Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

He has the knack of bringing something different, and this time he’s hit the ball out of the park with his look in ‘2.0’. His antagonist act is one of the biggest USPs of the film, apart from Rajinikanth of course. He stands apart amidst many actors of his stature and continues to go by his own path – no wonder, Akshay Kumar is what he is! As ‘2.0’ releases, we speak to the actor about his role, work ethics of the south and more. Excerpts:

What was the most exciting part to come on board for ‘2.0’?
When I heard the screenplay, I’ve never heard something like this. I’ve done many social films but this was one social film which has an international message. I was surprised that Shankar thought of this and came up with such a brilliant idea. Plus at the same time, I was happy to be getting a chance to work with ‘The Rajinikanth’ and one of the finest directors of our country – Shankar. Plus. they also told me, it’s going to be one of India’s most expensive film. So, I was very happy to get a chance to be a part of it.

So, the prosthetics were really tough to go through?
Yes, it was hard because I had to sit for three and a half hours every day. Quietly you sit and there are people working on you. Anyway, I’m a very patient man and this made me more calm and mellowed. After the shoot, they would again come for one and a half hour to remove of all it. The thing is, when you go to sleep at night, you know you will have to go through this all over again. That was a painful process, plus the process of coming there and not being able to do anything. Your pores cannot breathe, there’s no oxygen, everything was packed. So, while I was working, all the sweat used to be packed inside the body and I remember when I used to get rid of it, my whole body used to smell of sweat. Plus you cannot eat because it’s made as per your size. Also, I had to be on liquid diet – only water, juice and milkshakes were allowed.

Rajinikanth said that this is your film, not his. Do you believe so? How was your experience of working with him?
No, I think he’s just being humble. I am the Amrish Puri of the film (laughs). The title of the film is ‘2.0’ so it’s actually his film. It was wonderful to work with him. We used to talk in Marathi, since he is a Maharashtrian. It’s amazing how, he can make any dialogue into an epic dialogue. He can put entertainment into every dialogue. He is a professional and humble man. He is what he is.

Do you think you and your look are the biggest highlight of the film?
I don’t know about that, but in the entirety, the film is great. Technical wise, it’s the best film India has ever produced. It is an original 3D film, and you will feel a part of it. I would say, Shankar is the kind of director who is equal to James Cameron given steroids. Everything is larger-than-life for him. We can’t compete with them because their budget is seventeen times higher than ours but trust me, in 510 crores, they can’t make what we have produced here. But the concept is lovely. The social message is amazing. I think technical wise people will appreciate it, for sure. The rest I will leave up to them. They will judge. But when I watch it, technical wise, it’s one of the best films India has produced. The message comes out clean and crystal clear.

What’s the most exciting part about being a villain?
When you are a villain, you have to work for very less days. I shot for just about 38-40 days, while Mr. Rajinikanth shot for maybe double than that.

Do you think that Hindi cinema has a lot to learn from south?
Technical wise, south is a lot more advanced. They are much better that way. Professionally as well, yes, they are advanced. If you are told that the shooting will start at 7 30 am, the shooting will start at 7 30 am. A newcomer should do five films in the south and come here; he will learn a lot from there. In one day, they take 35-40 shots and we do about 12-13 shots. They are fast, and they don’t take others for granted. They value other people’s time. They teach you to respect other people’s time and I appreciate that.

“A newcomer should do five films in the south and come here; they will learn a lot from there”

Would you like to do more sci-fi films?
I would love to do films where there’s destruction, or something goes wrong because of science and just we work towards it.

Has this film raised a benchmark for you, as an actor and producer both, or further motivated you to do even better stuff?

It all depends on whether this film does well. And as a producer, I’m making a war film called ‘Kesari’ which is also a very high budget film. I love when it’s talking about content and yet it’s commercial. I love.

What have you learnt on this film?
I’ve learnt a lot! For example, what a green screen can do to you. It can change your whole persona completely. It can change your environment. The way it’s been done is so powerful. When I hear about ‘300’ that the whole film was being made on green screen. I prefer live though.

How has it been getting this cast on board for ‘Mission Mangal’?
The women are real heroes of this film and I am behind them, even though I’m producing it. I am very proud of the fact that these five girls have come together for it. They are big names and they have no egos. They have all come together for this film. I don’t think five heroes would come together. But when I approached these five actresses for ‘Mission Mangal’, they were very happy with their role and they’re ready to go ahead.

Do you think though, that heroes should come together?

They should and earlier we had such films right? I’ve done ‘Jaani Dushman’.

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