Akshay Kumar is all set for his big independent day release Mission Mangal. With a just a week more to go, Akshay met the press for a meet and greet session. Excerpts from our chat.
Akshay you’ve been delivering back to back consecutive hits as an actor how rejuvenating it is and now that you’ve cracked a deal do you get that confidence, as an actor its a very fical industry anything can happen next time. So what is the thought process when you have consecutive hits?
Akshay Kumar: I have gone through this process a lot of times. I have gone through it three times, I wouldn’t be surprised if I go through it again. So the best thing is keep working. I still remember when I used to have 14, 15 flops, can remember these voice “Gaya Gaya Gaya Gaya arrey! Ahgaya ahagaya ahgaya. So this I have heard, so this happens. It’s part of life happens to everybody here. Somebody gies through their career like this or personal life. Because as there’s a saying a very scientific one, a proven thing ‘After night comes a days, after day comes a night.’ so basically you just have to take it be bold face it get ready for the next step that’s it. There’s no other way out.
We always get to hear actors did this or that to get into the character but you have always gone according to the directorial preparation so it’s out of the box.
Akshay: everyone has their own ways. Everyone is unique so this is my way.
How did Mission Mangal happen, apparently the director had come up with other project Ikka?
Akshay: yeah he came up with other project that’s fine and all , we were working on that also. But then he narrated me this also. Narrated as in one line, my sister is a scientist at ISRO. So I was just talking and she was telling me about this , Jagan why don’t you write something on this. So he went back wrote and came back after 20 days just to give a one line of what he thought of it. I liked it and told him let’s start working on this. Then he along with Balki ji wrote it.
The audience calls you Guarantee Kumar today, someone who can guarantee box office returns?
Akshay Kumar : That I think your guy calls me.. His name.. Bobby ji and Vijay ji (giggles) they are very sweet. I like three wise men review.(Bollywoodwallah.com) I find it funny also, answers are very very funny and they are very bold they say whatever they have to, on the face straight up.
(appreciating the journalist Sonup Sahadevan)
You’re doing a great job! Your face is known now. You should monetise your review videos on Youtube. And it’s Bobby ji’s kind heart that he calls me gaurantee Kumar. However there’s no gaurantee of anything! everything can be shaken. Many times when I watch a film I think oh this will smash it, but it doesn’t work. I have reached this level after 30 years, hardwork is very important, but luck is also needed. Luck makes a lot of difference. I believe in 70% luck and 30% hardwork.
Lot of people who go to NASA find out that most of the scientist are Indian, so there was this impression that all of these scientist there’s a brain drain they have migrated to the Us.
Akshay: let me just tell you honestly. The government, I was just reading an article. Earlier a budget was just 2 or 3 % for a space scientist now they’re doing it 18%, they have jumped about like 8 times more. This government is going to concentrate lot more on space science and if you see that’s why so many things are going on. A lot of people are talking about Chandrayan, ISRO is become very famous. ISRO otherwise has been around for last 50 years and we used to never talk about it, but now it is suddenly taken off. Also the profession of a scientist earlier was said to be a man’s job or even engineering or cops, now things have to change. That is how I show the film(Mission Mangal) It doesn’t natter what kind of work it is. Being a woman she can be anything and now things are changing so much that we have a lady who used to take care of homely finance, then coporate sector and now our country. She was also defense ministry. So things are changing in India.
Was it a conscious decision to have 5 women in the movie?
Akshay: This is not a consious decision but a reality.
Is this movie based on facts?
Akshay: 80 to 90% yes
You think things have been changing in the industry? For a very long time it has been considered very patriachtical. There is a beautiful scene in the trailer where women are coming ahead and you are following them and everyone is clapping. We don’t see that too much in Indian Cinema, but thanks to the actors like you, superstars like you who arr taking that step ahead.
Akshay: This is what I personally feel. We have seen these mistakes since childhood. If we see our textbooks also we never had any woman doing anything. There was only one like Rani Laxmi Bai everything else included men. That whole build up has been like that. We have been trained like that. But things have to change. Now more and more films will have female lead and lot of films have been made where women is in the lead role. So it’s better to stand back and applaud.
Would you want Tax-free statust for Mission Mangal? Would you push for it.
Akshay: Tax free status we will see that. But the problem is till they watch the movie the first week passes by. When it’s wanted you don’t get it at that point. First week is important.
Do you think an actor should be given opportunity to explore different characters, like actor was bashed for picking a film like Kabir Singh?
Akshay Kumar: I think it is just the character the person is playing. Don’t take it so seriously. I have played many villanious role doesn’t mean I am irresponsible. Gulshan Grover is not an irresponsible person because he plays a negative character. It’s just Cinema.
It’s a great pride to see Dimple ji working with Christopher Nolan, any comment from you what would you like to say?
