Akshay Kumar is possibly the only superstar in Indian cinema today who delivers three to four films every year. While his contemporaries stick to their usual one or two projects each year method, Akki believes in finishing films at lightning speed. And evidently, his choice in films differs in terms of space and treatment. While there's a Housefull that rides on his star power, he also carefully shoulders films like Mission Mangal and a Pad Man to the general audience.
Among the A-list stars, he's one of those few who is not conscious of his image. Sample this: He played a gay character in Dishoom, is being possessed by a transgender ghost in Laxmmi Bomd (he released a poster of himself putting make-up) and is happily letting the women take the lead in Mission Mangal. Ask him if he's been advised to not take up such cinema, the superstar nods, "I have been advised a lot of times to not do certain films. I was advised not to do PAd Man and Toilet Ek Prem Katha. Big personalities from the industry told me that. It doesn't matter how much my role is. I want to be part of a film which is a great story. I am fine to do a small role if it's a good film. I wouldn't even mind if someone else has a bigger role than me in a film, provided the script is nice." He reasons, "When I did Khakee, I die during the interval. All this doesn't matter. There are so many films I have done where I don't even have the heroine with me. If there's cinema that I feel can make a difference, I'd happily go do it."
But this is something that is very in-bred within the Hindi film industry, Akshay feels. "This kind of thinking is not there in Hollywood. They don't think of films in this fashion. But yaha yeh hota hai," he further continues to cite a recent example. "I won't name the person but this one actor is doing a two-hero subject. He amazingly told the producer ki pehle mera ek solo photo aayega. Then, agle hafte dono ka saath mein aayega. Why solo? Because he wants to show he's the main hero, although it's a two-hero subject. The thinking has been reduced to a solo poster. I was quite shocked to listen to this."
But today, he's part of the cop universe that Rohit Shetty is planning where along with him, other big names like Ranveer Singh, Ajay Devgn and others have come together for a big association. "They are all doing cameos in Sooryavanshi. But there still isn't a film like maybe an Amar Akbar Anthony. Pehle banti thi, I have done such films with actors like Suniel Shetty, Saif Ali Khan and others. Ab I don't know why we don't do it anymore. People don't want to work with another actor anymore," he sighs.
Ask him what triggers such a behaviour from actors today and he explains, "I don't know why. It must stem from insecurity. It's not about the budget actually. Pehle budget matter nahi karte the kya? I would request everyone to do two-hero or a three-hero subject. It doesn't matter. Do it if you like the script and you like your role. I fail to understand why they don't. I have worked with seven heroes too, in Jaani Dushman," he bursts out laughing.