Look what a strike does for you. It makes a sixty day dry spell and then when it calls it off, within four hours of notice; there are hundreds of media personnel present to attend the exclusive press conference of Kambakkht Ishq at Taj Lands End in Bandra. It wasn’t the media alone who were given a short notice. Akshay Kumar had to fly down from Karjat in an hour’s notice and Kareena had to rush from Mehboob Studios to attend the grand event. “Aap log kaafi bor nahin ho gaye the… koi film release nahin ho rahi thi. Kuch masala kisi ko nahi mil raha tha…” said the ever humorous Akshay Kumar by standing up graciously as he attends the media. Kareena Kapoor too joined in and gave a short speech. A glimpse of the film’s trailer and a song was screened for the media and a surprise cake cutting ceremony was held to mark the release date of the film – July 10. Then comes the stampede. Journalists, photographers and the camera crew rush to the near by room where the two sexes – Viraj (Akshay) and Simrita (Kareena) are ready to battle it out with some absurd, strange, mad and some decent questions thrown to them. As Akshay Kumar aptly said, “The battle of the plexes are over and the battle of the sexes has begun”. Time for some reaction to reactions.
The strike is over and Kambakkht Ishq has finally found a release date. How happy are you?
I am very happy about it and who wouldn’t be happy? I am continuously working and three to four films of mine are already done and dusted. Yes, I was upset and angry that there was not a single film being released since two months. It’s like making a product and there is no buyer. I got to know of the strike at 3 am. I have come down all the way from Karjat and going to go back with a big smile on my face.
Who is Viraj Shergill in the film?
You should know this by now as you’ve even got a press kit but to answer your question, Viraj is a stuntman in Hollywood. I got an opportunity to do stunts with ‘Superman’ and ‘Rambo‘ (laughs). It’s a battle of sexes but the inside news is that the female sex wins.
This is going to be your biggest release as far as the number of prints are concerned. How excited are you?
Well, I don’t know about that but I don’t know how you know about it.
Apparently, it’s going to have an English release too considering that it’s got Sylvester Stallone in it.
I actually don’t know much about it because they have signed me as an actor and not as an exhibitor and a distributor. But I’ll surely find out and let you know about it and if it is something like what you’ve informed me, then I’m very happy because we’ll get an international audience. Sajid was aiming for something like this.
Brief about Sabbir Khan the new director.
I’ve always enjoyed working with new directors. In fact, I’ve always given hits with new directors. Be it Sajid Khan, Vipul Shah, Guddu Dhanoa, Naresh Malhotra, etc. I always see a greed in a new director because they are very greedy about work, they want to prove it and they bring new ideas on the table. That’s what has inspired me about Sabbir. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
I always see a greed in a new director because they are very greedy about work
How technically different is Kambakkht Ishq compared to all the other Nadiadwala films you’ve worked in?
From Judwaa, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Heyy Babby, etc, Sajid has always maintained an upward graph. His climb is slow but sure. There is always something new in terms of technicalities in all his films. This is going to be his biggest film.
How different are stunts in Hollywood compared to that of Bollywood?
The West believes a lot in safety. I had to sign a lot of paper work. They maintain the health and safety issue a lot out there which is good. Here it’s like, “Chal bhai ab upar se kood. Sab kuch theek hai, tu sirf kood. Boxes bhi theek hai. Kood ja.” I’m from the school of Bollywood and when I go there I learn a lot in terms of safety issues surrounding the stunts. Our school is tough, no doubt about it. Out here we sometimes even fall off the building with no boxes down there. When the West hear about our bizarre stunt stories, they are in for a shock.
I’m from the school of Bollywood and when I go there I learn a lot in terms of safety issues surrounding the stunts
Is the USP of the film the stunts you’ve performed?
The film is not about stunts. I’m just playing a stuntman. Mere stunt pe koi katha nahin likhi unhone. Stunt is just my profession in the film.
Why do you think this film will work?
I don’t know why this film will work. But I haven’t played this kind of a role in any of my films, it’s one of my best romantic films. I’ve been doing a lot of comedy and action. Kambakkht Ishq is very good for a change.
