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“I’m A Producer’s Actor”

He’s been at it for 22 years and, despite the ups and downs, has consistently been on the list of top actors. That’s no mean feat in an industry that’s often fickle. Yet Akshay Kumar makes it seem so easy. He’s also known for delivering a release every two to three months and his next is director Prabhudheva’s Rowdy Rathore. Here’s the actor in conversation with Vajir Singh

One of the most talked-about lines in your next film Rowdy Rathore is ‘Don’t angry me’. What makes Akshay Kumar see red? You’ve known me for years, have you ever seen me lose my cool?

If I see something wrong, I leave instead of getting into a brawl. If I’m disappointed with something or someone, I put an end to the conversation. In short, I just move on. I don’t like messy situations. And hence I don’t get angry. I have no time for things that are not important. I’m happy living in my space, I don’t get angry. (Smiles)

Are you saying you forget but don’t forgive?

Of course, I forgive. Sometimes, two people speak their mind and confront each other and if the other person is justified, I forgive them. I don’t believe in wasting time nursing grudges. It’s better to just leave these things behind and move on.

But in this industry, which is full of back-biting and bitching, how is it possible to keep your cool all the time?

Again, you’ve met me so many times. Have I ever said anything behind anyone’s back? Tell me.

No.

Simple, all you need to do is focus on your work. Focusing on your work has been my mantra right from the beginning of my career. (Pauses) Well, sometimes, I do get angry but with myself. But that’s being human, and I get angry with myself for various reasons, big or small.

I repeat … You don’t talk about people but others do.

If they do, they don’t do it in front of me. I don’t even get to know. If a third person says something about you to another person, why should it bother you? I’m not one of those who bothers about what people are saying. I will answer only if they do it in front of me. Till then, I am happy in my own space.

Is this why you don’t socialise?

When did I ever socialise? I have noticed that people attend parties and then one thing leads to another and everything becomes morbid, which is not good. I’ve never been a part of any social circle. If I have never been, why would I change now? Life is so easy when you avoid certain things. Why venture to places that you will later regret? It’s best not to invite trouble.

I believe only in working. I sleep early, at 9-9.30. I wake up early and go to the gym. And you know what? While I’m on the way to the gym, I see a few of my fellow actors returning after partying hard the whole night. I am happy for them. That’s the life they decide to live but I’m not cut out for all that.Their idea of enjoyment doesn’t match mine. I love sports. I play cricket, I love to swim. I enjoy taking my kid out to watch movies at the cinema. And I enjoy investing money.

You enjoy…

(Cuts in) Do you know investing is harder than earning money? We all earn money but investing it is very difficult. I love to invest money.

Back to Rowdy Rathore… This is not your first remake.

I’ve been around in the industry for more than two decades and I have done various roles, various characters based on various concepts. There’s nothing I haven’t attempted. Doing a remake is not a new norm in the industry, not just for me but for any actor. We’re all actors, when we like a script and a particular character, we do it. For us, it is all about performing a character.

But action…?

(Cuts in) I am often asked, ‘Oh, how is it to do action after ages?” I reply, ‘When did I not do action?’ I must have been part of so many movies in the recent past where comedy was in focus but most of these films also had action in them. In Rowdy Rathore, action has the upper hand although comedy is an important part of the film. What we do on-screen, everything is action.

Since action has the upper hand in this film, there’s a big buzz around the movie in the trade.

Again, a lot of people are saying to me, ‘Picture garam ho gayee or picture garam hai.’ These people try to put pressure on you, nothing else. As an actor, I hope all my films work. Ab kitni garam rehti hai, kab rehti hai is all secondary. What matters is that the film does well at the ticket counter. If a film does well, everyone benefits, not only the actors.

This is Sonakshi Sinha’s second release.

She’s a very professional girl and I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. She’s like me… report on the sets on the dot, finish the shoot on time and then leave. I have worked with her father she’s as professional as he is. And very dedicated.

What makes her different from the current lot of heroines is her Indian look. Unlike other actresses, she’s not into size zero or minus zero. She reminds you of our beauties like Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Mumtaz, Madhuri Dixit, Sri Devi and also Katrina Kaif.

Every time I meet you, I have to ask… You’re the only actor who’s churning out movies one after another.

(Cuts in) I know, I have three to four releases every year and I think it’s normal. Where’s the harm if an actor has three to four releases in 12 months? I’ve been around for more than two decades and I’ve done so many movies. I don’t work on Saturday-Sunday, instead  spend quality time with my family.

I go on a monthly trip regularly.  So, it’s not that I’m working round-the-clock. I have a pattern of working which I’ve been following since the beginning. I get time for myself and my friends and family. Now since everything is sorted, what should I do? I shoot on time and all my films are made and ready in a stipulated time frame. My producers are happy with me as I’m always on time and finish their work on or before deadlines. This also helps save money. They’re happy, I’m happy.

My guru Pramod Chakraborty, who introduced me to filmdom, had told me, ‘Always be a producer’s actor and nothing will ever go wrong for you.’ I believed in him and I still believe in him. Ever since he said those words, I’ve been a producer’s actor. The rest is history. (Smiles).

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