What’s Next, Ak­shay Ku­mar?

His Pad­Man is a huge hit and Ak­shay Ku­mar has been her­alded as a so­cial icon. What’s next for this hit ma­chine? In a can­did in­ter­view, AK­SHAY KU­MAR talks about his work, films, fu­ture plans and more…

Stardust (English) - - COVER STORY - Words SHARBANI MUKHER­JEE

Do you think Bol­ly­wood is fi­nally ready for re­al­is­tic cin­ema? Post the suc­cess of Toi­let and Pad­Man, it has proved that we can touch im­pact­ful is­sues, do you think things have changed? Toi­let was a much eas­ier sub­ject to ac­cept but Pad­Man was not. Peo­ple are not that open about san­i­tary pads. There were a lot of places where women were dis­cour­aged to watch the film. How­ever, peo­ple are ac­cept­ing the change though it is not so fast.

Do you think that on the per­sonal front, you have done your bit? Yes, I am try­ing to do my bit. And this is not the end of it. I still do a lot for the con­struc­tion of toi­lets. For me, this is not just any film, for me, it is more of a feel­ing.

Any in­ci­dents while shoot­ing that you re­mem­ber? While shoot­ing, there were some in­ci­dents which hap­pened and it was re­ally un­be­liev­able. I was shoot­ing with a lo­cal guy who was asked to hold a pad in his hand. But he just re­fused and in fact, he ran away. When we called him to ask the rea­son, he said, ‘ Hu­marein yaha paap ko haath nahi la­gate’. So this is the kind of mind­set peo­ple have and all we can do is break it and by the grace of God, this movie has suc­ceeded in a lot of places. Ak­shay, Twin­kle some­where men­tioned that her next ven­ture would be on re­pro­duc­tive rights of women. Do we ex­pect to see you in that project? I have no idea! She plans her own things and later on, gives me a sur­prise!

What is the next is­sue that you’d like to take up? I haven’t de­cided as yet. I am also do­ing a war movie called Ke­sari. Then I am wait­ing to start House­full4. It is go­ing to be like a three-month va­ca­tion.

Do you think you have evolved as an ac­tor 27 years down the line in the in­dus­try? As a hu­man be­ing, these so­cial is­sues have im­pacted me, I don’t know about the act­ing part. I do films for the cause of it and not for the act­ing part.

Your 2.0 co-star Ra­jinikanth is now in pol­i­tics, your fa­ther-in­law was in it too. Do you have plans to join pol­i­tics? No.

Af­ter such thought-pro­vok­ing movies, do you need to take a breather and do a movie like House­full4? Yes, I need to keep on chang­ing. I don’t want to give a chance to any­one to form an im­age of me. I had to go through this a lot ear­lier when I was only known as an ac­tion hero and I wasn’t se­lected for any other role. I al­ways wanted to do dif­fer­ent films but noth­ing of that sort hap­pened. So that has im­pacted me a lot and so now I am mak­ing it a point to keep on chang­ing my im­age.

Re­cently, Sud­hir Mishra said that we need to have a cal­en­dar for Bol­ly­wood so that the films don’t clash with each other at the Box of­fice... A clash is in­evitable but I don’t be­lieve in the word ‘clash’. There are two or three movies which re­lease to­gether. There are 180 films and 52 weeks in a year. So I don’t know if there is any math which can separate the films. You have to come to­gether. Till 2000, films re­leas­ing on a Friday used to con­tinue till sil­ver and golden ju­bilees. Abto­hchaardinka dhan­da­hai.

Is 2.0 re­lease date get­ting pushed again? I have no idea. That is one movie I have no idea about.

Do you think a film’s cred­i­bil­ity is de­fined by Box of­fice fig­ures? No! For me, the most im­por­tant thing is that the movie should be liked and ap­pre­ci­ated.

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