Akshay Kumar is in the midst of his busy promotional schedule but he’s more than willing to talk movies and his dream role, with Shweta Kulkarni.
‘‘Audiences will see a new and evolved Akshay Kumar,” announced ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAI DOBAARA director Milan Luthria recently. With his recent films like OMG: OH MY GOD and SPECIAL 26, Akshay definitely seems to have metamorphosed from a mere action hero to an actor with substance. Hence one would like to believe in Milan’s prophecy and not rubbish it as just a statement made to promote his film. Especially when it’s not only his director but his co-stars, Sonakshi and Imran, as well, who are going gaga over him!
So while everyone is all praise for him, one wonders what was the one thing in the film OUATIMD that made him sign on?
“The dialogues,” …he doesn’t even need a second to think. “Of course, the script is the primary factor and the opportunity to work with the super talented director, Milan Luthria. But seriously, the dialogues lured me. You know, nowadays not many people make films which are heavy on dialogues. It’s a pattern long forgotten and I thought it’s good to have a change and be a part of a film which is driven by dialogues. Plus, to be honest, the other thing that I loved when I heard the story was that it’s a romantic story of a villain and no one has explored the love story of a villain before. So, all these things got me to sign the film.”
Gangster films are always appealing, but don’t they often glorify crime and make bad look agreeable, even attractive?
“It’s not glorifying, it’s just a story and nobody takes it seriously,” he is quick to add. “Movies are for entertainment. See, if there are films made on superheroes like Spiderman, Batman, Superman, do we start believing that someone like this can ever exist? All I am trying to say, is that films are purely entertainment. They are stories and one should just enjoy them. That’s it.”
Akshay plays Shoaib Khan in the film, a character which was played by Emraan Hashmi in the prequel, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI. How does he take this character forward, in terms of moving it away from an Emraan Hashmi character and making it his own? Wasn’t he worried about taking up a character already played by someone else?
“Not at all, nothing like that; why should I be worried?” he says casually adding, “I don’t take it forward. I just come and quietly act – my director takes it forward along with me. A lot of people came and asked me, ‘What were you thinking… Why did you do this film… The earlier film was a hit… Was there any pressure on you?’ So I always have one answer: that I do not have any pressure because everything is on Milan and how he makes me do it.”
How was it working with Imran Khan?
“I think he is one of the most honest actors I have ever worked with,” he says fondly. “He is one actor who goes by the rule book. If there was ever a book written on the rules of acting, I am sure he must have studied it very well and he goes according to that.” His statement makes me wonder if there are any rules that he follows when in front of the camera. “I didn’t study any rule book,” comes the pat reply. “There are different types of clans and everyone has different ways to do it. I just flow and sometimes I go right and sometimes I go wrong. But this man would never go wrong.”
I am finding it a tad difficult to believe that Imran can never go wrong, but I let that pass and move on to the next question on my list… When he is working in a multi-starrer film, does he as an actor borrow creatively from the other actors in the film?
“We are like a family and we talk to each other, and every scene has been done together like a family. ‘Tu aise kar… Ek kaam karte hai, isse aise karte hain’…so this is how we are when we have to shoot,” he explains. “While filming OUATIMD, before even going into a scene, there used to be at least one hour of discussion that used to happen. We all used to sit and discuss the scene, talk and say our lines and we used to always give a master shot after which the cuts were taken. This is the way they wanted to go about it and it was a new experience for me also. You do learn new things in such a process and I enjoyed it. It’s great homework which I learnt thanks to Milan.”
Learning new things, evolving as an actor…there is a lot that is changing in Akshay and around him as well. The industry is flush with new talent and younger actors. Does he feel insecure about his standing in the industry as an actor today?
“No darling,” he says self-assuredly. “They have their own stage, I have my own stage. What they can do, I can’t, and what I can do they can’t. At the same time, there are around 185 films made every year. There are a handful of actors, like 15 maybe. So, each actor can do a film. Even if you multiply 15 by 2 it’s 30, minus 185. So there is nothing to feel insecure about it. Whatever is your role, if you fit the bill it will come to you, slowly, slowly.”
Agreed, there are many films made in the industry and there is work for everyone, but what about getting good stories, good scripts? In times of remakes and sequels, isn’t there a dearth of powerful scripts?
“No, I don’t think so,” he disagrees. “Nowadays there are so many good stories coming and I think gone are the days when films did not have different types of scripts. There are many good writers and they do come up with so many great ideas. Look at the recent films only, na - BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG, RAANJHANAA, LOOTERA... The ideas are there and the audience is also ready to take risks while going to watch a movie and that’s great news!”
Akshay is one of the few actors who has excelled in all genres be it action, comedy, thrillers, suspense… What is the one thing as an actor that he desires to do now?
“I have never played a psychopath; I would want to play one. Hope somebody comes with an interesting scrip
This article first appeared in August 2013 issue of Cine Blitz magazine