Akshay Kumar tells Rochelle Fernandez that when critics give his films one star, they do the business of a seven star!
He is someone who has great comic timing but the last year saw him in films which were hard-hitting. He took the box office by a storm when he came out with AIRLIFT and people fell in love with Kumar one more time. But to tell you the truth, we have missed him cracking us up in a narrative like HOUSEFULL. Did he miss it too?
“I feel really good, a little bit relieved because comedy for me has always been a stress buster. Having said that, the whole process was very exhausting as well. You know, we had to shoot everything in one take. Be it the physical comedy or long dialogues it was at a stretch because if you cut and shoot comedy, it is not funny anymore. To tell you honestly, there were a lot of retakes in the film.
Overall, it feels very nice to be back with a comedy as I have not been a part of any comedy in the last two years. I don’t think I have cracked a joke too in a long time. Speaking of the time spent with everyone on set, it was wonderful. We have had so much fun which you must have seen on social media. But there were many more things which we can’t even post because they were so damn funny!”
Speaking of the film, the newest addition to the madcap family was AB Junior. Is he equally crazy?
He smiles and says, “I have worked with him before on one film and let me tell you his timing, when it comes to comedy, is terrific. I have watched him in films like BOL BACHCHAN and he was very good. In real life, his humour is more of an English humour which is very subtle. A lot of times, many people are not able to understand his English jokes. Bolke chala toh gaya par bata to sahi Oxford bhai… (Laughs)”
He has been a part of many comic capers but now he has consciously made a shift with films like RUSTOM and ROBOT 2. Was the repetitive format of comedy films the reason for this shift?
“I want to do various things. I don’t want to have a particular image of an action hero or a comic hero. I don’t want to be called a villain. I just want to keep changing the image that people make about me because I want to keep on challenging myself otherwise I would be bored. This is the reason why I try to finish shooting my films in 30-40 days so I can move on to the next one quickly. I don’t want to be shooting one thing for two years at a stretch. I would die… That is why I end up doing three to four films a year because if I take 40 days to shoot one film, what would I do for the next 300-something days? If you have any suggestion, please tell me. (Laughs)”
Well, full points to him! But to be able to have the zeal he had 25 years ago requires a lot of commitment. While many attribute his success to various reasons, he himself has always been a believer in luck. In his opinion, is everything ‘luck by chance’, so to speak?
“It is luck. Yes, I have worked hard, have chosen good films even bad films but luck has always been on my side. When I enter a studio and see a lot of models standing outside who want to get into this line with a great portfolio, I look at the person and go, ‘Wow, what a good looking guy…what a nice portfolio’. But he has been struggling for the past five to seven years. Why? There must be a reason for it. I have worked my ass off but, I always believe that luck has got its way of working. Many people have told me to my face during the screening of many films that they have hated it and it won’t work, but those films have worked wonders for me. On the other hand, when people praise me way too much with certain films, the theatres are empty when they release! I challenge anyone who can actually decide the fate of any film. It is not possible…Critics give many films one star and then it goes ahead and does the business of a seven star.
Let’s take AIRLIFT for instance – it is very nice that the audience likes such films. They believe in it and want to adopt such filmmaking. I have done SPECIAL 26, BABY and then AIRLIFT finally earned Rs. 125 crore. It is really nice to know that audience wants to see content driven films and we should be worried about what Hollywood is doing to us. There are many films which are beating us left right and centre. See, the truth of the matter is that we cannot compete with them with money as their films cost 200 million dollars and we are still in a Rs.70-Rs.90 crore bracket. So the only way we can compete with them is our content.”