I wondered if I would only be known for three kicks, five punches: Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar has traversed more than a few images on screen in his more than two-decade-old acting career, to be finally accepted today in roles beyond action and comedy, and the star definitely counts this as an achievement in his journey. Akshay reveals in a new interview that for the first 10 years of his career, he was doing the same thing, which got to a point that he questioned himself if he would just remain an actor famous for “three kicks and five punches.”
Watch:| Akshay Kumar on his roles
Speaking to a group of journalists while promoting his upcoming film, Jolly LLB 2, Akshay discussed the challenge of doing the sequel of the 2013 satire, his career path and why star rivalries are overhyped.
With Jolly LLB 2, Akshay plays a lawyer on screen for the first time. While he had a blast working on the character, the actor said he is feeling the pressure of performing a role that was made famous by Arshad Warsi who was the lead in the first film. “I am very grateful to Arshad for showing me a way to do a film like this. He is the guy who made the first film very big. So, it is not about commercial or non commercial. I also went according to what he did. So, on the contrary I hope this film goes the same way and the pressure is on me,” Akshay said.
The film has director Subhash Kapoor at the helm once again, while actor Huma Qureshi stars opposite Akshay. It will release on February 10. Akshay said that it might be a courtroom comedy, but a lot of other angles have also been explored in the film. “Courtroom drama doesn’t mean it will stick to just the court scenes. In real life as well, while solving a case you need to step out of the court and investigate and research. So, we have shown all those aspects in the film. The movie is as much about the courtroom as about what is happening outside.” It is a fact that a common man does not have it easy while dealing with law in the country and a lot of times people have voiced their lack of faith in the judiciary system. But Akshay doesn’t feel so and the actor said after doing Jolly LLB 2, the issue is the disparity between the number of cases and judges.
“Who says that people don’t have trust in the judicial system. If tomorrow something happens to anyone, he or she will go to the court. The only issue is that it takes a long time for a case to get its result. But what can the judges do? They are trying their level best. We don’t have enough judges when compared to the large number of pending cases,” the actor said.
Moving beyond Jolly LLB 2, Akshay’s recent works have enjoyed immense critical acclaim, but the actor hasn’t been recognised at various awards held in the country. Did Akshay feel let down that Airlift didn’t get enough space at award shows despite the film being a commercial success as well as critically acclaimed? The actor replied, “That’s okay, maybe I don’t deserve it because there are many people who did much better and they got it. I wouldn’t like to question the authenticity of the awards.”
Akshay will soon start shooting for filmmaker R Balki’s Padman, based on Arunachalam Muruganantham, the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad making machine. Besides this, he has Tamil superstar Rajinikanth-starrer 2.0, Toilet Ek Prem Katha and Neeraj Pandey’s Crack. The actor said that he is enjoying the variety in the offers he gets nowadays, something which was quite difficult to achieve earlier in his career.
“It’s only recently that I have started enjoying my work. Now, I am getting a lot of different offers so, it feels good. I started as an action hero. For eight-ten years, I only did action every day. No one would consider me for any other role than action. That got to me. I learnt that you can’t stick to one image. You have to have different images. Not only will people say that to you but you yourself will start getting bored of it.”
Recalling the incident which turned out to be a moment of reality check for him, Akshay said, “I still remember one day when I was going for shoot of an action film. I stayed on the 11th floor so, I got into the lift to go to the shoot and in the lift, when I looked into the mirror and it talked to me and said, ‘So, you are going to do the same thing today as well? Are you going to do the same thing all your life?’ That was a wake up call. Then I decided to do something different. I spoke to Priyadarshan sir and he believed I could do comedy. I didn’t have that belief in myself.”
Hence, the actor holds Priyadarshan in high regard. The director helped him transform into a competitive comedian and today he is the benchmark of good comic actor. The actor-director duo gave hits like Hera Pheri, Garam Masala, Bhagam Bhag and Bhool Bhulaiyaa. While the actor has no immediate plans to reunite with the director on a project, he only has heaps of praise for him. “I love Priyadarshan’s work. That man is a genius. No one makes comedies better Priyadarshan. He finishes a film in 30-40 days. He writes his own scripts, edits the film besides directing it. He is highly talented.”
Towards the end of the interview, Akshay spoke about his upcoming collaboration with superstar Salman Khan. Akshay has been cast in the yet-untitled movie, which will be co-produced by Salman. The actor said that the Sultan star showed greatness in casting a contemporary in his production. “This is generally seen in Hollywood but it has never happened in Bollywood that a star signs another star for his film. I hope this becomes a trend because I think as an industry we have evolved. We might not meet each other, but we all have respect for each other’s work. Salman and I have never been to each other’s house but we love each other from far. With social media, people get to bond with each other and they get a chance to come close to each other. These stories of one actor having problem with the other are often blown out of proportion.”