Akshay Kumar is one actor who has always attempted to perform in and produce films with a message. Films like Padman, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Air Lift amongst others doesn’t help solve our own problems, but makes society a better place to live in, he feels.
Akki who has been associated with South Indian makers like Priyadarshan and Prabhudeva is all happy to have shared the same screen space with the iconic Rajnikanth in the much awaited film 2.0 directed by Shankar. The actor shared his thoughts in a conversation with Lipika Varma.
On what he learned from Rajnikanth
When I met him for the shooting, I came to know that he’s a Maharashtrian and he speaks in Marathi. I spoke to him in Marathi. Even if you give him a tiny line to speak as a dialogue and perform as well, he makes it so stylish and full of swag. An ordinary line becomes an extraordinary line. I asked him how he does it. His style mantra is what I learnt from him throughout the film.
On the arduous process of Make-up for 2.0
The make-up process took three and half hours. Three people use to be around me. This was the toughest make-up I have ever had to go-through — it was practically third degree as the suit was thick and they would apply feathers.
When I removed the suit I would smell of sweat as there were no exit points for my sweat to ooze out. I could not eat as my body would bloat. Hence I was kept on liquid diet. I was kept in an AC cage. I could not move about. The cage would be pushed around. I felt like a bird who was allowed to come out and then put back in the cage. If I was out of this AC cage — the makeup would come off. I sat in for 38 days and I know what I went through. I am a very patient man but I have become more patient. They kept a bed ready so that I could lie down at times. After three days I was advised to take rest for a day. I had worn lenses which were thick and bigger than my eye ball. I suffered conjunctivitis one day but they took care of it. My eyes had turned red but that was bound to happen. The eye doctor was on the sets so were other doctors present to take care of my health.
On playing the antagonist role for the first time ever
If I am playing a negative role, it’s a reel character. I don’t think anyone will feel that having played a negative character I am like a villain in real as well. They know I am not a negative human being. I am playing a character and only time will tell what I am doing. I know Amrish Puri did so many negative roles but people came and met him with a lot of love.
On roles in earlier films especially written for villains
I have been a fan of filmi villains like Amrish Puri, Danny, Ranjeet saab, Madan Puri, Jeevan and Ajit. Nowadays there are no villains, and no roles are specially written for them. Manoj Bajpayee and Nawazuddin are playing different roles. There is no set image. Everyone is playing different roles. If I get any character even if it is for just 15 minutes to perform on reel, I will certainly do it. I don't mind doing roles in a four-hero or five-hero film. I am doing a film Mission Mangal which has five heroines. No one asked what the other’s role is. Everyone wants to be part of a good film. I am glad to be a part of a big film like this — it's one of the most expensive films in India. In Hollywood actors do a lot of different roles, the trend is seeping in here.
On being replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger
I come from a background where I didn’t get roles. I don’t care whom the role was offered to first. I am doing the film and I enjoyed doing it. Being associated with a film of such huge vision and that too technically well made, I would not mind even being the director’s fourth choice. I only care for good and appealing content. I have always tried to make films with high content even from my own production house. Audience mind has been opened in a vast way. They have so much choice on internet, cell phones and television. There is so much space for good content and now is the time to take risks and Shankar has done it.
On Being associated with South films
It’s not the first time I am doing a South film. I had done a Kannada film Vishnu Vijaya directed by Keshu Ramsay in 1993. I have interacted and worked with many south Indian technicians and directors. I have done a lot of films with Priyadarshan and Prabhu Deva.
They work at a fast pace. They don’t waste our time. They don’t come late. They have better technologies. They try and upgrade themselves with latest technologies. In this film you will see that the mobile turns into a human form — when it walks you will hear the sound from below the seat you may be sitting in the cinema hall. The idea is to experience new technologies.
On South Indian film makers
For me 2.0 is a bigger film than Hollywood, though Hollywood makers have big budgets and no budgetary constraints.
In comparison to them, films by our South Indian makers is made with great content having a different and alluring vision, which are also technically great films in a meager budget. Surely, Hollywood makers won’t be able to make a film on such scale with such a meager budget. South film makers are ready to take risks and make our country proud for making a world standard film.
On content oriented scripts from his Production house
I have always believed in content. My films will tell great stories. I am doing Kesari which is in the war and action zone now. I want to get into such new forms of making new films. Even Mission Mangal is an interesting film, but I can’t talk about it.
On being a disciplinarian
I have been taught discipline from childhood. I have carried on the system. I don’t take myself for granted. I do not like to waste any ones time. I can do things on time. If I don’t take others for granted it means I am not taking my work for granted. Thus I always believe in time management. Look! We have been taught to reach school on time. If we are late we are marked late and at times may be rusticated from school. Thus I ask a question to everyone here. When because of the pressure of being rusticated, we always reached to school on time, why can’t we simply follow the rule we have been taught during our school days….to always be on time?