Akshay Kumar started the year with Patiala House and his biggest gain from the film was an all around appreciation that he won for this performance there. Now a couple of months later, he is ready with Thank You that takes him in a far more commercial zone. As the film hits the screens today, Akshay Kumar talks about his love for commercial cinema, reason behind him going slow when it comes to making serious cinema and whether he has turned his back to such films for good.
Don’t you find it ironical that box office and appreciation don’t quite go hand in hand always? You saw that happening with Patiala House. Does that annoy or amuse you?
It’s completely understandable and it happens not only in Bollywood but also in Hollywood. How many times do you see an Oscar winning movie smash records at the Box Office? Not many let me tell you. Recently The King’s Speech – a remarkable film released, how many average Joes do you know went to see it and appreciated it? But yes, it will go down in cinematic history and quite rightly so. The biggest movie of all time – Avatar – didn’t even win an Oscar for ‘Best Film’! It’s the way the system works and I have to agree with it. Commercial cinema should be treated with a commercial response and artistic cinema should be treated like art. Such films are loved and admired for centuries but don’t quite find a place in everyone’s household! It’s just the way it works.
How many times do you see an Oscar winning movie smash records at the Box Office?
Guess you had to content yourself with the critical acclaim you earned for yourself with Patiala House?
I am extremely proud of Patiala House and I mean that very sincerely. We all knew from the beginning that it was never going to be a commercial movie. But sometimes in life when an actor and director come together, their aim isn’t to smash records or become the next mass hysteria. Sometimes a whisper of appreciation can be enough. As long as the producers don’t suffer, I think some movies are made to be admired, to be dwelled upon and quietly remembered & cherished. I haven’t felt the kind of love & support from my industry or our media in a long time as I have done because of Patiala House. I loved the movie and the critical acclaim was indeed much appreciated. There was no screaming, no shouting, our movie quietly came, made many a great man cry and left cinema halls with respect and appreciation. I am more than happy, I am thankful.
Guess that was an effort to shift from ‘always an entertainer’ image into serious cinema.
I am too wise to even think or speak the words of ‘Rest assured there will be a terrific opening’
I have nothing to prove in that sense. Everyone knows that I am capable of serious cinema; my track record proves that. Waqt is an example. It’s me; I choose not to make many serious movies as I know serious cinema and mass collections do not often mix. I believe in commercial entertaining since that is where the happiness of audiences and producers come in; they deserve success as much as anyone. Don’t get me wrong, once in a blue moon I yearn to do something that pushes the boundaries of not only my skills but of cinema’s world also. But then with critical acclaim comes loss at the Box Office and no one deserves to lose. Now I am excited to go back to hearing people laugh in my films rather than sniffing and sobbing. It won’t be forever but I need a good comedy like Thank You to surprise my fans again. But no, I will never turn my back on serious cinema; sometimes it can be the greatest work in ones career!
Does that mean with Thank You, you are positive than ever before that there is a good opening waiting to happen?
Come on, I am too wise to even think or speak the words of ‘Rest assured there will be a terrific opening’. Having said that, I do have a very wonderful feeling in my stomach this time around and no amount of humble nerves can take it away. All of this certainly means that I must be very excited about Thank You.