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The Rediff Interview
'I am comfortable doing intense roles'
January 02, 2003
He was once called Bollywood's Casanova. Now, Akshay Kumar has a new sobriquet: Workaholic.
Gone are the days when Akshay was more interested in the fighter rather than the actor in him. Having sailed smoothly with Aankhen, Awara Paagal Deewana and Jaani Dushman, he has plum projects which include Suneel Darshan's Talaash, Madhur Bhandarkar's Aan (earlier titled Police Force), Raj Kanwar's Andaaz and Rajkumar Santoshi's Khaki.
The actor is single-mindedly concentrating on his career. He has hired a PR agency to take care of all his publicity.
On the personal front, Akshay couldn't be happier, with the birth of his son Araav. Excerpts from an interview with Vickey Lalwani:
How satisfied are you with your career?
It is really looking up. Touch wood, the sun has been shining on me since the last three years. The last two years in particular have been very satisfying. I have begun to be appreciated in all my movies. My wife Twinkle has brought me luck.
In a year of flops, what do you think went in favour of Aankhen and Awara Paagal Deewana?
Aankhen was the perfect combo of action and performance. As for Awara Paagal Deewana, the fact that the camerawork and technique were not the run-of-the-mill stuff clicked.
You have distinctly changed your image on screen. Was it a conscious effort?
Yes. I wanted to move on. I wanted to prove I am equally comfortable doing intense roles. I was straitjacketed as an action hero. Not that I am saying goodbye to action. Merely that I am looking at quality, not quantity. I thank the media which was objective about my repetitive action on screen and made me question myself. I thank the directors who visualised me in serious, challenging roles.
How confident are you about Talaash?
Very much. It has worked out very well. As the title suggests, it is a search for love, for someone who is very dear to me. I have not been able to get in touch with this person for the last 16 years. But I have just a year in which to search, else I shall lose this person. So the clock is ticking away throughout.
And that missing person is?
*laughs* You want me to tell you everything? This is not fair. See the film. You won't be disappointed.
How was it working with Kareena Kapoor in Talaash?
Kareena is extremely beautiful, talented and sincere. She has the potential to surprise her costars and directors, and knows the art of talking to the camera very well.
You have worked with both Kapoor sisters -- Karisma in Ek Rishtaa -- The Bond Of Love and Kareena in Talaash. What is the difference and similarity in them?
Karisma is a methodical actress, while Kareena is spontaneous. That's the difference. The result for both is fantastic. That's the similarity.
Which is your next release after Talaash?
Andaaz, in which I play an air force officer. It is a love triangle between Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra and me. A very different and interesting dimension has been added to it so it doesn't get projected as the usual triangle.
Are Aan and Khaki similar?
They are both based on the police force. That's where the similarity begins and ends.
Does it feel any different now that you are married?
There is the lovely feeling now that, at the end of a long, hard day, I am going home to my wife and child.
Twinkle was a super girlfriend and is an equally super wife. She understands me completely. She can read me like a book. She can gauge my mood by taking one look at me. I have learnt a lot from her. We are made for each other.
How is fatherhood like?
Ten hits cannot give me the joy and thrill which my son Araav has brought me.
You maintain you will still do daredevil scenes. Doesn't Twinkle object?
Yes, but she knows that is my passion. Sorry, addiction. She was furious when I did a scene with sharks for Aankhen. That the scene was deleted on the editing table is a different story.
We hear you are going to China to learn meditation.
(interrupts, excitedly) Yes, yes, yes. I am going to Shaolin as well. It will be fun.