compare/contrast: Akshaye Khanna and John Cusack

My superwow friend Celi brought up this comparison today. (And just so you know whose brain you're dealing with, Celi is also the co-founder of the [Somewhat Un]official Shashi Kapoor Fan Club on Facebook. Yeah!) Here are the smilarities I've come up with so far:
  • both have close family members also prominent in the film industry (sister Joan; father Vinod)
  • both tend to avoid media fracas and keep their private lives relatively private
  • both have acting skills far beyond the general quality of many of the productions they're in (America's Sweethearts, Serendipity; Shaadi Se Pehle, Aap Ki Khatir)
  • both have delivered very strong performances as iconic longing boyfriends (Say Anything; Dil Chahta Hai)
  • both have played artists in love with much older women (Bullets over Broadway; Dil Chahta Hai)
  • have starred in movies featuring road trips (The Sure Thing; Dil Chahta Hai).
If it weren't for DCH I'm not sure if I could have done much with this idea, and now that I'm thinking about it, Sid is a very John Cusacky sort of role. (Sorry to sound Hollywood-centric; that's my first frame of reference for movies, and John's been acting longer anyway.) Admittedly I have seen and am generally familiar with far more of John's movies than Akshaye's, and I'm finding no comparison for the fantastically weird Being John Malkovich, the fantastically interesting Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and the fantastically dark and wickedly funny Grosse Pointe Blank (one of my favorite movies, by the way). This mental exercise is also reminding me that apart from Being Cyrus, I can't even think of any off-beat comedies in Hindi in the last ten years that would be the kind of things that would make a truly fair comparison of roles and overall feel of projects. So we'll have to go for style and approach, I think. Celi is definitely on to something: choosy-ish actors who can nail the rom-com hero roles when they want to but usually opt for other types of projects that don't garner them the mass attention and/or recognition that they could have gotten had they taken easier paths.

What say all of you? And can anyone find a clip of John Cusack hoofing it so we can have a dance-off?


This is the best I could find:

An while Akshay aint the best dancer, he does have an advantage over mr cusak as far as dance-offs go :)
The Chuck said…
But John John has sung the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field (like 50 times)...
And here's 40 more reasons to love him:
My vote for choreography is this violent but weirdly beautiful clip from Grosse Pointe Blank.
I've been known to watch this scene repeatedly because his movements are so impressive. It helps to be tall and wear a stylin' black suit, I'm sure.
the chuck - I didn't know you could type? Are you dictating this to Tamara? And as for that list, you said it!
Anonymous said…
Hmmm. I LOVE John Cusack but I'm sorry to say that I really dislike Akshaye Khanna. Also love Cusack sister and Khanna dad, but just so...bad at picking movies to be in! (except DCH).
Anonymous said…
One more thing they have in common though: neither married at a ripe old age (for the respective culture) and rumored to be gay :-)
nahinnnn- I know AK makes bad career choices, but he deserves some love :)

Never Mind!! said…
Hmm thats some comparison! Dancing definitely doesnt seem like AK's forte. He manages to make a complete fool of himself next to Madhuri in one-of-those-love-triangles. But I must admit I think he is a great actor and a cute one that too. Too bad he had to resort to hair weaving.

On a second thought, I like Rahul Khanna, the sibling, even better. 1947: The Earth was one of his stunning performances I think.

And Oh, AK is gay!??! never heard the rumor. Too bad.
Anonymous said…
I didn't say they WERE gay (not that there's anything wrong with it), just that it's a rumor that goes around!

And Rahul I do like, a lot; sorry about AK though. Never going to happen for me.
memsaab - Gasp! I must know more about your dislike for Akshaye!

Shweta - Amen.

Never Mind!! - I agree with you about the dancing. Definitely not his forte.

Everyone - Rahul Khanna is also awesome. Plus I like how he tries to help elephants.
Elizabeth said…
This is just a little recommendation for a comedy for you, Beth...

Have you seen Khosla Ka Ghosla? It's awesome. :)
I've been wanting to see that but keep forgetting to look for it at the video store. Thanks for the reminder! I've heard great things.
Bollywood said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Never Mind!! said…
I second elizabeth about Khosla ka Ghosla. One of the few refreshing movies in the recent past.
tBF - Yeah, that's another one I've heard good things about and keep meaning to rent.... My "to watch" list is completely out of control. Which, let's be honest, is a very good problem to have.
akshayefan said…
The gay rumours abound for Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan too. FWIW, I think Akshaye is the best star in Indian movie industry ever. I have seen him in real life too and he is truly spellbinding.
remission said…
i'm with memsaab on this one. cusack, thumbs up. AK, thumbs down. but then i have the mess that was hungama to remember him by. i didn't appreciate him in the coke commercial that is taal either. at least he shaves his head to deal with the receding hairline. better than a combover.
CanadianKen said…
Enjoyed reading your comparison of Akshaye and John Cusack. Both are terrific. And - by the way - I like Akshaye's dancing. Fluid and soulful.Especially in DOLI SAJA KE RAKHNA. You mentioned you couldn't think of any strong off-beat Hindi comedies from the past decade. Check out WAISE BHI HOTA HAI PART II(2003, directed by Shashanka Ghosh). It's one of a kind, darkly funny and very affecting. Arshad Warsi stars (he's excellent)and there's a strange little subplot involving Mahima Chaudhary (playing herself). But the standout performance comes from a marvelous young actor called Prashant Narayan
who plays a melancholy, charismatic gangster with Akshaye-like intensity.
Moana - I'm no fan of Hungama either (though oddly I like Hulchul). As much as I miss his hair, I'm all for aging gracefully.

Love your post on "Dard-e-Disco"! :)

CanadianKen (great name, by the way) - I still haven't seen DSKR but by all accounts need to. His dancing overall is by no means my favorite, but I'd say it's adequate at worst, generally speaking, and sometimes quite fun. My favorite example is the engagement party song in Kudrat, where he gets to be quite winking and saucy. Thank you for the film recommendation - that sounds exactly my cup of tea.
Ashley said…
OMG! You are really on to something! They do have a lot in common (and they attract similar fans, like you and me!!).

Akshaye and John at a cocktail party. What fun would that be???

BTW - have you seen the pics of Aishwarya on the red carpet at Cannes with Eva Longoria? I thought it was interesting. I wonder if they are friends or if their limos simply arrived at the same time... hmmm....
Thanks Ashley! I think the fan base overlap is pretty interesting. We need more JC-like role options for AK, that's for sure.

Are you going to throw that party? I'm totally there.

I have seen those pictures! My hunch is the connection is because they're both L'Oréal spokespeople. Whose dress did you like better?
Anonymous said…
A friend of mine named Sandhya wrote a nice little post on JC where she made this comment:

Most of his roles are about the guy in checked shirts who’s quite cool in an ‘alternative’ sense who almost got the girl. He’s the Jeaneane Garofalo of romance. And therefore more attainable. Yet worth pursuing when you’ve figured out that the sexy scowling professional salsa dancer is interested more in crack than human beings.

You can read the whole post here. I doubt that description applies to Akshaye, though.

That was a well-written piece! I'll have to think it over re: Akshaye, but my gut is that you're right - that description is not an area in which they overlap.
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