CLEAN-UP HE­ROES: AK­SHAY KUMAR AND MATT DA­MON

Ak­shay says it’s won­der­ful that the ‘No Toi­let, No Bride’ rule has taken India by storm

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Monika Rawal Kukreja monika.rawal@htlive.com

As Toi­let: Ek Prem Katha con­tin­ues to roar at the box of­fice, cross­ing the 125-crore mark, the film’s lead ac­tor Ak­shay Kumar says that he never ex­pected to win the num­ber game. “I never wanted to fo­cus on the money this film could make, only the aware­ness it could cre­ate,” says Ak­shay.

Glad that Amer­i­can ac­tor and phi­lan­thropist Matt Da­mon has also watched the film and shared words of ap­pre­ci­a­tion, Ak­shay feels that such sup­port def­i­nitely helps in spread­ing the mes­sage. He says, “When men­tors and idols from across the world wel­come your ef­forts with open arms and in such a re­spect­ful nature, it’s hum­bling be­yond com­pre­hen­sion. When you set out to do good, even more good comes back to you — karma cir­cle at its best.”

Ak­shay has es­tab­lished him­self as an ac­tor who chooses content-driven char­ac­ters; it’s only a bonus that his films usu­ally cross the 100-crore mark fastest. “With such suc­cess, you can’t have com­pla­cency. One has a ridicu­lous amount of re­spon­si­bil­ity,” he says.

“I be­lieve,” he adds, “that the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try has the power to make India a bet­ter, safer, and more hy­gienic coun­try to love and live [in]. Just by ed­u­cat­ing the peo­ple some­times via com­edy, you can spread aware­ness on [crit­i­cal] is­sues of today, so they can fi­nally be gone to­mor­row.”

On viewer re­ac­tions, he says, “The best part of our jour­ney has been re­ceiv­ing in­for­ma­tion about women tak­ing a strong stand be­fore a mar­riage pro­posal can take place. The ‘No Toi­let, No Bride’ rule has taken India by storm.” About those who called Toi­let: Ek Prem Katha an “agenda film” and part of BJP pro­pa­ganda, Ak­shay as­serts that “not ev­ery­thing is about pol­i­tics” and one has to take charge of things and not al­ways ex­pect the state to act. He says, “Isn’t it true there’s al­ways a few that want to defe­cate on one’s pa­rade? Those few peo­ple need to drop the cyn­i­cism and have a little faith that some peo­ple in this world just want to make things bet­ter. It’s not only the BJP that wants to clean India; In­di­ans want to clean India also, so let’s not tar­nish ef­forts by slan­der­ing our mo­tives.”

[Bol­ly­wood] has the power to make India a bet­ter, safer, and more hy­gienic coun­try to love and live [in] AK­SHAY KUMAR, AC­TOR

PHOTO: SHIVAM SAXENA//HT

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