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Akshay Kumar: ‘Most of my films have women’s empowerment, but I’ve to do a Housefull, a Rowdy Rathore also’

In an exclusive interview, Akshay Kumar talks about working in films like Housefull, his wife’s role in his career and more.

bollywood Updated: Jul 23, 2019 09:09 IST

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Akshay Kumar will soon be seen in Mission Mangal - a film on the story of India’s mission to Mars which was backed by a team of women scientists from ISRO.
Akshay Kumar will soon be seen in Mission Mangal - a film on the story of India’s mission to Mars which was backed by a team of women scientists from ISRO.
         

He is 51, but age clearly doesn’t deter Akshay Kumar from pushing the envelope. Possibly in the best phase of his career, the actor wants to thank people, including the media, for “criticising me to a point that it brought the best out of me”. With films such as Mission Mangal, Housefull 4, Good News, Sooryavanshi and Laxmmi Bomb releasing one after the other, he explains why he isn’t restricting himself to any one genre and wants “to have all kinds of films in my kitty”. In an interview, Akshay shares what his experience taught him, his take on female co-stars, his films releasing globally and why he hasn’t done a Hollywood film, yet.

Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Nithya Menen and Kirti Kulhari during the trailer launch of Mission Mangal in Mumbai, Thursday, July 18.
Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Nithya Menen and Kirti Kulhari during the trailer launch of Mission Mangal in Mumbai, Thursday, July 18. ( PTI )

Your films not only inspire but entertain, too. Is that the sole mission as an actor?
Most of my films be it Padman (2018), Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017) or even (the upcoming) Mission Mangal, they have one more thing — women’s empowerment. But I’ve to do a Housefull, a Rowdy Rathore and a Good News also. So, it’s not that this [issue-based films] is the only thing I do. Whenever I get a chance and a good script, I’ll do it. I want to have all kinds of films in my kitty.

Your upcoming films belong to different genres. Is it exciting to juggle so many different roles?
All these things have been taught to me by my own experience. I’ve learned that if I do different genres, I won’t be tagged. When I used to do a lot of action, everyone said, ‘He is an action hero and nothing else’. So, I tried comedy, and then everyone was talking about just that. Then I decided I’ve to do different kinds of films. So, I am thankful to people, and the media, for criticising me to that point and bringing out the best in me.

In terms of female co-stars, you’ve worked with leading heroines as well as fresh faces. How do you strike that balance?
It doesn’t really matter because what’s important is that the person has to suit the role. It’s not about how big the actor is. And not just female co-stars, it applies to the male actors, too. A lot of times I’ve lost roles. Though I thought I’d be very good (for those roles), the makers felt I won’t be able to perform. When I signed Toilet..., I was told I wouldn’t be able to carry it off. But I took it as a challenge and said, ‘let me try’. Also, there were times when I myself didn’t feel I fit the part, and backed off.

Also read: Taapsee on Kabir Singh: ‘Problem is when you glorify a flawed character’

Many of your films have released globally. Does that give a sense of contentment?
It’s great to see our films being accepted globally. I hope doors are opened in all countries. There are many brilliant films that should go all over the world. I personally feel what Indian cinema is doing, and the kind of scripts it’s bringing on to the screen, even Hollywood is not doing such kind of work.

Why haven’t we seen you take up a Hollywood film yet?
I wouldn’t say I’ve not been offered Hollywood films, but whatever came wasn’t big enough or that great. And I’m very happy doing films here [in Bollywood]. If something very good and effective comes that lets me show my talent in a better way, I would love to do it.

Does your family, especially your wife Twinkle Khanna, play a crucial role in your choice of films?
Yes, my wife has been a very big help in my career. It’s not that I have to discuss every script with her before I give it my nod, but she talks to me and I remember [those] things. She told me once, ‘Koi zor zabardasti nahi hai, jo achha lage karo’.

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First Published: Jul 23, 2019 08:58 IST