« Back to articlePrint this article

'I have no fear of failure because...'

January 31, 2024 10:44 IST

'... when you hit rock bottom, you can't go any lower than that.'
'And I've been to rock bottom.'
'But that's what made me the actor I am today. I'm fearless.'

IMAGE: Akshay Oberoi played air force pilot Basheer Khan in Director Siddharth Anand's war drama Fighter. Photograph: Kind courtesy Akshay Oberoi/Instagram

Akshay Oberoi's birthday month couldn't have been happier, as his latest film Fighter marches towards blockbuster status after its Republic Day weekend release.

The actor plays an air force pilot named Basheer Khan in Director Siddharth Anand's film, headlined by Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone.

After making his Bollywood debut as a lead actor in 2010 with Rajshri Productions' Isi Life Mein, he was seen playing supporting roles in projects like Madam Chief Minister, Laal Rang, Gaslight and Flesh.

Akshay says Fighter has brought a major shift in his career and the way audiences perceive him will change after this film.

"Would I do anything differently? Yeah, sure. But regret? F*** no, I don't want to do that," the actor tells Mayur Sanap/

What present did you get on your birthday (January 1) with Fighter? How has the past few days been since its release?

Oh yeah! It's been wonderful. I feel grateful.

I'm very grateful to Siddharth and Mamta Anand.

But forget everything else yaar, just the film is so beautiful.

I feel so proud to be in Fighter.

I am sure you were waiting for a big break. Do you think Fighter has made that happen?

Anybody who knows my career will know that it was.

My work has always been critically acclaimed, whether it's Gurgaon or Laal Rang or Pizza or Flesh.

But this large scale appreciation of this large scale audience watching has never happened to my career.

It has introduced my work to a much larger audience who never knew who I was. That's a big moment in an actor's life.

How did you land the part?

I did not audition for this.

I did a show called Flesh with Swara Bhasker, where I played a transgender flesh trade owner.

The show was produced by Siddharth and Mamta Anand. So we have a working relationship from that time.

Not a lot of people had seen the show, but we really enjoyed working together, and Mamta believed in me.

That's how I was offered Fighter.

How did you prepare for the role?

We got a chance to spend time with the Indian Air Force, and ask them all kinds of questions.

As actors, our entire job is to constantly absorb.

I learned a lot just by watching and listening to them, how they talk, how they walk, how they stand, and how they behave with one another.

Then, of course, we were prepped about the cockpit. There was a lot of that.

When you land a film that's so massive in scale, does it put you under pressure?

I try not to take pressure because the second you do, you can no longer act. To act properly, you have to be very relaxed on a set.

I would prep myself in the morning to just go out and feel confident in my own craft because I was working with some of the biggest stars in the country.

But at the end of the day, I would realise, 'Oh my God, man, this is really a big film that I have and a really big experience.'

IMAGE: Akshay with Hrithik Roshan, Anil Kapoor and Siddharth Anand. Photograph: Kind courtesy Akshay Oberoi/Instagram

I loved the chemistry between the cast in the film. Do you remember the first time you met Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone?

I had worked on Piku with Deepika.

I've done small jobs with Anil Kapoor in Thar and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga. I've also done a show called Selection Day that he produced.

So we already that kind of comfort with each other.

I've idolised Hrithik since I was a kid.

I met KSG (Karan Singh Grover) for the first time while making this film and became instant friends.

I think we got lucky because the second we met on shoot, the bond was very natural. There was a lot of love, a lot of trust, and a lot of joking around while making this film.

I feel things tickle down from the top because Sid is such a fun guy to be around.

IMAGE: Akshay with Mamta Anand and co-star Karan Singh Grover. Photograph: Kind courtesy Akshay Oberoi/Instagram

What's your favourite moment from the shoot?

Every single day of shooting this movie was memorable.

Landing this project, working with these great stars, shooting in those fighter jets, being on the Tezpur air force base, shooting in Kashmir, shooting on a lavish song set... I cherished every second.

Without giving away any spoilers, tell us about your favourite scene in the film.

The pre-climax scene, where my character repeats the shayari that Hrithik does earlier in the film.

And the Jai Hind moment that comes after that. That's my favourite. You can see a little bit of that in the trailer as well.

To have that scene in such a big commercial movie was very cool.

As Fighter has become a hit, do you see any changes already happening in your career?

Of course there will be changes, because a larger audience knows me now.

I don't know what that is yet as these things take time to figure out.

But I'm sure the way people perceive me will change.

What kind of opportunities do you hope to come your way?

No idea, but I hope great ones. (Laughs)

IMAGE: Akshay and Sandeepa Dhar in Isi Life Mein.

From Isi Life Mein to Fighter, it's been over a decade for you in the industry. What has been your valuable learning in your career so far? Do you wish to have done anything differently?

I've been here for about 14 years.

Would I do anything differently? Yeah, sure. But regret? F*** no, I don't want to do that.

This is already a hard enough profession and I don't want to be hard on myself.

I wouldn't be as humble as I am today, I wouldn't have gratitude in me for things and value things the way I value my journey if it went any differently.

I have one life and I want to enjoy the ride.

I don't want to live with regret.

IMAGE: Akshay Oberoi in Flesh.

While many actors would steer away from portraying villainous roles, you seem to have no qualms about playing antagonists as seen in projects like Gurgaon, Madam Chief Ministerand Flesh.

I have no fear of failure because when you hit rock bottom, you can't go any lower than that.

And I've been to rock bottom.

But that's what made me the actor I am today. I'm fearless.

I just took these roles because the more the merrier.

Some parts work and some don't, but I'll try everything.

I'm so happy that I got to play this innocent character in Fighter, but I would love to play something again that's villainish and menacing.

What do you think are your challenges as actor at this point?

I would love to stay in this mainstream cinema. My challenge is to see how I can keep reaching a bigger and wider audience.