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Akshay and I have a relationship that goes way beyond doing one film: Vipul Shah

Bollywood filmmaker Vipul Shah rubbishes reports suggesting that actor Akshay Kumar has opted out of his film Namastey England — this is Vipul’s first directorial venture in seven years — and says that there’s no controversy here.

bollywood Updated: Jul 04, 2017 13:13 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Akshay Kumar,Vipul Shah,Twinkle Khanna
Actor Akshay Kumar has worked with filmmaker Vipul Shah in six films so far.

Filmmaker Vipul Shah is set to make his directorial comeback after a hiatus of seven years. His last outing as a director was Action Replayy (2010) with Akshay Kumar, the star with whom he has made a total of six films. Ever since news broke that Vipul’s next film will be titled Namastey England, it is being talked about as the sequel to his 2007 hit Namastey London, also starring Akshay. However, the filmmaker refutes this speculation, insisting that “it’s a totally fresh script and a new story. There’s a possibility of the title working out really well, but it’s not a sequel.”

Furthermore, there are reports suggesting that Vipul was keen on working with Akshay again, but that the actor has opted out of Namastey England because of his current focus on doing very meaningful cinema and not taking up many typical masala films. The same report also suggested that Vipul has roped in Arjun Kapoor to replace Akshay in Namastey England.

In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Vipul tells us, “It’s a preposterous idea to suggest that I’d replace Akshay in my film. People need to know that we’ve been together for the past 16 years. We’ve gone through so many ups and downs, but our relationship has been absolutely rock steady. Our kids are friends with each other, my wife and Tina [Twinkle Khanna, Akshay Kumar’s wife] are friends, too. So people should not think that one film can cause any problem between us. Our relationship goes way beyond doing one film,” says Vipul. He has not only directed Akshay in several films — before Namastey London, there was Aankhen (2002) and Waqt (2005) — but also produced the actor’s hit films Singh is Kinng (2008) and Holiday (2014).

Vipul says that he completely understands Akshay already has a packed schedule and it’s only logical that he can’t take up more projects at the moment. “He’s extremely busy with the projects that he is currently doing and we have to understand that in everybody’s life, there are points at which we want to do certain films,” says Vipul. “So when I called Akshay to ask if we can use the title of the film [that we both had earlier agreed upon], he showed tremendous interest in the film and said, ‘Arre Vipul yaar, what is the issue?’ In any case, my equation with him goes long back and if there’s a title that we both planned for a film, whether it’s registered with me or him, that’s not important. It’s only ethical that I ask for his permission, because there’s a relationship we share and it was such a graceful gesture on his part.”

The filmmaker says that he is taking the project forward, though it won’t be the same script that he had worked upon with Akshay in mind as the lead.

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This doesn’t mean the filmmaker won’t collaborate with Akshay anytime soon. Hinting at a possible project, Vipul reveals, “I can tell you this with complete authority that I’ll be doing a film with Akki very soon. I don’t know which film it would be, but we would be working on one very soon.”

As for the female lead of Namastey England, some reports have claimed that actor Sonakshi Sinha opted out and Parineeti Chopra stepped in. Vipul doesn’t confirm this. “I will not want to talk about any other actor at this point of time. There’s a proper process that is followed while casting an actor, so once it’s decided, I will talk about it, for sure. Right now, it’s premature to share any details,” he says.

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First Published: Jul 03, 2017 18:40 IST