Even for Akshay Kumar, who is considered one of the most punctual stars in the Hindi film industry, working in his first Tamil film 2.0 was nothing short of a reality check.
“I, sometimes, feel a newcomer should do five films there and then come here. He or she will learn a lot,” Akshay told a large group of journalists, ahead of 2.0’s release.
Akshay Kumar added that the Southern film industry is far more professional than Bollywood, which continues to have a lackadaisical working style. “If the shoot time is 7.30, the shooting will start at 7.30 sharp. Here, 7.30 means you can come by 9.30. Their superstars come on time on set.
“Being a professional is different there. You learn a lot there. In a day, they take 30-40 shots. Here, we do 12-13 shots. They are so fast! They don’t take other people for granted. They value other people’s time,” said the actor.
2.0, which is the sequel to Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s Enthiran (2010), stars Akshay as the antagonist. It has been directed by Shankar. Akshay could not stop gushing about the director and even called him “James Cameron on steroids”.
“This is the best technical film India has ever produced. It’s originally made in 3D, not transformed in it. It’s an amazing concept to watch in 3D. Mr Shankar is James Cameron on steroids. Everything is larger than life. It’s like when you watch Transformers and you see two robots fighting and you feel ‘wow!’,” he said, adding that international filmmakers cannot pull off something that Shankar and his team did in a budget of approximately Rs 500 crores.
“We can’t compete with them because their budget is some 17 times higher than ours. Trust me in this 510 crores, they can’t make what we have made.” During the interview, a journalist asked his reaction on Rajnikanth’s recent word of praise for him that 2.0 belongs only to Akshay. A visibly awkward Akshay said the film is very much Rajinikanth’s and he happens to be its Amrish Puri.
“He is just being humble. It’s very much his film because the title is 2.0. I can’t be that. He is 2.0. He is just being kind and nice to me. I respect him for that. It’s very much his film. I am just the Amrish Puri of the film,” the actor said.
Talking about his maiden experience of sharing screen space with Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar said he was stunned at the ability of his co-star to turn even a normal dialogue into an epic one. “We used to talk in Marathi. He is a Maharashtrian and I also know the language. So, we used to enjoy speaking in Marathi. He is a great man. And it’s amazing you give him one dialogue and he changes it into an epic dialogue. He puts entertainment in every line.”
After 2.0, which arrives in theaters this Thursday, Akshay will focus his energy on the recently announced Mission Mangal. Also starring Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Nithya Menon and Kirti Kulhari in the lead roles, Mission Mangal is being directed by Jagan Shakti and also has R Balki as one of the producers besides Akshay.
The actor said it was amazing how there wasn’t an iota of insecurity among the female stars about working with each other, something he feels male stars need to learn about. “The scripts demands them to be ahead. They are the real heroes. I am supposed to be behind them even though I am producing it. I am very happy to see these five girls, who are very big in their own way, not bothered that there are five of them coming together.
“The attitude of ‘why should I do it’ isn’t there. I don’t think five heroes will come together. I don’t think so. But when I approached them, they were very happy with their roles and we’re ready to do the film,” said Akshay Kumar.
Besides Mission Mangal, Akshay has period drama Kesari, Housefull 4 and Prithviraj Chauhan biopic in his kitty.