Akshay Kumar is one actor who may have been stereotyped into action films but has never failed to impress us with different kinds of cinema. From trying his hand on comedy to showing us a different take on religion, Akki has done it all. And now the actor is all gung ho about his next film ‘Gabbar Is Back’ which deals with the topic of corruption. In an hour long chat, Akshay talks about his film, his experience of working with Shruti Haasan, why Bollywood is as good as Hollywood and much more! Read on…
Your upcoming film 'Gabbar Is Back' deals with corruption. What made you take up this topic?
I have never come across with anybody who is not being taken for a ride because of corruption, or who has bribed someone. Very few would be honest who would say he or she has not bribed anyone in his or her entire life. But at the end of the day the problem is that the work never gets over. Whether you get done a Passport, Ration Card or even Aadhar Card, people get trapped somewhere or the other. However, Gabbar doesn't deal with those kinds of problems. Gabbar deals with the highest camp, which is up there, and is all about how to make an example out of them. It's about people who are doing scams worth crores, which actually affects common people.
This is the first you would be working with Shruti Haasan. How was the experience?
I have enjoyed working with Shruti Haasan. She is very professional and a beautiful person. Shruti is a very good singer. I wish she was here then I would have asked her to sing 4-5 lines. She sings so good that I envy her for that.
If your film doesn’t have any connection with ‘Sholay’, then why is it titled ‘Gabbar Is Back’?
The movie begins when my character is writing a letter to the Commissioner of Police stating about the acts I am going to do to stop corruption. My character writes down all the violent ways which will be adopted to stop corruption. To sum up the letter, I don’t want to reveal my identity and hence I am thinking about a fictitious name and there comes a voice from television – “Khud Gabbar”, and that’s how the idea strikes up to name himself Gabbar and hence the film is titled ‘Gabbar Is Back’ because ‘Gabbar’ as a title wasn’t available.
You mentioned that ‘Gabbar Is Back’ deals with corruption and has a good message attached to it, just like it was in 'OMG! Oh My God!' and 'Holiday'. So why it is that people don't take positive messages from these films, and instead are seen taking wrong examples from the films?
That is something some of the media people trying to play mischief, and there are also some people who say different kind of things. But at the end of the day it's just a film. Watch the film and don't take it too personally. Whenever a man or a woman watches or reads something, he or she should always grasp what is good and right in that. Do not get into the wrong things. A film will always have a negative character - who will do bad jobs, will watch item songs, and so on - but one should not have to follow that, and should have to follow the right path. So it is up to you, and it is basically your mentality that shows where you have to go.
You are one actor who has never shied away from taking risks. Have you ever been apprehensive in trying something different?
I am not apprehensive about it and I love to take risks. I have always done stunts, which is why I always have that streak in my head to take risks. I don’t care about what is going to happen. It's very much enjoyable, fun and a different take on cinema. In fact for past two years now, since I am doing this kind of cinema, I am actually itching to go back to a ‘Housefull 3’. I want to do it again and want to try again that slapstick comedy.
Talking about ‘Housefull 3’, while other actors find doing comedy difficult, you enjoy that genre and people have also appreciated you. What do you have to say about that?
It is nice for people to like me in those kinds of films, but there is no appreciation from the award nights. It's a funny thing that they are giving the Best Actor award to those who have done a romantic film, but what about an actor who does a comedy film? Why are you differentiating between romance and comedy?
Recently Hollywood films like 'Fast & Furious 7' and 'The Avengers: Age of Ultron' have done great business than many recent Bollywood films. So what's your take on this whole issue?
We don't have that much money as compared to those people. They make films at a budget of 350-400 crores with lot of efforts put into technicals, graphics and so on. They spend more time and money on each film. In fact, one actor is doing just one film there. He lives with it, gets into the role, and does the film. Also for us, when the film releases, we are just stuck in India as we get only 750 screens all over the world.
Do you think ‘Gabbar Is Back’ will break the dry spell that Bollywood is undergoing currently?
I am not doing films because I want to break some records but because I enjoy doing different kinds of films. It is not about the money. To be frank, now I am done with all the money game. I have made enough money for myself and hence I am not bothered about the box office performance. Now I want to experiment with the kind of films I do, I want do spread some messages to the people along with entertainment and I have been doing it since last two years, be it ‘Oh My God’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Baby’ or ‘Gabbar’.
Lastly Akshay, kindly share with us your fascination for producing Marathi films
I like the sensibilities of Marathi cinema. I have seen many Marathi plays. I know Marathi very well, where I can speak and understand the language very well. And they have very intellectual sense when it comes to making cinema, and I like that so decided to produce the same. I made a film called '72 Miles', for which I got an award for that as Best Film. Because their sensibilities are so different from Hindi cinema, I would like to make more and more Marathi films.