Interview By: Hasti Doshi

After the success of ‘Padman’, we got into conversation with Akshay who’s very happy about the response of people. As he is known for doing multiple movies in a year, we caught up with him right after he’s back from the shoot of his next film. It looks like he’s a man of his beliefs and that’s what keeps him going always. Read on-

What do think is the response from everyone after the release of film?
Critics and everyone else have loved the film, but there are still certain people in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Patna, Haryana who are not feeling free to go and watch the film. There are few men who aren’t allowing their wives to go and watch it in theatres and my motive was to break that taboo. Everyone should go with their families and watch as there is nothing wrong about it. UNICEF World Bank are going to show this film in every village in India for free and we have 6 lac 42 thousand villages in India.

What’s shown in the film, is the real life story exact same?
No it’s not exactly same, we took ten percent from it and made it our own.

How would you carry on this awareness ahead even after the release of film?

We going to put wending machine of sanitary napkins at 120 ST stands where all the people travel mostly. If media keeps on writing it and making people aware it can be helpful and can bring change. Maharashtra government has installed Padbanks where we can either give them pads or money and that will be given to BMC college and schools and all such places.

Do you feel that actors should go to villages and talk to them about such issues?
There’s no use of going and talking to them as they are not at all interested in speeches. They like it in the form of movies. They aren’t interested in documentaries, politicians, actors. Same happened with ‘Toilet Ek Prem Katha’ and entire village sits in front of projector and watch the film, they pick up and learn things from movies because entertainment is the best medium to learn.

Were there any backlashes when you touch such subjects?

There was no backlash but it’s only that Pakistan didn’t release the film.

So did you take any step to release the film there?

I can only request them that let people watch this film and learn, nothing else I can say. As this is a very pure subject and it should be seen.

What inspired to do this film?

The fact that in India 82 % of women can’t afford pads and few are not friendly to use it. Also the taboo of not going to temples and not touching and all these things made me realize that it’s a huge issue here and awareness is needed. I was also shocked at various points while shooting when such incidents occurred when a man who was supposed to hold pad couldn’t and he never turned up on set again. Such mind sets should be broken. This movie is working well in lot of places.

Your speech in the film, how did it come to you, did you prepare it exactly?

We had that speech of 11 minutes and it was prepared but lot of things came impromptu. We were supposed to shoot it from 9 in morning till 6 in evening but the speech came naturally and happened in one shot and we packed up at 11 itself. I even told Balki to release that 11 minutes speech on you tube as well.

On a lighter note, it seems that now you might know what women go through every month.

Yes, now I totally know and I learned it two years back. Infact women used to talk to me about it but I was shy (smiling) but now I am open to all the conversation. I want to add one thing that this is a love story and it’s a bigger love story.

Now 27 years down the line you have been part of many different sort of films including two social issue films, how has it evolved you?

It has evolved me as a human being and not as actor. I do films for the cause of doing it and not for my acting. I want to keep on doing various roles as I don’t like to get stereotyped. Earlier I had an image of an action hero which was very difficult for me to break and that’s the reason why I don’t want to create any such image and work for variety of films.

What is the latest you are working on?

I am only busy shooting for ‘Kesri’ right now, it’s my first war film in my acting career. Trade Magazine