'We have actually made the film for children and intellectual people.'
Mission Mangal adds to Akshay Kumar's hit list but the actor claims he did not quite expect this response.
His co-star Vidya Balan, who has been getting a lot of praise for her work, says she had a feeling it would do well, and then adds with a laughs, "After a long time, I had a 'U'-rated film."
The actors are happy with the response their film is getting, and they tell Rediff.com Contributor Divya Solgama all about it.
Akshay, Mission Mangal is getting good numbers at the box office. Did you expect this response?
Akshay: To be honest, no.
This is a new genre in the Indian film industry.
The Indian film industry has been around for more than 80 years but I still believe this genre has not been tried earlier.
People have liked the movie; they have accepted this science-fiction genre.
In Hollywood, they make at least 14-15 science-based films in a year.
Just recently, I was approached with another science-based film. That's when I thought Mission Mangal has worked.
Now, a lot of films will be made on this genre.
Vidya: The moment I heard the film, I had a feeling it would do well.
To be honest, I don’t understand numbers, so I did not know how it would do on the first or second day.
But there was a positive energy, which made me feel it would work.
It has been observed that more than adults, children are watching Mission Mangal and loving it.
Akshay: Yes. They are dragging their parents to watch the film, and after watching it, they (the adults) are realising that they too did not know so many things about India’s struggle to send a satellite to Mars.
We have actually made the film for children and intellectual people.
Even the common people, who are not so educated, are getting to know a lot of things from this movie.
For instance, when one of my maids watched Mission Mangal, I asked her if she understood the film. She said yes; some intelligent people went to Mars to take pictures and videos. Then, she asked how we would benefit, and I explained that we will get to know about many things. Like, if there is water on Mars, are people living there, what kind of life exists there...
I believe that at least she knows something about our universe and that there is a planet called Mars.
Mission Mangal has been simplified for the common people. Did you put in some extra effort for that?
Akshay: Our only motive was to make this film is a very simple manner.
To be honest, even I didn’t know about India’s struggle to send a satellite to Mars. But when I heard the story, I understood it easily because it was very systematic.
Vidya: I thought that if I understood the movie, the audience will definitely understand it because I am very scared of science.
Children are loving it because the movie is very simple.
After a long time, I had a 'U'-rated film (laughs).
What is your favourite scene in the film?
Vidya: Mission Mangal was beautifully written, and there are many beautiful scenes.
But if I talk about my own scenes, there’s one where I tell my son, 'Don’t pray to the picture, pray to the power.'
It’s such a beautiful scene put in a very simple way.
Jagan Shakti is the kind of director, who does not spoon-feed his actors. He trusts his actors and lets them do it in their own way.
Akshay: All of us cried in the last scene when we saw Mars. That scene came very naturally.
Vidya: And that song, Shabashiyan, does something to me.
When people react to it and say that it stirs something new, I think that sense of pride is such a big achievement.
Mission Mangal is a hat-trick for the two of you, after Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Heyy Babyy. Why don't we see more of you together?
Akshay: Well, I wanted her in two-three other films of mine but she told me then that she was getting married and occupied in her marital life.
Vidya: (Laughs) Actually, we didn’t get films offered to us in the past 12 years.
Do you think Mission Mangal will inspire more actors to let women take the lead?
Akshay: Yes, let’s hope so!
I still remember that there was one actor, who did such films -- Jeetuji (Jeetendra). He used to do films like Jyoti, where he was the hero but the film was called Jyoti. He has done many such films like Jyoti Bane Jwala and Aasha.
Akshay, what's your secret mantra for fitness?
Akshay: The only mantra is to eat good, sleep on time, wake up on time, work hard and not waste time on drugs, smoking and drinking.
A lot of people are shocked when I say I sleep at 9 pm and wake up at 4:30 am.
They call me mad.
But I call them that for sleeping at 1 am and waking up at 10-11 am.
Tomorrow, anything can happen to me but the least I can do is take care of myself and maintain my health in the best possible way.