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Akshay: Couldn't have got a better comeback to action

Last updated on: May 29, 2012 17:01 IST

Akshay: Couldn't have got a better comeback to action

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Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

It has the original Khiladi of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar, returning to action after a long hiatus.

It is director Prabhu Deva's second Bollywood film -- his first, Wanted, was the superhit that marked a change in actor Salman Khan's career.

It is actress Sonakshi Sinha's first outing after Dabangg, one of Bollywood's biggest hits.

Is it any wonder then that Rowdy Rathore, which will hit the screens June 1, is among the most awaited films of the year?

Sonil Dedhia catches up with Akshay and Prabhu Deva for an action-packed conversation.

Akshay, you are doing an action film after almost seven years. Do you think Rowdy Rathore is the right comeback vehicle?

I don't think I could have got a better comeback. It is a raw action film directed by one of the best action directors, Prabhu Deva.

I did action for nearly 14 to 15 years, so I wanted a break. I know it was a long break, but I don't think it is late for me to come back to action films. Now I have three to four action films lined up back to back.

During these seven years, didn't anyone approach you for an action film?

There were a lot of filmmakers who offered me action films, but I deliberately left it out. I never did films because I was attracted to action. I have always taken up films which I thought I could be a part of.

Did you take up this film because of the ongoing trend of action films?

No, it had nothing to do with the trend. It has been a long time since I did action and I thought I could be a part of this film. I am very excited about Rowdy Rathore. I am in the film industry because of my action films. I feel like a newcomer, who is trying action for the first time.


Image: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and Prabhu Deva
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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Prabhu Deva: It was Bhansali's idea to make Rowdy Rathore

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Prabhu Deva, you made your first Hindi film, Wanted, with Salman Khan. What made you select Akshay for this film?

I didn't select him. He selected me (Laughs).

On a serious note, action is very easy and comes naturally to Akshay. He might be doing an action film after seven years, but action has always been a part of him. I don't think Rowdy Rathore should be called Akshay's return to action. When you see the film you will realise that action is not put deliberately in the film. It is only a part of the story.

I still feel like a newcomer in Bollywood. Every time I work with an actor, it becomes the first time for me. (Though) Rowdy Rathore is my second film in Hindi, there is the same pressure about this film's performance at the box office.

Wanted was a remake. Why did you decide on another remake?

It was not my decision. Sanjay Leela Bhansali (co-producer of the film) met me in Chennai. He expressed his desire to make a masala film. You will be shocked to know that he is more commercial a filmmaker than I am. It was his idea to making Rowdy Rathore. When he said he wanted me to direct the film, I immediately agreed.


Image: Akshay Kumar in Rowdy Rathore


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Akshay: I don't think Bhansali would like to direct an action film

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Bhansali has been a director. Did he at any point get in the way during the shoots?

He came for the mahurat shot and he didn't come for the shoot at all. He never interfered. He was keen on me being comfortable as a director. He only said 'whatever you need from me as a producer just let me know.'

Is it easy to direct a remake?

Every film has its own challenges. As directors we have to think what the audience will like. Rowdy Rathore is a remake, but it is completely different from the original. Right from songs, the romantic track to comedy and action, everything has been changed keeping in mind the taste of the Hindi film audience.

In fact, I have plans to make a film with a fresh script.

Akshay, Bhansali has never made action films. When he offered this film what was the thought process in your mind?

Producing a film is completely different from directing. I don't think Bhansali would like to direct an action film and if he does, I am sure he will make a good action film.


Image: Akshay Kumar in Rowdy Rathore

Tags: Bhansali

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Akshay: Doing action in films has become a lot safer today

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How different is the action in the film from what you have done before?

Rowdy Rathore has raw, street-style action. I have always done martial arts and action involving more technicalities. But this is street fighting.

How has the style of action evolved over the years?

Performing stunts or doing action in films has become a lot safer today. There are so many equipment and techniques, which are available today that makes it easy for an actor to do an action sequence. But at the end of the day if you want perfection in anything you really have to work very hard.

The film has been constantly being compared to Salman Khan's Dabangg...

When our film is compared to a superhit film, it is a good thing. I am happy that the film is not compared with any flop film (Smiles).


Image: Akshay Kumar in Rowdy Rathore

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Akshay: Sonakshi always keeps smiling

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You have now spent two decades in the industry. What keeps you going?  

Despite doing comedy for 12 years or so, I can't say I know everything about comedy. In the same way, in spite of doing action for 14 to 15 years, I cannot say I know everything about action.

Action, comedy, romance, horror, drama -- you will get to see more elements in these genres in every film that you do. There are many branches in these existing genres. I see myself learning more and more things.

You have worked with a lot of new actresses. How was the experience of working with Sonakshi?

Sonakshi remembers her lines very well. Her father (Shatrughan Sinha) always had a smile on his face no matter what the situation. He would never be quiet and would always be the centre of attention. The same is the case with Sonakshi. She loves life and one always sees her smiling. She laughs so loud that she becomes the centre of attention by default! (Laughs)

Prabhu, was it a conscious decision to cast Sonakshi in the lead?

Yes, the characters are tailor-made for both Akshay and Sonakshi. We needed somebody who could look like a girl from a small town and who better than Sonakshi.


Image: Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha in Rowdy Rathore


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Prabhu Deva: Everybody wants me to do action-oriented masala films

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Akshay, Prabhu Deva hasn't choreographed any songs in the film. Do you think you have missed an opportunity?

Actually Prabhu was always there, but according to the script we wanted particular kind of choreography. We have Saroj Khan, Bosco-Ceaser and Vishnu as chorographers. They suited perfectly.

Of course, Even when Prabhu was not choreographing he used to help me do whatever step the other choreographers gave me, and the way he used to explain, it made things simple for me.

Prabhu you appear in one of the songs, dancing alongside Akshay.

(Smiles) Yes, it is similar to my appearance in the song Jalwa in Wanted. I don't want to appear more than that in the films that I direct. I can't do everything myself.


Image: Akshay Kumar in Rowdy Rathore


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Prabhu Deva: My focus is Hindi films now

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Is it true that you are directing the remake of Rajinikanth's Baasha in Hindi?

These are just rumours.

You have directed films in Tamil and Telugu. Will you now concentrate on making Hindi films?

My focus is Hindi films now. Everybody wants me to do action-oriented masala films. I will go with the audience. Whatever they want from me, I will do it. After all, my films have to be liked by the viewers. My next Hindi film will be announced after a few months.

You are also getting back to acting with Anybody Can Dance...

Yes, it is a 3D dance film which will be directed by (choreographer) Remo. It is a typical dance film where I am playing the lead.

You will see better dancers than me in it. We are really working hard on it. I think it will turn out to be a good film.

Image: Movie poster of Rowdy Rathore


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