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Actor Akshaye Khanna describes 2019 as a fantastic year that saw him play interesting roles.

“Two films that were very close to my heart [‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ and ‘Section 375’] and that I was so proud to be associated with released in 2019 … It has been such a beautiful year. I can’t complain. Now I play a multi-dimensional role in my new film where he is a thug and a politician from a small town,” said Khanna in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!.

He will kick start 2020 with his romantic triangle ‘Sab Kushal Mangal’, which means ‘All Is Well’.

Here are five things to know about it:

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1. Akshaye Khanna spearheads this romantic comedy ‘Sab Kushal Mangal’, set in a small town in Bihar. For the first time in his career, the award-winning actor known for his suave roles in movies such as the courtroom drama ‘Section 375’ and slice-of-film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, will be seen playing an uncouth local goon/politician with incredible clout who falls in love with a woman for the first time in his life. But his character, Babu Bhandari, isn’t great at handling rejection.

“It’s one of the sweetest, loveliest scripts that I have done in a long time. It’s one of those feel-good, funny romantic comedies,” said Khanna.

2. In the trailer, his character with a handle moustache appears obnoxiously stubborn but Khanna insists that his character is one of the “sweetest things about the film”.

“He’s extremely endearing … It’s a classic case of ‘looks being deceptive’,” said Khanna. But will his character, based in the Northern Uttar Pradesh belt, stick in the post #MeToo era, where stalking or being aggressive in a courtship is no longer normalised or condoned?

“There’s nothing to be sensitive about anything. It’s very easy say things when you haven’t seen the film. Such thoughts will disappear once you see the film … It’s pure, wholesome entertainment steeped in our culture, our emotions … It’s a desi, Indian film,” said Khanna. He wants us not to over-analyse or intellectualise his film either. The movie will leave you in a positive frame of mind, he promises.

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3. ‘Sab Kushal Mangal’ is directed by Karan Vishwanath Kashyap. It’s his first directorial feature, although he has assisted directors such as Mani Ratnam in ‘Raavan’ and director Shimit Amin in ‘Chak De! India’ (2007). The movie was extensively filmed in Ranchi.

“‘Sab Kushal Mangal’ is a situational comedy set in a small town in Bihar … There’s a certain innocence that will endear to everyone,” said Kashyap in a separate interview. He adds that this is his labour of love and it took him at least eight years to realise his dream of directing a full-length feature film.

4. Padmini Kolhapuri’s son Priyaank Sharma makes his acting debut with this film. He plays a TV anchor who falls in love with the same woman as Khanna’s character.

“Nothing was handed to them on a platter. They had to undergo auditions and an acting workshop before we finalised the cast … Sharma suited the role so well … I knew the nepotism stamp would be on him because he is a star kid, but he suited the part of Pappu Sharma so well,” said director Kashyap.

Khanna, who’s the most seasoned actor when compared to Sharma, also claims he didn’t shepherd the newcomers.

“That’s not my job to do … That’s my director’s job to handle all the actors — newcomers or seniors. I didn’t overlook any of the preparations,” said Khanna.

5. Actor Ravi Kishan’s daughter Riva Kishan also makes her acting debut with this romantic comedy, produced by Nitin Manmohan who has backed films such as ‘Bol Radha Bol’ in the past. Riva plays the object of desire of two men in this murky love triangle.

“Every character — small or big — in this film is important and an integral part of the comedy … The wit and the humour arises from the quirky situations,” said director Kashyap.

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Don’t miss it!

‘Sab Kushal Mangal’ is out in the UAE on January 2.