The big day has arrived. 18 months after it was originally supposed to release, Akshay Kumar starrer Sooryavanshi is now seeing a massive global release with a record count of screens in India. For the man of all seasons, it has been a long wait to see a big release like this, despite his Bell Bottom arriving in theatres in August. However, Sooryavanshi directed by Rohit Shetty is an altogether different ballgame since post this there is a flurry of releases lined up and it would be interesting to see how audiences turn up for a biggie at an all-India level.
Koimoi gets into an EXCLUSIVE conversation with Akshay Kumar.
Theatres opening across the country and a biggie of yours finally kick-starting the business for Bollywood. An exhilarating moment, isn’t it? Let’s get going with what Akshay Kumar thinks of reopening of theatres with Sooryavanshi, finally.
Exhilarating for moviegoers, that’s for sure (smiles). As for me, I don’t have enough fingers to cross!! All eyes are on this for so many reasons, for its action, masala, Rohit Shetty’s cop universe, Katrina, and most importantly for kick-starting cinemas post-Covid. It’s a really big and crucial time for our fraternity right now. It’s bigger than any of my own hopes & dreams right now. This moment affects us all in the Hindi Film Industry; the stronger we open, the stronger the next one can open. Sooryavanshi will have a ripple effect and we are all hoping it makes waves for everyone!
There is widespread positivity around the film’s release with everyone looking at theatrical business to be finally back in a big way. This must also be lending a sense of huge responsibility. Doesn’t that get a bit overwhelming?
Overwhelming is just the beginning of how this feels. I am hugely grateful for the positivity surrounding us and the well wishes from so many. I have released so many movies by now, all with their own pressures & expectations, but this one is in a league of its own. To feel the responsibility to carry not only my movie but everyone else’s movies after me is a kind of heavyweight I have never carried before. But there is no other movie I had rather carry on my shoulders through this pensive storm than Sooryavanshi! If I was a young man/woman that had been denied access to cinemas for 18 months, this is THE movie to storm the gates and celebrate with my family & friends. I am proud, no matter what happens and the rest is already written in the stars.
Coming to the film, you take on the terrorists all over again after Holiday and Baby. How is the masala and the entertainment quotient pumped up all the more in Sooryavanshi?
Well, that’s something you are going to have to experience LIVE at the cinemas; I am not giving all my secrets away today! In case you haven’t noticed, there’s quite literally all the masala anyone needs. There is not a box that hasn’t been ticked; from action to romance to charm to charisma for all ages and races to enjoy. I am going to leave the rest of the excitement to everyone’s imagination but not for long as it’s all set to be unveiled.
The kind of action that is incorporated in the film includes a lot of daredevil stunts from you, something that you are indulging in after a long time. Guess once a Khiladi, always a Khiladi, isn’t it?
Apparently so (smiles). Though I wouldn’t say it’s been that long. I have never ventured too far from my action days. This film wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t kept up my hunger for stunts for all these years. But I tell you what, this was something else; such a great action team with big dreams, I felt so at home.
What was different for me this time was when I was up there and I mean up there hanging from a helicopter with bare hands, I looked down and my daughter was on set watching me. I remember doing this before fatherhood many years ago and this time instead of thinking about the camera, all I thought about was making her feel proud & showing her that Daddy’s grip is what got me where I am today. Years have passed, so much has changed but these hands more than anything are what changed my entire family’s lives. No matter how smart one needs to be in life, having a strong grip is just as crucial, because quite frankly I wouldn’t be here without it.
The film also brings on board Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh as Singham and Simmba. The cop universe has been much hyped ever since it was announced. How is the energy rubbing off on each other?
Do you know what, I wish Bollywood created more films with multiple heroes!! There is literally nothing like being on set with these guys, it’s the same as when I used to work with Salman or Saif or John & Suniel. The energy, the banter and the nonstop stories just make every day so much more enjoyable. As much as people may think there’s competition in the film industry, there really isn’t any as per me. Compete to make the movie better by all means, but there can never be competition between actors, we are all only as lucky as our last release anyway. Also, let’s face it; everyone has phases, it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is any better. He or she is just luckier I believe.
I have always wanted to ask you this question. Is it that good scripts come your way first automatically, considering you do so many films? Or is it that scripts continue to flow like ever before but you have a knack for choosing the best and making quick decisions? Asking, since practically no one in the industry works on so many films simultaneously and that too across genres.
I think scripts are created with certain actors in mind, but that’s not the rule, there are always exceptions. I have been incredibly lucky throughout my career to have been offered not only the amount of scripts but also the array of genres and stories to be told. It’s the scripts that excite me the most nowadays. I remember when I was young, it was all about the action director, location & heroine that used to make me want to act. Now I can’t wait to go home from my meetings with the fullest chest-bursting to tell my wife the script I am holding. Is it luck? Who knows. Are my choices of films bringing more diverse scripts to the industry? Who knows. But what I do believe in is that a movie can only ever be as strong as its writer. You can have the actors, you can have the locations, you can have the big budget, but without script, screenplay & dialogues you might as well just call it a picnic because, with all the special effects in the world, you can’t tell a story without a heart.
You have practically everything, Akshay Kumar. However, what’s that one key factor that still makes you hungry to work so hard and aggressively, especially in the last few years?
Good People. That’s what makes me work hard. Good people needing jobs, good people trying hard, good people breaking barriers, good people showing up against all odds, good people making a difference. Good people do good things. These are just some of the reasons I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop or slow down till good people don’t want or need me anymore.
While multiplexes have still managed to somehow survive over the last 18 months, single screens, in particular, are putting all their hopes on you and Sooryavanshi. What’s the promise that you are making to them, as they get ready to open their doors all over again?
I can only promise them that I have done my best and giving you my best, and I will keep coming back. I will never stop trying to bring in the crowds at the very screens that made me who I am today. They stood by my movies all these years. All I can do is keep making films for them till all their seats are filled & every box of popcorn is sold. All I can say right now is Good Luck everyone.