Manish Khanna reveals why he’s always the villain…and why he loves it

He is an actor and a director and his journey has been a rewarding one. We’ve seen him play some significant roles in movies like Jai Ho, D-day, My Wife’s Murder and a few more. And most of all, we love him for the outstanding villain he portrays on Indian television.
The roles that have moulded Manish Khanna into a man who plays villain best are Star Plus’ Pardes Mein Hai Mera Dil where he played Balraj Lala Mehra and Colors TV’s Naagin where he played Ankush Raheja.
He recently made an entry as an antagonist ‘Laalji Bhai’ on Sony TV’s Jaat Ki Jugni.
spoke to Manish about his love for negative roles and how he carries them out. Read on..
On his love for negative characters, Manish says, “As an actor I like playing both positive and negative. But I choose to be the villain because the audience loves me like that. In Naagin, even though I was an antagonist, I had different shades; there was a comical side, there was a horrifying side. Being an actor, you’ve to be ready to play all kinds of roles. People like seeing me as a villain, then why not?”
What according to him are the fundamental qualities to be a villain? “First are the looks. I think my eyes speak more than my words; that’s why I am a very believable villain. You can underplay a villain; you don’t always need to go overboard. You don’t always need to shout and be loud. I’ve always acted it out in a subtle manner.”
How did he acquire his negative role skills? “I am a director before I am an actor. I’ve been assisting Santram Varma who is the one of the best director in Indian television right now. I got my instinct for such roles by staying behind the camera. I never went to theatre. I never went to an acting school. Acting cannot be learned. It has to be within you. I improvise a lot. I keep on changing my body language. I never stick to my dialogues. As long as the results are better, no one minds it. Acting means ‘not acting’. That’s a very important thing to understand.”
Playing Ankush Raheja in Naagin has been the most challenging role in Manish Khanna’s carreer. “It was the most challenging role. It had too many shades, too many variations; definitely the most powerful role I’ve played in my career. It got me a lot of recognition. I really enjoyed it.”
No matter how intimidating and evil Manish might be on-screen, there is one thing that he is scared of in real life. “I am petrified of snakes. I have this immense phobia. When I was playing Laxman in Jai Hanuman, there was a sequence where Megnath pulls the bow and arrow, and the arrow turns into a snake which coils around my neck. That was the worst experience of my life.”
Does the talented actor believe in real life revenge? “I believe in karma. If you do good things, you’ll get good things in return and vice versa.”
Manish will now also be seen in Sony TV’s historical drama Peshwa Bajirao as Bahadur Shah Jaffar who is Aurangzeb’s elder son.
Well, Manish Khanna really did give us deep insights into his acting life. We wish him all the best for a prosperous stint in the future!

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