Akshay Kumar on son Aarav: ‘He’s just 16, there’s no need to discuss his career right now and put pressure on him’
Akshay Kumar, who has completed 28 years in Bollywood this year, says he has learnt a lot by ‘falling repeatedly’ and even from his ‘wrong, flop films’.Updated: Mar 28, 2019 14:32 IST
You may have just heard the idiom, ‘Midas touch’ on a regular basis. But Akshay Kumar has been experiencing it from close quarters in his career trajectory, as he is clearly on a high with back-to-back box office winners including his latest hit, Kesari. The actor, however, refuses to “think too much” about it and feels “only grateful”. Hindustan Times caught up with Akshay about him changing gears in career, competing with youngsters, son Aarav and more.
Kesari has been lapped up – critically as well as commercially. You must be really content about it.
More than anything, I feel extremely grateful, not for the film’s success but for being the chosen one, who got an opportunity to be part of such a fantastic story. To be honest, I feel really fortunate that I could bring out such a brave and inspirational story to people.
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Happy Republic Day. It’s our #70thRepublicDay but our men have been fighting for the country since time unknown. 122 years ago, 21 Sikhs fought against 10000 invaders. #KESARI is their story, in cinemas on March 21. @parineetichopra #AnuragSingh @karanjohar @apoorva1972 #SunirKheterpal @dharmamovies #CapeOfGoodFilms #AzureEntertainment @zeestudiosofficial
From the looks of it, you seem to be mostly taking up difficult parts now.
Shayad abhi samajh aayi hai, abhi akal aayi hai (smiles). But for me, it’s simple: if I am offered good roles now, I am taking them up. Earlier, I wouldn’t get such roles, so I couldn’t do them.
Since Special 26, there has been a clear shift vis-à-vis your film choices. So, are you looking at taking up particular kind of films now?
Not at all! I am doing all kinds of films. If I am doing Kesari, I will also be seen in Housefull 4. I don’t want to stick to one image. The idea is to break out of any kind of image or perception. When I entered the industry, I was branded an ‘action star.’ So, I feel woh scar reh gaya dil mein. That’s why I’ve a strong urge that I should keep changing my characters and alter my image constantly. I just can’t be stuck with just one image.
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Aaj meri pagdi bhi Kesari, jo bahega mera woh lahoo bhi Kesari, aur mera jawaab bhi Kesari. Get ready for #GlimpsesOfKesari from 2pm onwards. #Kesari @parineetichopra #AnuragSingh @karanjohar @apoorva1972 @SunirKheterpal @DharmaMovies #CapeOfGoodFilms #AzureEntertainment @zeestudiosofficial
In 2019, you have completed 28 years as a Hindi film actor. Do you look back? And do you ever feel that journey could have been different?
I am very happy and content with my journey till now. I have learnt a lot, by falling repeatedly and even from my so-called wrong films and flop ones. I don’t think I ever wanted a flawless career. I feel experiencing ups and downs in your career are very important. Even a pendulum goes up and down constantly and likewise, the cycle of day-and-night goes on unabated. I learn a lot from such things.
You recently said that you work extremely hard to maintain the same energy levels as other youngsters. But it must be extremely challenging…
Yes, but it’s very important. Keeping oneself ‘maintained’ and having the same energy levels as a 20-year-old involves a lot of hard work. People say, ‘arrey, Akshay sleeps and wake up early.’ But if I don’t follow that routine, when will I work on myself. Yeh nahi kiya toh baap ya bhai ke hi role milenge phir (laughs).
So, you look at youngsters as competition?
Yes, definitely. I consider myself a newcomer only. I have just entered the industry (laughs).
You have everything – money, fame and power. Still, what keep you going with as much enthusiasm?
It’s very difficult to answer. But I feel good roles, great characters and gripping stories keep me going. I am fortunate to play heroic characters like Ishar Singh and Prithviraj Chauhan; and also it’s great that I am getting to work with some very talented directors.
Clearly, Kesari doesn’t look like an easy film. What made you still go ahead with it?
