The Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular have scored a resounding hit by getting Akshay Kumar, and no other Bollywood superstar, to do the PM’s first ever non-political interview. The interview which is a global sensation, shows the Prime Minister being quizzed about everything except politics, from his eating and sleeping habits to his relationship with ‘Mamta Didi’ who, the PM tells the warmly attentive but never obsequious Akshay, sends him kurtas and Bengali sweets regularly.
The human side of the PM has stuck a chord in the nation in a way no electioneering pitch could ever have. Former BJP strongman Shatrughan Sinha is all praise for the interview. “First of all it was a masterstroke for the PM to choose the one and only patriotic superstar Akshay Kumar. Akshay had done his homework well and asked questions that made our Prime Minister appear warm and human. I think it is a matter of great pride for our film industry to have one of us being chosen to interview the Prime Minister. About time actors were taken seriously.”
How did Akshay Kumar come into the picture?
The idea, according to sources close to the PMO, was to get a superstar with a nationalistic image. Akshay Kumar fitted the bill perfectly. “It was the Prime Minister’s own wish to be interviewed by Akshay Kumar, because Akshay fits the image of the hero of the masses. Other stars like Salman Khan and Aamir Khan were also considered. But Salman’s image was not really conducive to a patriotic non-political casual tete-a-tete with Mr Prime Minister. The same goes for Aamir,” informs a source from the BJP.
Aamir Khan apparently visited the PM recently. “He is keen on establish his credentials as a true nationalist after the faux pas he committed by telling the world his wife wanted to leave the country. But as far as this historic interview is concerned, the PM wanted only Akshay Kumar,” says the informed source.
Akshay’s preparation for the interview was very very basic. “He consulted everyone around him from his wife and children to his staff and family members with one question, ‘If you met the Prime Minister what would you ask him?’ Based on what people asked him Akshay prepared a sketchy mental questionnaire. But most of what we heard him ask PM Modi was impromptu and spontaneous based on the way the conversation flowed,” says a source close to Akshay.
Akshay was served tea during the conversation. But he doesn’t drink any beverage except water and juices.