Akshaye Khanna was the first and last choice for Tarun Ahlawat: Abhishek Pathak

Akshaye Khanna was the first and last choice for Tarun Ahlawat: Abhishek Pathak
The Hindi box office, which is facing a continuous drought since Brahmastra was released in September, is rejoicing these days with the success of Drishyam-2. In five days of release, the film has managed to do a business of about 120 crores globally, while at the Indian box office it has so far managed to do business of more than 83 crores. Although the whole film revolves around Ajay Devgan, Akshaye Khanna takes all the credit for the success of the film. The role of the investigator in the sequel to Drishyam, originally made in Malayalam, is not as big as Abhishek Pathak, the director of the Hindi sequel, has kept him. Recently in one of his interviews given to indianexpress.com, he spoke openly about the character of Akshaye Khanna.
Much before the scripting of the Hindi adaptation of Drishyam 2 was completed; Director Abhishek Pathak knew that he wanted to have actor Akshaye Khanna on board one way or another. The director said, when he saw the original Malayalam sequel featuring Mohanlal, he realized that there was space to expand the character of the investigator and give it a crazy twist. The team unanimously thought of giving that spin to Akshaye Khanna.
In the original, there is a police character who is investigating the whole case, but I wanted to make an edgy film. The world of Drishyam is simply outstanding. The man, who is leading the investigation, we thought of making him a crazy character. As we started writing, the character became very interesting.
When the director pitched the film to Akshaye Khanna, he said the actor was a bit reluctant as the Drishyam franchise already had a set star cast with Ajay Devgn, Tabu, and Shriya Saran. Khanna was entering its world with a new character, so he wanted it to be worth it.
Initially, when I met Akshay sir, he was very unsure. Did he ask, why me? This is Ajay Sir's film. If you bring me into the film, something must be different otherwise I don't know. I told him that you read the script, and don't immediately tell me what you think about it. I was at his farmhouse in Alibaug. He read the script and by the time I got home, he said, I'm doing the film!
Drishyam 2, which was released on 18 November to a bumper response at the box office, features Devgn as Vijay Salgaonkar while Tabu returns as Meera Deshmukh. The film follows the struggle of Vijay and his family, who are still under suspicion after the death of the Inspector General of Police's son.
Pathak said that before modeling Khanna's character, he thought of a scene involving the family dealing with this mad investigator. I wrote the scene and thought, who can do magic for this character? I thought only Akshay can do it because he is an eccentric actor and he has some weird way of doing some scenes and he will do crazy scenes. I told him that I would come up with something for him and started writing the script.
Many people write and then think about casting, but we started writing for them. The draft had all the qualities that we know about him as an actor and we put that on paper. His name was only Akshaye Khanna in the entire draft! We changed it to Tarun Ahlawat much later.
Drishyam 2, starring Ishita Dutta, Mrinal Jadhav, and Rajat Kapoor, has emerged as a huge box office success, ending the dry spell Bollywood was going through since the big release Brahmastra in September.

(with language input)