Some actors play a role with such elegance and ease that people remember their characters when they look at them. It takes a great amount of perseverance and hard work to reach that level and one such example is Mr. Mukesh Khanna.
Mr. Mukesh Khanna is an actor that has never failed the audience. If you think of him, there are definitely two characters that will come to your mind. Shaktimaan and Bheeshma Pitamah from Mahabharat. And Mr. Mukesh Khanna feels that two characters in his career have helped him shape who he is today.
Team Sociobits connected with Mr. Mukesh Khanna to know more about what he is up to these days and his venture into the social media world.
Team Sociobits: We are aware that you have been active on-screen, off-screen as well as on social media. Would you tell us what ‘Mukesh Khanna’ finds interesting these days?
Mr. Mukesh Khanna: When a man walks on the path of life and comes across multiple crossroads, he thinks to himself whether he should walk on it or not. In my career, I am standing at one such crossroad. I have done more than sixty movies, and two of them helped me enhance my identity; Bheeshma Pitamah for elders and Shaktimaan for the young ones. Today I am living in the shadow of those characters.
On social media, people often tell me, “Sir, please leave those characters now and work on a new movie.” But I am very choosy. I don’t do a film just because it is offered to me. Even after Mahabharat, 25 films were offered to me but out of those I rejected 22 and only accepted 3- Saugandh, Saudagar, and Tehelka. After 30-40 years, I am the same person. I am offered a film and people tell me to give my blessings. I wonder what would my blessing do and I reject it.
So, when I am part of the Mukesh Khanna show on my channel Bheeshm International, where I have a million subscribers, that is my third image. It is where I express my thoughts and I have created more than 500 videos.
“I created it because I wanted to set it up against another TV show. That show featured obscenity and dialogues with ‘double-meaning’, I was also invited to that show but I refused to go.”-Mr. Mukesh Khanna
I have spoken on almost every topic one can imagine and I speak my heart out. I think that when I wake up in the morning, I just know what I want to speak about today. Everyone differentiates between off-screen and on-screen but for me, it is not different. All these cameras are the same for me. It doesn’t matter whether it doesn’t make a difference whether I am on a professional camera or a mobile camera. My performance will be the same.
Team Sociobits: As you mentioned, you have created the Mukesh Khanna how do you decide which guest you are going to call today?
Mukesh Khanna: In my journey of 40 years, I have been associated with many people, and if I give them a call, I know that I have a bond with them be it any of my movies. So, I began with the artists of Shaktiman and Mahabharat, but slowly I realized that they are busy. So, I moved on to call guests from the film industry.
So, I am desiring to call as many guests. In fact, I also wish to invite Arnab Goswami someday. Although I have never sat on the chair that you are sitting on currently, I have always been the interviewee but now I want to be the interviewer. It is a new experience but I feel like I can do it. We have crossed more than 50 celebrities and I can tell you honestly that I had a motive to create my talk show.
I created it because I wanted to set it up against another TV show. That show featured obscenity and dialogues with ‘double-meaning’, I was also invited to that show but I refused to go. To prove that interviews can be conducted politely and respectfully, I made the Mukesh Khanna Show. If you notice, the name is similar to another show that I would rather not say.
Team Sociobits: On your show, you also interviewed a character of yours, ‘Gangadhar Shastri’, so how did you create it?
Mukesh Khanna: I think the credit goes to a lot of people, including the editor, Mr. Samit Bansal, and it was very difficult to edit it. It was more difficult for me as compared to the team as I had to speak as Mukesh Khanna in one frame, dress up and switch to the character in the next. I am glad that it turned out to be brilliant.
Team Sociobits: We also noticed that Bheeshm International is associated with the teaser of the upcoming Shaktimaan movie. Would you share something about that?
Mukesh Khanna: I can only speak as much as I am allowed to and the biggest thing to share is that, the movie is being created with me. If I wanted, I could have given away the rights to a big production house ten years ago but I refused to. Instead, I told ‘aap uska khichdi bana kar de denge’ (you will make a mess out of it). So, after ten years, I have a partner with me that is Sony International.
“So, it’s a big relief for me to tell the audience that YES! I AM COMING BACK. I cannot share any more details but all I can say is that I am associated with them.”-Mr. Mukesh Khanna
It took two years for us to create this because I didn’t want to change a lot of things in the movie and I wished to keep the soul of Shaktimaan alive. There are not one but three films and the budget is 100-200 crores. So, it’s a big relief for me to tell the audience that YES! I AM COMING BACK. I cannot share any more details but all I can say is that I am associated with them.
Team Sociobits: You also got the role of Bheeshma Pitamah in Mahabharat in your 30s. How did you prepare for a role like that at such a young age?
Mukesh Khanna: The irony is that when I was young, I was Bheeshma Pitamah and when I got older, I became Shaktiman. But at that time I had already done 15 movies and I was not a raw actor. I also had a lot of films lined up. So, I was offered Bheeshma Pitamah. In fact, the interesting part is that I was offered the role of Duryodhan but I was sure that I cannot play the villain. Chopra Sir insisted that you will play the character of Duryodhan very well but I was looking to play the characters of either Arjun or Karna.
Vinod Khanna once told me, “Mukesh, you got the cream of Mahabharat” Even then, I didn’t know that I was going to play the role of Bheeshma. I witnessed the characters of Arjun and Karna walking past me and I kept watching but destiny wanted me to play the role of Pitamah and it still resonates in people’s hearts.
From being Shaktimaan to Bheeshma Pitamah, Mukesh Khanna has always displayed versatility in his acting. Now, Mukesh Khanna is exploring new avenues in his career and sending out the message that learning never stops.