I was very excited about it from the word go. The best part about it is that it’s a true story. When we watch a film like 300 (2006), we get really excited about it even though it’s a fictitious story. But our film is the story of a true historical event. Yeh itihaas mein hai lekin itihaas ke pannon mein nahi hai. Very few people know about it, so I am very excited that I got a chance to tell this story. Havildar Ishar Singh [played by Akshay] and the rest of 20 sardars fought for their country and its honour, knowing very well that they were destined to die. Isse zyaada bravery ki kahaani aur kya hogi.
Are you surprised that no Bollywood filmmaker took up this story until now?
Yes, because we made many historic films such as Mughal-E-Azam (1960) etc., but nobody brought this story to people’s notice or made a film on it. I feel there is no bigger battle story than this. When you Google ‘10 biggest battles in history’, you will find the Battle of Saragarhi in that list. In fact, I would request all the parents to definitely show Kesari to their kids so that they know about our history aur kahaan se guzar ke hamara desh aaya hai. The youth should understand what India is made of.
When you started working on the film, a couple of other films were also being planned on Battle of Saragarhi. Were you aware of it?
Everyone knew that we were making it. Toh dhyaan mein kya rakhna hai. But honestly, I wouldn’t have let go of such a big and fantastic story. What could I have done if others also made it, or someone goes on to make it even now? Apna kaam karo bas.
Till now, many have pointed out that you are the only actor, who manages to do three-four films a year. Do you ever worry about getting burnt-out?
If I burn out, I will leave [the industry]. Why should I start thinking about it from now on? Jab tak gaadi chal rahi hai toh chal rahi hai. But there’s no planning as such. I feel even before you start to feel burnt-out, audiences will only send the message across to you. Aur jis din mujhe aisa lagega main khud hi chala jaaunga, because I will get to know. But having said that, I feel it’s all a part of perception. The idea should be to work hard, play distinct characters and continue with your job.
Nowadays, a lot of actors think on those lines. Do such thoughts never cross your mind?
Let’s think like this: burn-out hone ki fikar karke main films nahi karunga. So, then I will be like, ‘ab se I will do only one film in a year to avoid getting burnt-out’. But if that film doesn’t do well, then I will get burnt-out in a different way (laughs). In such a situation, if I go to a filmmaker for a project, he will be like, ‘chal hat yahaan se (laughs)’.
But on the contrary, exhibitors and distributors are happy with you doing multiple films as it means more business for them…
I feel one should do good films at correct budget and within stipulated time, so that people – including studios and producer – save as well as make money. It’s good for me too because they will repeat me if I earn them money. There are two things that kill a film – heavy budget and interest [on invested money].
There’s suddenly a lot of talk about entering politics…
It’s absolutely wrong. I don’t know what the future holds but abhi toh bilkul nahi jaa raha hoon main politics mein. I am very happy making films. Future mein bhi dekhoon toh mujhe nahi lagta ki I will enter politics.
Of late, talks have started about whether your son, Aarav will follow into your footsteps…
He is just a 16-year-old kid, who is enjoying his life. There’s no need to discuss his career right now and put pressure on him. I feel that [kids feeling pressure] will happen only if the parents – in a way – put some kind of burden. I am very clear that whether my kids want to become a painter, doctor or open a restaurant, I am fine. My dad never put any pressure on me. He was like, ‘if you’re interested in sports and karate; and want to be like Bruce Lee, go for it. But become at least half a Bruce Lee (laughs).’ Aaj wahi cheez kaam aayi na mere.
You are about not putting any pressure on your kids. But it’s a given that being your kids, they will have an easier life. Right?
See, every parent hopes and tries to ensure that his/her kids’ life becomes easy. They pray for their kids but everything depends on how their kids want to shape and take ahead their lives. No parent can shadow their kids 24/7. They can guide them from far and shield from certain things. So, be it Aarav or Nitara, jo unko karna hoga, woh apne aap karenge. I strongly feel ki be it a king’s son or beggar’s, har insaan apni kismet saath leke aata hai.
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First Published: Mar 28, 2019 12:49 IST