Known as an action and comedy star, Bollywood’s ‘khiladi’ Akshay Kumar, who delivered a hit with “Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty”, says he enjoys doing a range of movies for his fans, but loves the “Heyy Babby” genre of entertainment most.
In an interview, Akshay has spoken out about his next release “Entertainment”, the fact that he works with newcomers and the variety of work that he picks on as an actor.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Your next release “Entertainment” is an out-an-out comedy. Do you feel your fan-base enjoys you in the laughathon the most?
A. My fans are incredible! Whatever makes them happy, I’m willing to do. They gave me so much praise for “Holiday…” and requested I do more cinema like this. But at the same time they said they still can’t wait for “Entertainment” to release! So I think if I give them the best of both worlds, which I’m juggling to do now with my next three films, then by god’s grace they’ll be happy, and I’ll feel worthy of their love and support. I am nothing without them.
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Q. That’s really modest of you.
A. It’s the truth! Actors are the ones that are supposed to set trends. But it doesn’t matter how much we think something works, if the audience says ‘NO MATE’, we can do nothing but walk away with our tails between our legs and come back with a better option next time.
Q. Curiously your main co-star in “Entertainment” seems to be an over-sized canine. The last film I remember about the rapport between the hero and a canine was “Teri Meherbaniyan” with Jackie Shroff. Do you feel films about the relationship between the hero and the animal kingdom like “Haathi Mere Saathi” can grab today’s audiences’ attentions?
A. Absolutely! In “Entertainment”, I think you’d have to be pretty cold-hearted not to feel for the Man vs Dog relationship. Believe me, there are more dog lovers out there than there are action freaks.
Q. How relevant is “Entertainment” to today’s definitions of movie entertainment?
A. Comedy isn’t relevant, comedy is what it is, it’s timeless, it’s fun, and if anyone tries to make it anything more than that, then they are “barking” up the wrong tree. Pun intended!
Q. This is also your umpteenth film with a debutant director, a duo of debutant directors – Sajid-Farhad. Do you enjoy working with new directors as much as you do with established ones?
A. Absolutely, if not more, as I can be more free to be versatile with debutants than with established directors, as they love to learn experiment and improvise with scenes much as I do. Most acclaimed directors like to play it their way and their way only, which is great, because you can’t be on fire all the time. But all kids like to run wild sometimes and if you’re going to make a laughathon, you need to make it with open-minded people who have hearts bigger than India’s map, and funny-bones softer than a puppy in a paddling pool.
Q. Curiously, you’ve lip-synced to a female playback voice in one of the songs in “Entertainment”. What brought that on?
A. Well, I just couldn’t resist. I was more than happy, if not delighted when I found out about ‘lip singing’ a female voice. When you go all out for a film why stop at anything?
Q. How keen are you at this stage of your career to do offbeat films, like you’ve done Neeraj Pandey’s “Special 26” and you’re doing his “Baby” also. So which do you enjoy more – “Baby” or “Heyy Babyy”?
A. I’ll always enjoy doing a “Heyy Babyy” more, because entertainment is, of course, entertainment. But doing a serious “Baby” is extremely fulfilling and rewarding as an individual and an actor. But seeing as I have the luck and the luxury to be invited to be a part of both, I can only say this ….I love my work, be it funny, serious, emotional, or useless. It makes me appreciate all I have done, good, bad or indifferent. I’m just glad I’ve done something.
Q. One sees you working with a slew of new actresses these days Tamannah, Taapsee Pannu, Kriti Sanon…Why do you need to constantly work with newcomers?
A. Why not? They deserve the right to be given a chance. I’ve always chosen to be instinctive rather than calculated. I think that’s one of the nicest things about me. If all leading men worked with the same talented heroines, how would our industry ever grow? It’s my duty to give back to this industry what was given to me.
Q. And what’s that?