Akshay Kumar continues to be on the roll. He had as many as four releases last year. This year, he started off with an offbeat Airlift which not just turned out to be a super hit at the box office but also stays as the highest grosser of the year so far when it comes to Bollywood releases. Now he is arriving with Housefull 3, third instalment of the franchise which had also marked his entry into the 100 crore club four years back. While he gears up for his comic release, there are also multiple other films in different stages of production, all of which would keep him occupied till 2017 end at the least.
We get into a freewheeling conversation with easily the busiest, and inarguably one of the most versatile superstars around. Here is presenting Part II of the exclusive conversation.
Amongst girls, there is Jacqueline Fernandez opposite you. Now in Brothers, you were required to be quite serious with each other for most of the time. Guess you could let your hair down this time around?
Well this is Jacqueline’s 3rd Housefull movie now. From her item number in Housefull to her crush with John Abraham in Housefull 2 to her doctor’s qualification in Housefull 3, she is just growing year by year. I must say comedies are much easier for her to do. She is so full of life and energy that I reckon Brothers was very tough on her emotionally. Yet, even then she blew me away in that as well. Whoever says young actresses should not play mothers too soon is mad. Jacks was a natural. I am so proud of her growth and her effort over the years. She has never given up and she knows what she wants and where she is going. She works and aims to better herself with each & every project. It’s about time that she was given more recognition for her work.
The film has you in a part where you turn Sundi and lust after Jackie in number of scenes. Was it indeed a riotous moment for the two of you to get it all right for the screen?
It was harder for Jacqueline to keep a straight face more than anything. My Sandy and Sundi characters are very extreme. She handled it all within her stride. She took all the knocks and bumps and yanking and screaming like a pro. She just couldn’t stop herself from giggling along the way though, but she is an excellent victim to lust over! She gives you the space to perform but gets right in there when required. Brave girl indeed!
On the other hand there is Lisa Hayden with whom you were seen in The Shaukeens. How do you find her comic timing in a set up like Housefull 3 where everyone is required to go over the top?
Lisa has a very unique sense of humor. What she finds funny, she actually finds hilarious and becomes uncontrollable to handle, which I think is genuinely brilliant. But in the film her character is withdrawn and coy, so she had to be much more innocent in Housefull 3 than in The Shaukeens, which I think she played phenomenally well by the way. The best thing with Lisa is to just let her know what you want and then set her free in the scene. This is when she becomes more than funny. She is a natural and full of surprises in this film.
As for the third girl, Nargis Fakhri, she has seen quite some criticism come her way ever since she entered Bollywood. Since you the senior-most actor in the film, was there any guidance you had for her?
Let’s not forget Boman (Irani) sir and Jackie (Shroff) sir; they are the senior most, and yet the most mischievous. Nargis has a damn strong head on her shoulders. Whatever cards she has been dealt, she can handle it. As for the guidance, she comes from the Bronx (USA). She doesn’t need guidance; she needs a gun (smiles). I am kidding! I find her incredibly witty off camera; she reminds me of Jennifer Lawrence. She is always putting her foot in her mouth and there is no filter, which I find extremely refreshing if you ask me. I really wish for her to be given a role that shows her best side. Rather than getting her to fit in, I want her to stand out.
The film comes at the time when the only Hindi film to have done excellent business this year is Airlift. While this is a moment of pride for you, do you feel that Bollywood could have only benefitted further had there been more successes?
I would have to agree with you there; it has been a tough year at the Hindi box office; but at the same time, there are so many amazing releases happening post June that I feel Bollywood will be flying high again pretty soon. As much as I am proud of Airlift, I want all my peers’ films to do well also. Believe me, things are about to pick up and how. There is going to be hit after hit coming very soon (smiles).
You have been constantly shifting genres film after film. From Airlift to Housefull 3, it is an entire range of spectrum you are covering. Guess it is inherent confidence in yourself that is making it happen, right?
It has got nothing to do with confidence at all with me; it has got everything to do with the excitement I feel when a good script lands in my lap. I can’t wait to get started. Whether it’s right or wrong, commercial or artistic – when something turns my head and keeps me awake at night, it means that I have to go for it because my feet won’t sit still until I have bagged the part my stomach is aching for.
For audience, there is a brand new Akshay Kumar out there who can do an Airlift and a Babywith as much conviction as a Housefull 3 or Singh Is Bliing. It must be helping gather an enhanced fan base, isn’t it?
I would hope so. I have never been one to want to be on top; I have always wanted to just entertain. Be it any form or genre, I just want to take people away from their hectic lives and give them an experience at the cinema. The wider the range of acting I do, hopefully the more lives I can entertain. Versatility will always be the key to my achievements. I can’t please all the people all of the time, but I aim to please some of the people, most of the time (smiles).
Your annual summer holiday is due too. So are there plans that have already been put together?
Oh yes, my wife is the official vacation guru. Tina (Twinkle Khanna) plans our entire trip. We meet with all our friends in various countries and live life King-size for a month. While our kids are off school, we teach them the way of the World while they teach us to be young and carefree again. I don’t know who is luckier, us or them (smiles).