Akshay ready for Gold, but steers clear of image trap
Akshay Kumar has of late featured in a few films that have patriotism as the theme, but the actor says he does not want to be typecast. Understandably so, because for a long time Akshay was little more than an action star. Chances are, he would have remained one had it not been for a film called Hera Pheri. That Priyadarshan movie, Akshay admits, changed the course of his career. Akshay is now readying for the release of Gold — yet another movie that promises to make the audience proud of the country. The Reema Kagti film centres around India’s first post-Independence Olympics gold win in hockey. The Woods spoke to Akshay on his new Mr Bharat image and more. Excerpts:
The Woods: There is a distinct patriotic image that you have acquired over the last few years. Would you want to break it?
Akshay: My last film, Padman, was not a patriotic film. There is a difference between a patriotic film and a social film. These are social films. I have done only a few patriotic films. Like Airlift, Rustom and Baby. But ones like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha are just social films. Now I am doing Housefull (4). I am doing different kinds of films. Gold is a sports drama, based on true incidents.
You don’t seem to like the idea of being typecast in one image...
I was always wary of having just one image. When I entered the industry the tag of ‘action hero’ stuck to me. No one would cast me in romantic or comedy films. For 14-15 years I kept doing action. I started hating that I used to wake up every morning and do some kicks, some action scenes and come back home. I would call this (present) phase a much better one as I have a lot of growth, I can do a lot of things. I can do comedy, I do action and so many social films. I get to play so many characters.
Who do you think helped change your image?
The person who is responsible is Priyadarshan sahab. He gave me Hera Pheri! I don’t know what made him believe that I could do comedy. Then David Dhawan did Mr and Mrs Khiladi with me. After that Rajkumar Santoshi gave me Khakee and things started changing. It is very hard to break an image and I have been very lucky to do that.
Talking about true stories, you have done many such films but they are never biopics. You tend to change things…
Because I want to make it a little commercial. I want a lot of people to come in and watch it. I put songs in a story of a person who may have never sung in his life. We put in some drama, which may not be present in the person’s life. I believe we need to put some commercial value into a film so that people are entertained.
There is usually a fine line between making a story commercial and keeping it completely real. What is your input there?
I don’t do anything. The film is made by the producer and director. It is a very tough task to make such films.
You are doing Housefull now. How has the transition back to comedy been?
I was on a paid holiday!