"It is much more now than the time when I started out. That time there was nothing like that," Akshaye told while opening up about how the level of public scrutiny has increased for an actor.
"I don't like being out there all the time, or being constantly written about or photographed. I don't like to be always in the press, or on television or always be on seen. It is not how I like to lead my life. I barley read stuff about myself. Even when I see some article about myself in a paper or a magazine, nine out of 10 times, I skip it," he added.
Why is that? "Reading about myself on public platforms makes me uncomfortable. I don't like it. I read other people's interviews or articles, but when it comes to myself, if I see something about myself then I immediately turn over the page," said the 44-year-old.
Son of late actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna, Akshaye made his acting debut as a romantic hero in 1997 with "Himalay Putra", after starring in multi-starrer "Border" in the same year. But he hasn't seen the film since the time it released.
"I haven't seen 'Himalay Putra' since the time it released. I can't say there is any special reason for not seeing it. But I don't watch my older films. It doesn't give me a kick," he said.
After his debut, Akshaye continued his hit romantic streak with projects like "Aa Ab Laut Chalen", "Taal" and "Dil Chahta Hai". He also added comedy films such as "Hulchul" and "Hungama" to his resume. He explored darker roles with "Humraaz", "Race", "Naqaab", "Dishoom" and recent release "Section 375".
Directed by Ajay Bahl, "Section 375" is a courtroom drama where Richa Chadha plays the public prosecutor who is fighting the case of a rape victim Anjali Dangle, played by Meera Chopra. Akshaye is seen as a lawyer trying to defend the guy being accused of rape.
"All roles are fulfilling. But it is always nice to fool the audience into thinking that I am playing a bad guy and then when they come out of the theatre, they say 'no he was actually a good guy' like in 'Section 375'. That has happened for the first time in my career. And also, the audiences have accepted me in different characters, be it positive, negative, grey or black. Not many actors get accepted in a variety of roles and different kind of movies. I have been lucky in that sense," he said.
Asked how he has evolved as an actor, Akshaye said: "It is very difficult for me to explain. I myself don't understand if at all I have changed and how. It is best to leave that to the audience to judge."
Next, he will be seen in "Sab Kushal Mangal".
"It is a romantic comedy. I have not done comedy in a long time, so I am looking forward to it. It should be out by the end of the year," he said.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@.in)
( With inputs from IANS )