Akshay Kumar (AK): Hari Om runs multiple productions under one umbrella, like Cape Of Good Hope and Grazing Goat Films. Basically, each company makes different types of movies. Hari Om and Cape make commercial cinema, like the film BOSS. You know… content that includes fights and action, stunts and great songs, while Grazing Goat makes regional cinema, intellectual films and films that aim to make a difference to society.
BOI: You have been a successful actor for a very long time. Why did you get into producing films?
AK: To make my remuneration zero. The main idea behind getting into production was so that I don’t have to charge myself for acting in the film. That’s how I made BOSS. So if my film takes a good opening, my remuneration will increase, whether a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, the amount will keep increasing as the film’s business grows. That’s the idea of making my own films.
If you make a benchmark, ki yeh actor itna lega, ya yeh itna lega, bahut difficult ho jata hai ki ek particular film ke liye hum kitna charge karein. Sometimes you end up overcharging and sometimes you end up underplaying it. You never know what you want to do. This is why I launched my own production house.
BOI: But if something were to go wrong, you end up making less money…
AK: Yes, I would. Lekin make toh ho raha hai na, kahin jaa toh nahi raha hai na. (Laughs)
BOI: Can you introduce us to your team?
AK: Ashwin handles Cape and is the producer of BOSS, and Vedant handles everything. Ashwin and I are planning two more movies. Ashvini Yardi is not here but she handles Grazing Goat. So there’s Ashwin and Ashvini Yardi.
BOI: How do you decide which films to make under Hari Om Entertainment Company and which not to?
AK: If someone approaches me with a script and I like it, I will make the film under my banner. I can’t drag people to my production house and force them to make films with my company. Lots of people have their own companies and each one has a different way of working.
BOI: Ashwin, you have known Akshay for many years and now you are a partner in the firm. What are your comments on his journey?
Ashwin Varde (AV): His journey has been incredible. He has risen from humble beginnings to becoming one of the biggest actors we have. He has seen ups and downs from the very beginning of his career. Yet, he is a very grounded individual. I have worked in this industry for 20 years and can say with authority that he is among the very few actors who will stand by you. He will stand by you through thick and thin.
BOI: But, Ashwin, have you seen any changes in him over the years?
AK: (Cuts in) My bank balance has changed! (Laughs)
AV: Both as a partner and a producer, he is very accommodating. Actually, ‘accommodating’ is not the right word; ‘generous’ is. And it’s all about the little things. When we were planning the production for a film, the first thing he said was that our unit should have the best food.
Things like this usually don’t matter to most actors but he makes sure everyone, from the light boys to the spot boys to the actors eat the same food. He looks at every single detail. He doesn’t need to but he does.