Talking to Akshay Kumar is always fun. The man knows how to perfectly dodge uncomfortable questions, but at the same time, he makes sure that he leaves a grin on your face with his sharp wit and humour.
In a free-wheel chat the 'Khiladi' gets candid about the comedy genre, why he isn't doing films in the west, the 'dark' reality of award functions, racism and much more.
Excerpts from the conversation-
1. On Returning Back To Comedy With 'Housefull 3'
A. I feel very good. I feel little bit relieved because it's like a stressbuster. But at the same time it was very exhausting because while shooting 'Housefull 3' we were doing things in one take. It was more like 'give and take'. To be honest, there were a retakes in the film. But it was nice to return back on the sets of 'Housefull 3' because it has been two years since I did a comedy or even cracked a joke.
2. On Reinventing Comedy As A Genre
A. I don't think there is a saturation point in comedy. You can keep doing new things in it.
3. On If Ever Will He Be A Part Of A Sex Comedy
A. Yaa..why not! Does anybody feel shy in watching an adult comedy? Then why not.
4. On Being Stereotyped
A. I don't want to have a particular image. I don't want to be called neither an action nor a comic hero. I don't want to be called a villain-hero. I just want to keep on changing. I want to keep challenging myself because I am bored. That's why I try to finish my films in 30-50 days. I would die if I keep doing a film for 300-400 days.
5. On Facing Racism
A. It happens but I don't pay attention to it. Goras also face it when they arrive here. You think it doesn't happen with them? You feel we greet them with a smile and say we are so nice to you come give us a hug? Racism happens everywhere. Racism happens and it is a bad thing. You get over it. Who cares? Don’t get serious. Why does it affect you? You should be strong enough and have the confidence to not let it affect you.
6. On His Journey In Bollywood
A. It's luck; I consider it to be 60-70 per cent luck. Yes, I have worked my a** off, selected both, good and bad films. I am very lucky things have gone my way. You may not believe it but I believe luck plays an important role. That' what I have seen. I have seen worst films also where people have told me on my face that this film won't work but it turned out to do well and vice versa. I challenge anyone to predict whether a film they are watching will work or not. It isn't possible to do so. A lot of critics write a film as 'bad' or rate it as 'one or two stars' and then it does the business of 'seven stars' and then they themselves look at it. (laughs)
7. On Feeling Friday Jitters When A Film Releases
A. Yes, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then I am fine on Monday. (laughs)
8. On Audience Accepting A Wide Variety Of Films Today
A. Yes, it's nice that audiences like these kind of films. They believe in realism and want to adapt to the fact. I did Special 26 which did a business of Rs 75-80 crores. I did Baby which made Rs 90 crore. I am very happy that 'Airlift has gone to Rs 125 crore. Then Neerja comes in and scores a great victory. I don't know the figures but it's a huge amount. It's nice that audience are geared up to get into this mode of content-driven films. We should be worried about what Hollywood is doing to us. Their films are beating us left, right and centre. We can't compete with them financially. They are making films for $200 million -- not even Rs 200 crores; we are around Rs 70-90 crore. We can only compete with them when it comes to content. That's how we beat the whole system.
9. On Being Appreciated Both By The Single-Screen And Multiplex Audiences
A. I really didn't put much of brain into this. I just go along with the kind of senses and the experiences that I have got. I sometimes go right and sometimes wrong. I just did what I felt like doing and that's it.
10. On Doing A Villainous Role In 'Robot 2'
A. I felt like doing it. It was challenging. It was great to be beaten up by Rajinikanth sir. A superhero villain is a different role for me.
11. On The Younger Lot Of Actors
A. There are many talented actors like Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra…They give so much to a film and are so engrossed that I am shocked. It makes me feel that I also have to give more and more. I always find them much more giving to a film than me.
12. On Why Not Much Actors Are Going To The West Unlike The Actresses
A. Nobody is taking us there. We are not happy with the roles we have been offered, stuff like 'Sir you're standing there, far away, and you'll come in the second scene and then in the fifth scene you'll die.' We're happier here.
13. On 'Baby' Not Winning Any Awards
A. You have to perform for half the money at awards night; that is how you win awards. It's not that I don't get such offers. That's the reality.
14. On His Thoughts On National Awards
A. The National awards are credible; they actually watch the film and let you know. I still feel that if Baby wasn't nominated, it mustn't be actually worth it.
15. On Outsiders Finding It Difficult To Make It In Bollywood
A. No, outsiders are coming in. I was an outsider. Ranveer, Sidharth are outsiders. There are chances for everyone to get in - be it a male, female or any character. Everyone has a chance; it depends on your luck and how much you are willing to push.