Akshay Kumar

Akshay Kumar hits |the big screen again with his latest film, Entertainment, which opens locally on Friday. Bollywood Hungama’s Subhash K Jha asked the star a few questions about his previous offerings, this movie and more…

Holiday has acquired blockbuster status. How does it feel to have delivered such a successful movie during a year when there haven’t been that many successful films released?

Thank you! Excuse my bluntness, but the triumph of Holiday has nothing to do with whether other films are successful or not. I genuinely don’t feel any better for Holiday’s success because other films haven’t been doing that well this year.

It has everything to do with the fact that such an honest, admirable film, was recognised by friend and foe, audiences and critics the world over, and was admired and appreciated for all it’s worth. That is what makes this wonderful blockbuster commendable.

Holiday signalled a change in your career, considering it is mostly comedies that you are associated with?

My place will always be with action and comedy. It is where my heart is, and that’s where and when my blood pumps. But my ambitions as an actor will never stop growing.

Making films like Holiday inspires me to step out of my comfort zone with confidence, because deep down you know that the project is worthy.

Your next film, Entertainment, is an out-an-out comedy. Do you feel your fans like to see you perform mostly in that genre?

My fans are incredible! Whatever makes them happy, I’m willing to do. They gave me so much praise for Holiday and requested I do more cinema like this. But at the same time, they said they still can’t wait for I to release!

So, I think, if I give them the best of both worlds, which I’m juggling with my next three films, then by God’s grace, they’ll be happy and I’ll feel worthy of their love and support. I am nothing without them.

That’s really modest of you. It’s the truth! Actors are the ones who are supposed to set trends. But it doesn’t matter how much we think something works, if the audience says “No, mate”, we can do nothing but walk away with our tails between our legs and come back with a better option next time.

Curiously, your main co-star in Entertainment seems to be an over-sized canine. The last film I remember about the rapport between the hero and a canine was Teri Meherbaniyan with Jackie Shroff. Do you feel films about the relationship between a hero and the animal kingdom like Haathi Mere Saathi can grab today’s audiences? Absolutely! In Entertainment, I think you’d have to be pretty cold-hearted not to feel for the man-dog relationship. Believe me, there are more dog lovers out there than there are action freaks. So, if my Khiladi franchise can work, so can this.

How relevant is Entertainment to today’s definitions of movie entertainment? Comedy isn’t relevant, comedy is what it is; it’s timeless, it’s fun, and if anyone tries to make it anything more than that, then they are barking up the wrong tree… Pun intended!

This is also your umpteenth film with a debutant director, a duo of debutant directors. Do you enjoy working with new directors as much as you do established ones? Absolutely, if not more, as I can be more versatile with debutants than with established directors as they love to learn, experiment and improvise with scenes much as I do.

Most acclaimed directors like to play it their way and their way only, which is great, because you can’t be on fire all the time.

But all kids like to run wild sometimes and if you’re going to make a laughathon, you need to make it with open-minded people who have hearts bigger than India’s map and funny-bones softer than a puppy in a paddling pool.

How keen are you at this stage of your career to do offbeat films, like you’ve done Neeraj Pandey’s Special 26 and you’re doing his Baby also. So which do you enjoy more? Baby or Heyy Babyy? I will always enjoy doing a Heyy Babyy more, because entertainment is, of course, entertainment. But doing a serious film like Baby is extremely fulfilling and rewarding as an individual and an actor.

But seeing as I have the luck and the luxury to be invited to be a part of both, I can only say this… I love my work, be it funny, serious, emotional, or useless. It makes me appreciate all I have done, good, bad or indifferent. I’m just glad I’ve done something.

You work with a slew of new actresses: Tamannah, Tapsee Pannu and Kriti Sanon. Why?

Why not? They deserve the right to be given a chance. I’ve always chosen to be instinctive rather than calculated. I think that’s one of the nicest things about me.

If all of us leading men worked with the same talented heroines, how would our industry ever grow? No one knows who the next Kareena Kapoor Khan or Katrina Kaif will be. It’s my duty to give back to this industry what was given to me.

And what’s that? Opportunities. – bollywoodhungama.com