Akshay: Stopped doing Khiladi films because I got married
Akshay Kumar becomes a Khiladi once again, after 12 long years.
In Khiladi 786, the actor goes back to his antics -- albeit with a lot more action -- and romances the beautiful Asin.
Akshay tells Sonil Dedhia why he stopped working in Khiladi movies, what Khiladi 786 is all about, and what plans he has for his 10-year-old son Aarav.
Your last Khiladi film was 12 years ago. That's a very long gap.
I did Khiladi 420 12 years ago and then I stopped because I got married.
Being a husband and then a father, a man has to settle down a little bit and so I did comedy and romance.
Now my son has grown up so I want to go back to action.
I am always referred to as Khiladi Kumar and I like being referred to by that name. It has stuck to me for the last 20 years now.
In Khiladi 786, there is over-the-top action. I wouldn't call it an action movie; I would call it an action comedy.
Image: Akshay Kumar in Khiladi 786
'Action is what I am'
You seem to be taking forward the legacy of Khiladi. How do you feel?
I feel amazing. All these names have been given to me by the fans and media. Like 'Singh is Kinng' which is also a name given to me.
It's a different thing that I am not getting a script and so cannot make another Singh is Kinng.
When you find a story you can make into a film and give it back to the people and take the legacy forward, you feel great.
What's it like being back in action?
It is a great thing to return to action. It's my love.
I have been in this industry because of action.
Action is what I am. Because of action, I am here.
Image: Asin and Akshay Kumar in Khiladi 786
'The toughest stunt was for Khiladi 420'
You do your stunts yourself. Have you ever felt scared executing a stunt sequence?
Of course, I feel scared. But there are two types of fear: good and bad.
Good makes you want to be careful. If you tell me that I have to jump from some stools, my good fear will tell me to check the surface under it.
What has been your toughest stunt?
The toughest stunt was for Khiladi 420 when I was on top of a moving pla#8800 a plane on which people are even scared to sit.
The plane was flying at a height and speed and I had to jump.
Image: Akshay Kumar in Khiladi 420
'Making people laugh is the most difficult thing'
Action is more superficial these days than realistic, don't you think?
As a journalist, you ask questions that your readers may like to read. Similarly, we try to fulfil our audience's demands, and over the top action is what works these days.
These are their demands and we have to try and give it to them. You get this feedback from focus groups.
When you started doing comedy, your contemporaries had moved away from it. Do you think it was a big risk?
When I entered the industry, the comedy genre had almost died down. I think it came back with Hera Pheri.
If you see the overseas market, comedy or action doesn't work individually. But when you mix them together, it really works.
People want their actors to do comedy too. They don't want any comedians next to the actor. They want one solo hero and want to see everything in him.
Making people laugh is the most difficult thing. To make people cry is easy but it's tough to make them laugh.
Image: Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar in Hera Pheri
'My son can become whatever he wants to'
You haven't stuck with a particular director...
I do not believe in camps. I believe in palaces. In my head, I live in a palace and have lots of space for everyone.
Would you eventually want to pass on your legacy of Khiladi to your son?
Only if he wants to accept it.
He is just 10 years old. He can become whatever he wants to. He might want to become a doctor or lawyer or anything. I don't want to pressurise him.
Image: Twinkle, Akshay Kumar and Aarav
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar