THE story goes that when Akshay Kumar asked director Nikhil Advani for the script of Chandni Chowk To China (CC2C) he showed him the movie poster. (For those who can’t remember the poster,it shows Akshay in a Chinese get up with two swords which resemble kebab sticks!) When Akshay asked Advani what was the idea of the story,Advani again showed him the poster while admitting he neither has a script nor an idea.
He just had the poster.
To this,Akshay is supposed to have said,”Congratulations,this is a new way of working. I really like the poster,it’s great,and I’m going to work in your film.” And that sealed the fate of CC2C.
In his pre-release publicity blitzkrieg,Akshay told this story with unbridled excitement. Many termed him as cocky or overconfident but in my opinion,he was being honest. Come on,a top star rarely admits that the script is the last priority when he green lights a project. It must have taken huge courage on Akshay’s part to admit that he gambled Rs 40 crore on a poster of a film. And for that reason itself Akshay deserves an honesty badge.
After all in Bollywood,who cares about the script? It’s still about making proposals. Sure,newbie directors are breaking grounds with new ideas but rarely do we come across top stars who dare to be fearless. Aamir Khan is an exception with Lagaan,Rang De Basanti and Taare Zameen Par. For the remaining big bracket stars,the script is usually on the last rung in the hierarchy of needs.
Other things like price and banner matter a lot. In some cases,it’s also the genre. If one day Saif Ali Khan feels like doing a stylish action thriller then he will call up and ask Sriram Raghavan to update Agent Vinod. Most often than not,big stars are just looking for big vehicles. On paper or poster,CC2C makes for a big vehicle and so don’t hang Akshay when he signed on the dotted line.
Some stars do films for other reasons. Salman Khan for instance has made a career out of doing charity films for friends and family. Last year itself he did Hello and Heroes for family and God Tussi Great Ho for friend Rumi Jaffery. SRK too has gone on record to say that he never asks buddies Karan Johar,Aditya Chopra or Farah Khan for scripts. Whenever they are ready with what they want to make,they call him and he signs up.
Unlike Hollywood,stars don’t champion the cause of a material here. Here everyone wants to make movies and not cinema. Ultimately,it all boils down to choices. Big stars want to keep their larger than life image intact and so they choose those films that let them further augment it.
So,when you hear that for his forthcoming underwater treasure hunt,Blue,Akshay (again) gave a nod after first time director Anthony D’ Souza showed him a PowerPoint presentation of underwater scenic beauty,don’t be surprised.
The script will follow,it always does.
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