Akshay: It’s very nice, it’s very good and amazing.
Were there efforts to make this film more mainstream or commercial
Akshay: yes it is. I have not made a documentary film, i’ve made a commercial cinema. Where there is laughter, fun, emotion, song. There are two small soundtracks. This is a commercial cinema just like ‘Toilet ek Prem Katha.’ You have to tell the audience everything you have to say but in a commercial way.
Your movie is coming after Chandrayan II was it the luck or it was pre-decided.
Akshay: It was luck. How would I know.
Salman in an interview had said we should follow what Akshay kumar is doing. Every superstar should do atleast 2 and a half films a year. How important do you feel it is for superstars to do more films at this point?
Akshay: I don’t know how important it is, I do because I can. I finished this film in 28 days. The whole film was done. In 32 days Baby movie was done. Even if i calculate as per 32 or 35 days also in one and a half year I can finish 4 films. So what would I do rest for the rest of one and half year.
Have you been to ISRO?
Akshay: No I haven’t been to ISRO.
It’s surprising that you manage to take so many holidays in a year. How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life?
Akshay: It is not a rocket science. It is so easy. If your movie gets done in 34 to 40 days, 40 into 4 that’s 160! There’s nothing so surprising. You can take Sunday’s off, you can take Saturday’s half day. You can go one month of holiday. After every film you can take a seven days off. Everything is there. It is just like people me about starting my work at 5 am. It’s morning and I shouldn’t work? When when should I work! We forget our childhood when we used to wake up early for school. Now this habbit is gone and we wake up by 9, 10, 12pm or someone is so drunk, whose not waking up only.
Someone who has made it big in the industry without any godfather or star parents. So in the position that you’re in today so do you find that the industry has real geuine friends whom you can connect with, or are they not from the industry?
Akshay: No they’re not from the Industry. They are my school friends and college friends but not from the industry. There was no match, there are good friends but I couldn’t connect. I like roaming around with my friends. Every month we meet up. They come to the shoot once a month we have fun.
We don’t see two or more superstars sharing a screen, but Rohit Shetty is breaking this he is planning to get Ranveer, you Ajay sir, do you think that stems from security?
Akshay: They’re doing a Cameo in that like Amar Akbar Anthony. It used to happen earlier I have done so many, me Suneil Shetty, Saif etc but I don’t know why they don’t do it now. Today one man doesn’t want to work with another. I don’t know why must be insecurity. But I would request them to do a two hero subject to do a three hero subject. Do it if you like the script. I fail to understand why they don’t. We have worked as 7 heroes in Jaani Dushman.
Independence day what are the sentiments, do you feel it will be an advantage? Was it a conscious decision that the film will release on 15th august?
Akshay: It’s a coincidence. ISRO completes 50 years om 15th August 2019, it started in 1969. We came to know about it just one and a half month back and what a coincidence that the film is releasing on the same day. So it wasn’t a conscious decision.
How was it re-uniting with Jagan Sakhti after a long time?
Akshay: It is nice I have done so many films with him. Couldn’t happen for 25 years because he went Hollywood I was limited here only and as soon as he was back we are together.
Do you think the cinema has evovled now. Like there are same-sex stories, in Laxmi Bomb there will be a transgenders role. What do you think?
Akshay: Yes it is evovled. A lot of maturity has come in. Things are moving in a right direction and it will keep on moving. We guys have started concentrating on scripts, taking risk, expirementing.
How challenging it is for someone like for who has been tagged as Khiladi to drop that maturism on screen and step into something different?
Akshay: Earlier it was next to impossible for me. But now it’s okay. Earlier I just couldn’t come out of the image of being an action hero, I was always that khiladi. But then I pushed hard and there were some people in my career who helped me like Priyadarshan, Rajkumar Santoshi, Dharmesh Darshan. I got all kind of romamtic films things like that started changing Tanuja Chandra otheriwse earlier it was all about action.
How was your experience of taking PM Modi’s interview. Was it challenging for you?
Akshay: No I was just being myself. There was no challenge, I was just talking to him. As a civilian I just wanted to know how he is as a person and I asked the questions, he answered it.
The clash between Inshallah and Sooryvanshi has been averted. Do you see it as a good sign?
Akshay: Yeah it is always a good sign when two movies don’t come on the same. These things are going to happens whether you call it clashes or not, because end of the day we are making 210 films Hindi cinema only and we just have 52 weeks in a year so clashes are bound to happen. It is good that it is averted.
What do your kids have to say on the choices of your films?
Akshay: My family, my son and my daughter if a trial happens they come and watch. There’s no excitement. They’re happy dad is doing webseries. I am more excited to show it to my daughter. I want her to see it, I want all children to watch it. It is a very important film amd I’m glad to say that my company has produced the first space film of India.