Monday, 30th October 2017

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Akshay Kumar on his journey from c-grade to a-plus actor on the Anupam Kher show tonight

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  • Published 21.09.14

Anupam Kher: Aapne kitni padhai ki hai?

Akshay Kumar: Mere hisaab se padhna bahut achhi baat hai. Kam se kam itna padhna chahiye ki English aur Hindi aati ho, do dooni chaar aata ho, duniya gol hai yeh pataa hona chahiye, history ke baare mein pataa hona chahiye. Maine utna padh liya tha. Uske aage nahin padh paya. Mujhe padhai mein itna shauk nahin tha… kitabon ko dekh kar mujhe neend aati thi. Yeh achhi baat bhi thi ki jab sona hota tha toh kitabein padh leta tha, ek panna padhte hi neend aa jaati thi! Lekin mere father ne kahaa itna padh lena ki agar kisi ke saamne khade ho toh theek se baat kar sako.

Anupam: After your education, what did you do?

Akshay: After my Class XII, I went to Bangkok, which was the only place where I could learn good martial arts at a reasonable cost. The return fare of the ticket was (Rs) 22,000, which I remember vividly because for (Rs) 18,000 from that amount, my father had taken a loan. I got the job of a waiter. I got accommodation on top of the restaurant where five-six boys would stay. From morning to evening I would work at the restaurant and in the evening I would practise Thai boxing on the streets.

Anupam: You worked as a light assistant with still photographer Jayesh Seth. Which actors did you shoot?

Akshay: I worked with Jayesh Seth as a light boy and clicked pictures of very big and popular actors like Govinda, Sangeeta Bijlani, Jackie Shroff and Rekha. After that, I thought that maybe this is what I want to do.

Anupam: Jin actors ka naam aapne liya, unmein se kissi ne aapko notice nahin kiya?

Akshay: Govindaji mujhe yaad hai, jab photo kheechne ke baad shaam ko unko dikhana padhta tha, toh dekhte waqt unhone mujhe kahaa: ‘Oye chikna, tu hero kyun nahin banta? Beta hero ban, hero!’

Anupam: So Jayesh Seth made a portfolio for you?

Akshay: Jayesh Seth made my portfolio, free of cost. I remember vividly, while shooting the portfolio, I stood on top of a wall and the security guard of that plot made me get off it, saying it was private property. Today, coincidentally, my house is on that very plot!

Anupam: Director Pramod Chakraborty gave you a break in Deedar (1992)...

Akshay: I had got a modelling assignment for which I had to travel to Bangalore by flight in the evening. I had woken up at 5am to exercise and at 5.15, I received a call saying: ‘Where are you?’ to which I replied that I was at home. I was told that I am extremely unprofessional and would never be able to work. That is when I realised the flight was in the morning! I literally cried and when I did manage to reach the airport, the plane had already departed. At around 4 or 5pm that evening, I wandered into Natraj Studios (in Mumbai). I met Pramod Chakraborty’s make-up artist Narendra Dada, and he has been with me for the past 23-24 years now. He asked me: ‘Beta, hero banna hai?’ At that point, if he would have asked me if I wanted to become a character artiste, I would have agreed to that as well. Pramodda saw me and said: ‘Photo achhi hai tumhari, hero banoge?’ At that very moment, he signed a cheque of Rs 5,001 and gave it to me saying he will make three movies with me and this is the first cheque. If I had made it for the flight in the morning, I would have still been a model in Bangalore. After that day, I have never looked back.

Anupam: Initially, you did B-grade films. When do you think you became an A-grade actor?

Akshay: A lot of people called me a B-grade actor. So I did feel nice because I thought a B-grade actor was a ‘bread and butter’ actor. I never imagined I would be an actor, whether it was in a B-grade film or a C-grade one. I considered every film as a film, regardless of what grade it was. Automatically, I became an A-grade actor. From C, I became B, then B-plus, then A and now A-plus.