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'I do films to earn money'

March 15, 2022 08:56 IST

'My producer earns, I earn. It's a win-win situation.'


IMAGE: Akshay Kumar and Kriti Sanon in Bachchhan Paandey.

Akshay Kumar, known for drawing big bucks at the ticket counter, has been a reliable hitmaker with an impressive resume dating back close to three decades.

His cop drama Sooryavanshi took the box office by storm when theatres resumed operations after being shut down for a large part of 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

Now, all eyes are set on his next film, Bachchhan Paandey, which hits the marquee on March 18.

Ask him if he has a secret formula to draw audiences to cinemas, the superstar tells Contributor Mohnish Singh, "Everything has got to do with luck."

You are playing a negative role in the film. Do you want your fans to hate you?

I liked it, that's why I played the role. What's with the 'hate'?


IMAGE: Akshay in Bachchhan Paandey.

You have always said that you are a producer's actor. Has that come in handy when you produce films yourself?

I am the same, and my thinking is the same.

According to me, my thinking has always been that 'budget hit toh film hit'.

I have always gone with that.

I have made all my films on a proper budget and within time.

I have never wasted my co-actors' time.

I have never wasted anybody's time, everybody deserves their time to be respected.

You are among the first people on the sets.

If it's my production, the artistes will come at 7 and the technicians will come at 9.

IMAGE: Akshay, Jacqueline Fernandez and Kriti promote Bachchhan Paandey. Photograph: Kind courtesy Akshay Kumar/Instagram

Not many actors get the masses and classes together, but with your films, you have done both. And you get that formula right most of the time. How do you manage that?

To be honest, there is no such formula.

If I say that there is a formula just because you are praising me, no, there is no formula.

Everything has got to do with luck, and I always say this.

I have been very lucky that the films did well.

At times, many films do well, but at other times, they flop too.

I have seen 14 to 16 flops at a time, and during that period, no one said anything about formula.

Basically, there is no formula.

Everything is luck, and everything is hard work.

You just have to do one thing: Keep on working. Keep on working. Concentrate, keep on working and you will find the day.

You say there is no formula and yet, Hindi cinema follows a herd-like mentality. If content-driven films work, everybody starts making them. If Bachchhan Paandey works, we will see the same kind of movies being churned out.

Everybody thinks according to their mindset.

Every person wants to make a hit film, either by following the herd mentality or individually.

IMAGE: Akshay ends a schedule of his film Ram Sethu. Photograph: Kind courtesy Akshay Kumar/Instagram

This year, your films -- Bachchhan Paandey, Prithviraj, Raksha Bandhan, Cinderella, Ram Setu, Oh My God 2 and Selfiee -- are very different from each other. Is there any thought process or do you just say, 'script aati gayi mein karta gaya'?

Yeah, it is that.

I always see what's different, what's new, what's its purpose, and whether I have done it in the past.

I always ask my friends, who have read the script, if they have liked it and what they have to say about it.

There are minute things that I look for.

The budget is always the hardest part.

You cannot invest more than 40 to 50 days for a single film.

So when you wrap up in 55 days, no matter what the budget is, it will always stay in control.

I cannot work on a film that takes 100 to 200 days to complete.

I'm not capable of doing that kind of work.

So I do it according to my plans and I do small films.

During the '90s, you did a lot of two-hero films like Mohra and Main Khiladi Tu Anari, and you continue to do so. How do you stay relevant?

I listen to young people.

I play with them and spend time with them.

I talk to my son a lot.

I listen to what he has to say.

What is his understanding of life, how does he look at life?

Nowadays, it's very different how these people look at life.

Also, I don't understand a few words. I am like, 'Wait, talk at ease, explain it to me.' So it's that way.

IMAGE: Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif and Ranveer Singh in Sooryavanshi.

In Sooryavanshi, you let two other stars be a part of the climax. In Mission Mangal, the most beautiful scene is where you let all the women walk in front of you. Does this come naturally to you?

See, you are right.

I would not say names, but there is a dearth of people who think, 'Let's do two or three hero films.'

I just don't get it.

I keep on scratching my head and don't understand why they don't want to do it.

It is so wonderful to do three-hero subjects, four-hero subjects, even five-hero subjects.

That is what happens in Hollywood.

But here, they don't want to do it.

They agree to do a two-hero film with great difficulty. We have to beg them.

Things will change, I presume, one day.

It will happen.

They will change.

Why do you choose to do them?

Because the script is nice.

I want to be a part of a good film.

I want to be a part of a hit film rather than what is my role.

Main apne role ka achar dalunga, if the film doesn't work?

If it is a three-hero subject and my role is small and the story is great, I would want to be a part of it. Because when someone speaks about it, he will say, 'Oh, he too was there in the film. It's a hit film, it's a big film, and the film did business of Rs 300 crore.'

It will benefit me also.

IMAGE: Akshay with his Hera Pheri Director Priyadarshan. Photograph: Kind courtesy Akshay Kumar/ Instagram

You were the first to attempt a 2.0 crossover. Do you see this as competition?

Even Shah Rukh has done a film with Kamal Haasan.

No, I see this as a collaboration rather than competition.

We all want to appear on the big screen and make money out of it and make big films. So there is no point in competing.

It should be a collaboration, and the collaboration should not end here. It should go to other people from Hollywood, French films... it should keep on expanding.

You are one of the A-list actors who announced a digital debut much before COVID happened and before the OTT platform saw the boom that it did. What is happening on that front?

We were going to start this year, but were not satisfied with the screenplay.

Amazon was not satisfied, so we are still working on it.

If everything goes well, we should start next year.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Akshay Kumar/ Instagram

Has it become easier for you to detach from each role? Is there any role that has stayed with you for a long time?

I don't take it too seriously.

At the end of the day, it is called acting.

That's it. We act and go back to our homes.

I am not the kind of actor who gets so deeply involved that I won't be able to come out of it.

Do you do films for art or is it just business?

I do them for both.

I do social films.

I do message films.

I do films to earn money.

It's a win-win situation for the studio.

My producer earns, I earn. It's a win-win situation.

You have produced a beautiful Marathi film, Chumbak. Any plans to do more Marathi films?

We are writing one. If everything goes well, we will do it. We will announce it shortly.