus reason to love you, remember that time you were in a movie with Amitabh and Sanjay Dutt who set his hand on fire?