I witnessed 10 minutes of stoic silence in the theatre, with many shedding tears for Nakul (Abhishekh Khan) as they watched Goodbye. The moving scene where the youngest kid of the family (played by Khan) learns of his mother’s passing evokes a multitude of grievous emotions. Much to my awe, I soon discovered that the actor who played the role was marking his Bollywood debut with this film. Needless to say, Khan was such a natural all through, and did complete justice to an offer of a lifetime: being cast alongside the stalwart of Indian cinema i.e. Amitabh Bachchan!
I was introduced to Abhishekh Khan through Goodbye. But interestingly enough, this was not the first project that he did and garnered appreciation for. Even before debuting in films, the actor starred in Bard Of Blood as Nusrat Marri. His innocent yet assertive character made an indelible impression on viewers, and years later, here he is.
During a phase when he wasn’t really working on OTT projects or had signed up for Goodbye, the actor kept himself busy by working on ads as well as different projects like a short film titled, When Plato came Home, a song titled Tum Ho Meri Jaan by Dhruv Kapoor, and theatre work at Prithvi theatres. Most importantly, Khan shined through in each role he undertook.
In a freewheeling chat, the actor chats up with MW about working with Amitabh Bachchan, his views on the industry as an ‘outsider’, OTT plans, and the road ahead.
Excerpts from the interview:
A debut as big as Goodbye can be life-changing. How does it feel, now that your role is being accepted by the audience?
It feels great. I have been hopping from one theatre to another to catch reactions from the audience towards Nakul. Most of them have made me emotional. I was very nervous before the release, but I think it’s all worth it now. Nakul is special & so is Goodbye!
Big B is an institution in himself. Being around him on the sets, what was your biggest takeaway?
I have learned a lot of things by just being around him. He was the most hardworking actor on the sets and also the easiest to work with. He’s calm and composed, and also very observant. You name a quality and he has it. Amitabh sir is and will always be the greatest for various reasons. The biggest takeaway from this whole experience of working with him is to never take yourself seriously and to never stop learning.
Vanity holds quite a major importance for an actor, but you shaved your head in your first film only. What made you take this decision?
I believe in living with the character and being the character with all my heart. I can’t cheat the audience. You can’t play with their feelings. And this specific decision made my director smile wide, so anything for the man who gave me the golden opportunity to share the screen with the megastar, Amitabh Bachchan. It’s also connected to something personal in my life. So I’m glad I did it.
Theatres are failing to gather audiences, especially when it comes to Bollywood films. Does that make you a little sceptical as an actor who has just started his journey?
I would say I’m very confused about the situation right now. I wouldn’t lie, but Goodbye hasn’t done well in the theatres when it comes to numbers, even after being an original film. Though 80 per cent of the audience are loving the film, it still hasn’t scored high on numbers. So, I don’t know what to say or do. I just hope things change soon.
South cinema is winning. As a young actor and someone who loves cinema so much, what do you think is lacking in our films?
I would say originality is the major issue, and also the lack of talent. There are plenty of writers, filmmakers, and actors waiting in the queue to be discovered. Trust is also a major factor when we speak of originality. We need to start trusting filmmakers and their vision and give films the love that they deserve.
The outsider vs insider debate is omnipresent. You have come here from just pure effort. Anything you’d want to say to people who are looking up to you?
I would say I’m from the crowd and the crowd has many more like me. Don’t lose hope, keep at it. We shall rise and shine. Cinema is for everyone and not for some specific family or group.
Goodbye was quite an unconventional debut for an actor. What made you say yes to the film?
I’m still not in a position where I can choose my projects. I had to audition for Goodbye, and the only information I had was that it is a film directed by Vikas Bahl. Rest is happening right in front of your eyes.
A debut also allows you to learn from your mistakes and cherish your achievements. What’s the one thing you take away from the whole experience and one thing you’d cherish?
I’ll cherish the fact that I got to work with Amitabh sir in my first film. What I take away from the whole experience is to be kinder to other films and artists, and also to make sure to give them the respect they deserve.
In the coming years, what will Abhishekh Khan be seen doing work-wise?
I genuinely don’t have an answer to this, as I still have to audition and wait for the right roles. But I’ll try my best to do original films through and through.
A director you wish to work with?
A film that stayed with you?
An actor you’d want to work with next?
A film you wish you were a part of?
A message to your younger self?
Don’t lose hope buddy, you’ll make it.
(Featured Image Credits: Instagram @abhishekhkhan)