One-on-One With Akshay Kumar: A Gem to Indian Cinemaby OPINIONEXPRESS.IN August 14, 2018 0 comments
Shaking off the action-hero label off his back, the famous bollywood star, Akshay Kumar, has reinvented himself as a versatile actor. He shares the details of his latest period drama, Gold, with Asmita Sarkar.
Actor Akshay Kumar, who had begun to be called Khiladi Kumar because of his famous franchise, has literally been a sport about his run in the industry, trying out different rules. Negotiating crests and troughs, he today has settled himself in a comfortable space as a solo crusader. With an increasing number of movies about patriotism in his filmography that made sound commercial sense, he’s now the poster boy of nation- building. However, the actor hates being boxed into a stereotype.
“I feel stifled being categorised. I don’t do patriotic movies because I want to prove something. I do it because the stories are so beautiful. The story of Gold is based on real events in post-1947 India. In the film, which is 70 percent factual, we’re planning to build a team but something happens which shatters the plan. This leaves me with just one year to make a team for the 1948 Olympics. It was important since our country had just taken birth after 200 years of colonialism. There was no sports ministry, there was no money, clothes or shoes. But I’m also doing Housefull 4, Hera Pheri, Good News, Kesari and a horror comedy,” he said.
He met one of the players from the 1948 team, who had won the gold medal in the Olympics. The 95-year-old held Kumar’s hand and cried tears of joy because of the recognition the team is receiving 70 years after the incident.
“I believe that players should be paid more even now but there was an era when they didn’t get anything and yet they attained great heights. We have to keep trying,” he said. Talking about the sport, he said that it doesn’t make sense for one game to be a national sport while others are not paid enough attention. “Every game is a national game. They should all be practiced and medals won,” he said, adding that he keeps a lookout during the Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic games and hopes that the hocket team would win a gold in the upcoming Asian games.
About his co-stars, he said that he tried to learn even from the younger actors and there’s no hierarchy despite his 28 years in the industry. “The young boys like Sunny Kaushal have done an amazing job. This film belongs to them. We are friends and we enjoy ourselves. There’s not one day of shooting that we have not played games. Mouni did not play, she was a snob,” he said jokingly.
The film, which will be released on Independence Day, also had a message about communal harmony that is blended into the script. “It doesn’t preach but the message just flows with the film and the screenplay, That’s the beauty of the film. And I didn’t realise until I saw the movie last night,” he said.
The actor also defines himself as a producer’s actor unlike the popular belief that performers should be director’s actors.
“I think long term. Once upon a time, I had 16 flops and yet I had four films because I was a producer’s actor not just a director’s actor. They’d be like he reaches on time, action kar leta hai. Be a producer’s actor first if you want to survive hits and flops. I have heard producer’s talk of so many heroines and say, ‘let’s take her she takes less than five minutes to get dressed’. This is simple but effective if heroines understand it. Sometimes a heroine takes an hour or three to get out of the vanity van. Even if you have made it big, in the long term you won’t sustain,” he said, while refusing to name any actors who do this as he admitted that he is a diplomatic man.
He also doesn’t believe in the concept of being a thinking actor and called it a lie when actors lock themselves up for days to get into character. “I can’t do that. Once I understand the character and the look is also decided, that’s 50-60 per cent of the work done. After that, it just flows. For example, when you wear a turban you feel like a Sardar when you see yourself in the mirror and you would stylise yourself that way. I did that for Singh is King and Singh is Bling. For Gold, I am wearing a dhoti, I enter first and then enters the dhoti. I’m Bengali, have an accent, a mustache and a drinking habit. Mouni is a husband-beater in the film,” he joked.
Talking about the audience’s expectations, he says that it is better to play a character, get beaten up in a scene than beat 20 people at the same time. “The audience has become very smart. They forgive continuity problems but if you’re not honest with your character they figure it out. Also, sports dramas are doing good business and times have changed as people want to know more about sports.”
Despite working in the industry for almost three decades, he still has not slowed down nd has evolved his own time management. “I enjoy life. I personally feel I can do four films comfortably in 365 days. One film takes 35-40 days, even if you include 52 Sundays you have more than 155 days to yourself,” he said. Akshay even advises his co-stars to work hard and honestly.
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer