Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR
In a black Pathani, Akshay Kumar walks into the Dharma Productions’ office looking as young as ever. The man just seems to be getting fitter with age and better with his cinema. His latest ‘Good Newwz’ has hit the marquee and yet again, it talks about a different subject with a good dose of comedy and drama. Here’s chatting up with him about the film. Excerpts:
What did you love about ‘Good Newwz’?
It’s a very important subject, especially for women and families who cannot have children; with a bit of comedy. It’s not dealt with, as seriously as a ‘Padman’ though; but it’s an important subject and message. Since IVF has been discovered, about 8 million babies in the world have come through IVF. It has made many families happy. It has given a chance to so women to have children.
You’ve worked with so many new directors all through your career…
Yes, that’s because the experienced, popular directors have not made films with me (laughs). But jokes apart, it’s also the truth. When people don’t take you in your films, you have to start your own journey. You can’t be sitting at home. Raj is my 21st new director. I also feel that their greed for good work is far more than a lot of old directors. For them, it’s a ‘do or die’ situation. I still don’t have big directors. They are producing films with me, but not directing me.
Form being known for action to literally ruling comedy to know doing such varied genres…how good do you feel about that? Yet, is there something you’re most comfortable with?
If I say that I’m comfortable with one particular genre, then people would put a tag on me again and I don’t want any tags now. I came out of those tags when I was doing action. I was bored. I never wanted a tag of an action hero. I always wanted to try out different stuff. Now also, I don’t want any tags. I am so comfortable doing everything – as long as it is something new, may be even risky, I would go for it!
You’ve been doing such variety even when it comes to comedy, for instance, ‘Good Newwz’ after ‘Housefull 4’…apart from the various other genres. How satisfying is that?
Yes, there are different kinds of comedy. There’s ‘Mr. Bean’ kind of comedy, which is based on expressions. ‘Charlie Chaplin’ kind of comedy is more physical and I think ‘Laurel And Hardy’ is also physical comedy. So, there are different branches of comedy and I’m so happy I got to visit different kinds of comedies. I did slapstick comedy with ‘Housefull 4’. People find it senseless but there’s an audience for that also and that comedy is the most difficult actually. Falling by slipping on the banana skin – and show a proper fall – that’s not easy. To make people laugh at your own expense is one of the most difficult comedies to do. But unfortunately, people here don’t give credit to this kind of comedy.
This year ends with ‘Good Newwz’ post a biggie like ‘Housefull 4’ and ‘Kesri’ – so how would you like to sum it up?
I don’t expect every film to do Rs. 200 crores because I make films at a very small budget. I’ve made ‘Good Newwz’ in the budget of Rs. 36 crore which will get recovered through music and overseas. So, we don’t make those big films. So, even if we make around 100-120 crores then that’s great for us and of course, 200 crores will only be greater. My films don’t work on big risks and burdens. I can’t make films with such big budgets which can be a burden.
What is it that makes you present films which may not necessarily star you – rather you’ve made sure to highlight many women-oriented movies? You’re presenting ‘Durgavati’ next with Bhumi Pednekar…
I love doing that, whether it’s Hindi, Marathi or Punjabi. I should just like the script. ‘Durgavati’ is an IPS officer’s role and I thought Bhumi fits the bill very well.
Many actors take so much time to prepare, but you’ve always maintained you don’t have to prepare much. Does that continue to be?
Everyone has a different process actually. The way someone writes is different from another. One person may write this interview in 6 hours while another might take lesser time but that doesn’t make any one good or bad. Everyone is just built differently. I don’t even take half a day to get into a character. At the end of the day, it’s just acting. I can’t pretend like I’m doing a serious job. People who prepare are also right in their own way, but that’s just how they have understood the craft. I don’t take time to get into it. I was shooting for ‘Sooryavanshi’ three days back and now I’m into ‘Prithviraj’.
You’ve evolved so much ever since the 90s. Does that have to do with experience largely?
I came as a newcomer in this industry, with none of my forefathers here. For me, everything was new. I had never known what’s the camera like, how do you exactly act in front of it, or what kind of lens is used in it. I have literally learnt that with time. I know for sure that I kept learning year by year. Nobody was there to teach me, I did it all by myself. So, what I am today is because I have gone through this process. After delivering 14 flops at one time and then at another time I gave 8 flops in a row. So, all these things have changed me.