Akki punches holes in reports that he has been lobbying for a few co-stars and tells us why he loved playing the consummate scamster in his next
Prachi Kadam (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 8, 2013)
Askhay Kumar, who worked hard on his image of a swashbuckling hero for more than a decade, is keen to throw it all up in the air. Even as his Special Chhabbis readies for release, the actor, who has been grabbing attention with his new avatar in the film, makes it obvious that off the screen too, he is keen to be seen in a different light. Among other things, he refuses to be projected as someone who has been mentoring’ his young heroines, or even lobbying for his socalled favourites, whether it is Katrina or Sonakshi. Between his shots for the under-production remake of Murgadoss’s Thuppaki co-starring Sonakshi Sinha, the actor takes umbrage when we ask him if he had indeed been instrumental in roping her in for the film. “I’m just an actor and all these decisions are taken by the producers and directors. And given that I am neither the producer, nor the director of this film, how and why will I suggest anyone?” he shrugs, looking visibly agitated. He even gets the producer involved in the discussion to corroborate his point.
Emphatically dispelling all reports of how he may have been helping Sonakshi find the right roles with Rowdy Rathore, OMG Oh My God and now Thuppaki, Akshay adds, “That I am mentoring myself is more than enough. Besides, with such a stalwart as her father, do you really think she needs my mentoring?”
Nonetheless, the actor is candid enough to admit what really went wrong with the latest Khiladi film, Khiladi 786, touted to be one of the biggest in the franchise. “May be it did not have enough action,” he analyses, before pointing out that in Special Chhabbis, where he plays a scamster, he loved the idea of playing a different kind of game: “That of the mind,” he smiles.
“It is a film based on the life of this con artiste who is still absconding,” he says of the Neeraj Pathak (of A Wednesday fame) directorial, “I read the script several times and realised I simply had got to do it.”
What was a refreshing change for the actor, who could sleepwalk through his routine of action masala films, is the opportunity to play the “director’s actor” all over again and play a serious baddie convincingly. “I did as Neeraj told me to. He had written and researched the subject and knew what exactly what he wanted. I was just like a man who goes on a cruise lets the captain take charge.”
Keen to prove his detractors that he still has it in him to take on challenging roles, Akshay says he took his time to say yes to the project. “I don’t want to be typecast. When I started off as an action hero it took me long to convince people that I was capable of handling other stuff – and comedy happened, so did romance. Now I can tell them that I can be a bad villain too.”
Even as Akshay relishes the idea of playing a modern-day baddie who has been involved with one of the biggest heists of recent times, there is one wholesome role he is enjoying in real life. “Yes it has happened again,” he says, softening up at the mention of fatherhood baby girl. “As my son gets ready to step into the real world, he will be away for his studies. Our baby girl will be with us. I am happy,” he says, before going off for the next shot. Incidentally, in Thuppaki, Akshay will reprise his tried and tested role of an action star.