It is always a fun exercise to have Akshay talk at length when it comes to matters related to his movies. Reason being that you don’t expect diplomatic and ready to serve answers that are so predictable that you can almost see them coming even before you are through with your question mark. The man too is enjoying this phase where quotable quotes have become the order of the day. In an exclusive two part conversation, Akshay Kumar gets talking to Joginder Tuteja on his latest outing with Priyadarshan, comparisons with men
like Amol Palekar and Farooq Sheikh who excelled in roles that were written for ‘a common man’, his current leading lady Trisha and his ‘most wanted on screen pairing’ with Katrina Kaif.
The film is titled Khatta Meetha. What’s the relevance of this title here?
It’s a very sweet and sour movie!! What more can I say apart from – you will feel just about every emotion there is in this film – Guaranteed!
Akshay Kumar as a common man – Now that’s quite a journey from being a Hollywood stunt director (Kambakkht Ishq) to a ‘kadka’ (De Dana Dan) to a ‘panauti'(Housefull). Isn’t it?
I know, but it helps being a chameleon in this industry (winks). Which is why I love what I do; it’s impossible for me to be bored in life. I am lucky, everyday is different and every movie has some new diverse challenge. Each director tries so hard to be different from the next as does every actor. I have to be versatile. I can’t release these many movies and still be ‘me’ in front of the camera. I have to distance my characters roles.
It helps being a chameleon in this industry
But really, when Priyadarshan told you to wear those white shirts, brown trousers and leather slippers, wasn’t your first reaction that of horror? After all not many leading actors are expected to get into such attire.
I know but I have never been a fussy or a vain kind of guy. When I found out what I had to wear, I was thrilled. I love change (plus I was secretly looking forward to the comfort). I love to play and dress like a character rather than what’s ‘in’ or ‘expected’ at the moment. Don’t get me wrong; I love fashion but I’m here to makes movies, create stories, take people to a different world for a couple of hours and not just be cool enough for a portal highlight or a cover magazine all the time.
In fact the moment I saw the first look of the film, I felt that in 70s/80s, such roles would have been done by the likes of Amol Palekar or Farooq Sheikh. After all it was their breed of actors who excelled in such roles. You too are consciously stepping into the shoes of such ‘simple men’?
Well in all honesty we are all ‘simple men’. It’s just opportunities that separate us. Every time when I know that I am not going to be seen in the public eye, I am wearing my track pants. If I am not pulling up at a red carpet event, I drive my little CRV. All men were born simple, either jobs or wives or reputations and society, that’s what gets in the way of men being our lazy selves. The likes of Amol and Farooq were classics because every man connected with them. That’s why James Bond is a fantasy but it is Mr Bean who will always be adored (smiles).
When I know that I am not going to be seen in the public eye, I am wearing my track pants
You have Trisha making her Bollywood debut opposite you in Khatta Meetha. What was it that made you give a go ahead for a newcomer in Hindi cinema? After all you could have had any leading lady working with you.
I trust Priyadarshan more than anyone I suppose. I had heard a lot about Trisha and that was enough to follow Priyanji blindly. Anyways like I said earlier, I love change. Many a successful heroine has debuted with me and I pride myself in that fact. It gives everyone that bit of extra courage then.
There is a perception that Trisha may well have a much smaller role in the film, just as was the case for Katrina Kaif in De Dana Dan. Do you wish to state the fact here?
All I can state is that I have nothing to do with the size of my co-stars’ roles ‘ever’. Anyways, with most Priyadarshan’s movies, no one knows the script or what’s going on (smiles). Even Urvashi (Sharma) who is playing my sister used to come up to me and ask me – ‘What is going on? What happens next?’ That’s the thrill of working with Priyanji; no one knows!
With most Priyadarshan’s movies, no one knows the script or what’s going on
Talking about Priyan, your combination with him has fetched 100% success rate. By the look of the things, it pretty much seems to be the case of the trend continuing with Khatta Meetha too, right?
By God’s grace, it is so far so good! I have always felt a sense of security when I work with Priyadarshan, not only because of his track record, but because he really is a movie genius. Not all movies are meant to be overtly successful; after all some of my favourite films have been my biggest flops sometimes. It’s all down to fate at the end of the day, I know I work hard and that’s all I can ask of myself.
(Visit this space again for Part II of the interview)