This is the seventh time you’re working with Kareena Kapoor. How was the experience?
Well, unke parivaar ka maine thhekaa le rakha hain. I’ve done fourteen films with Karisma and seven with Kareena. Ab dekhte hain…unke bachhe honge toh unke saath bhi kar lenge.
In terms of fitness, you were pitted against a sixty plus year old man who is physically fit. What did you learn from Sylvester in regards to fitness?
Well, that man had lots and lots of stories to tell. I was very surprised to know some of his stories. We shared a lot of stories in Thailand as he has shot some of the Rambo movies in Thailand and I too come from Thailand. I’ve stayed there for seven years. The way he works is amazing. Sylvester doesn’t just remember his dialogues but he knows all the other dialogues of the people around him. It’s a good trait and something which we in Bollywood should learn.
Sylvester doesn’t just remember his dialogues but he knows all the other dialogues of the people around him
What is the style statement of your shoes?
What has that got to do with the film?
There is a dialogue in the film where you say ‘Women are only good for one thing’. Isn’t that an insult to women?
Motherhood you mean? Yes, I say that but it’s just the character I play in the film who is a male chauvinist.
You’re looking dapper day by day. What’s the reason?
I eat Chyavanprash everyday. You should also try it.
This is the seventh time you’re working with Akshay and your chemistry with him is working out fine. What say?
I love to work with Akshay Kumar because I’ve known him since I was in school. I met him first on the sets of Deedar with Karisma. He is one of India’s biggest superstars. His struggle along with Karisma’s has gone hand in hand. It feels like he is a part of a family.
I love to work with Akshay Kumar because I’ve known him since I was in school
Your best friend Amrita Arora is also there in Kambakkht Ishq.
It’s been great. I’ve worked with her in Golmaal Returns and I’m hoping that this film too does well like Golmaal Returns.
You look is very different in the film. Tell us something about it.
The stylist of this film is Aki Narula. We’ve shopped from Milan and Rome for the costumes of Kambakkht Ishq. You will not find such kind of dresses in a normal Hindi film. We’ve gone to a very understated and a classic look. I’ve got lots of messages from people about my look and it feels nice.
How different is Simrita from Kareena Kapoor?
Very different. Simrita in the film is a feminist and I’m not. Simrita is a tough nut to crack and I’m not. Simrita is quite insensitive in the first half which I’m not. But that’s the whole fun of it because we play roles different from our real life personality.
Simrita in the film is a feminist and I’m not
You too have got a dialogue saying ‘Men want only one thing’.
Don’t you think so? Lagta toh aise hi hain na? When you watch the film you’ll realise that. You guys watch English film, don’t you? Then why make such a big issue out of it?
How was it like shooting in Hollywood with Hollywood stars?
I loved working in Los Angeles. We had a beautiful weather and we got to work with the Hollywood crew. What more can we ask for? I’ve only done one scene with Denise Richards and two scenes with Sylvester Stallone. They are absolutely normal as normal can be.
How physically challenging and tedious can a role be after you’ve played size zero in Tashan?
Well, Tashan was tiring because I had to maintain a figure which sent the national economy for a toss. It’s nice and different in Tashan. Actually, I challenged myself to that film. Whereas in Kambakkht Ishq it’s more like the girl needed to be voluptuous and fuller. She needed to be more fashion conscious. I will don and change myself according to whatever role.
You just mentioned that you want to see Akshay Kumar on the top as he is your favourite hero. What about Saif? Don’t you want to see him on top too?
Saif is in the top already.
What was the best compliment you received from Sylvester Stallone?
The fact that I got to sit with him, interact with him and learn something from a hero who is like a father figure is more than what you can ask for. For me, that was my compliment.
We heard that Saif didn’t like you wearing a bikini in Tashan and a swim suit in Kambakkht Ishq.
People don’t wear jeans and go swimming, do they?
Which is your favourite song from the film?
There is a song with my name ‘Bebo’ in it and that is my favourite.