Considered to be one of the most lovable and bankable stars in Bollywood, Akshay Kumar still feels that his star-power has not got its due in Bollywood even when his films have a relevant social message and do well. He does have two decades of masala films and critically acclaimed narratives behind him.
Akshay feels he still has not got his due as an actor, “I still haven’t got my due as an actor from the industry. I just got the National Award and the Padma Shri 8 years ago. That is recognition from the government, not the industry.” Akshay whose latest film, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, revolves around the lack of toilets in households in India, also spoke about the importance of such a film and what is in store for the audience. “Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is a comedy. Stories of five-six real people have been merged to make this into a tale of one person. Of course, as the title suggests, there is a love story as well, but above everything else, it has entertainment value and driving home a message”, Akshay said.
On detaching himself from the box-office of his movies yet taking off to some place before his movie releases, Akshay stated, “Well, anyone would be nervous, but I’m lucky that I get to experience it three-four times a year. I feel less nervous than those who have only one film a year because then, the pressure is more. At the most, I’ll be sad till the weekend. Also, it’s not that I want to vanish when my film releases, as some sections of the media report. For example, I’ve taken a 15-day break from the schedule of Gold in London, to promote Toilet – Ek Prem Katha. Once this film releases, I’ll return and resume shooting as people are waiting for me there.”
Toilet – Ek Prem Katha stars Akshay Kumar opposite Bhumi Pednekar. Talking about his heroine, Akshay is all praise about his screen wife (Jaya) Bhumi Pednekar ‘I’d say Bhumi is a very brave actress to take on a role like this, knowing fully well about the open-defecation scenes. Though she was properly dressed and all precautions were taken, to do a scene where you are pretending to defecate in the open takes a lot of courage. More so with the crew around.”
“I loved the script and felt that if it can change my mind-set, it can change others’ as well,” he added, talking about how it changed his attitude about the problem. “In the beginning, I didn’t know the statistics of the number of people who attend to nature’s call in the open. I was also unaware that about 30 per cent of the rapes happen when women attend nature’s call in the open. You have pervert men waiting in the fields for these women with camera phones. So, open use of the toilet is spiralling into other social evils.”
Produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures, co-produced by KriArj Entertainment along with Cape of Good Films, Friday Film Works, Plan C Studios and Abundantia Entertainment, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is directed by Shree Narayan Singh Film, releases on August 11, 2017.