Akshay Kumar sits down to talk about his latest motion picture TOILET: EK PREM KATHA, which releases this Friday August 11, in this brand new interview.
Q&A WITH AKSHAY KUMAR
1. 25 years in the business and you are getting films as distinct as Toilet – Ek Prem Katha. This can’t be plain luck, right?
Nothing that I consciously do is plain luck. What I am blessed with is lucky. The decision to do films of this caliber are purely intentional, I’ve slowly, passionately & deliberately put myself in a situation where I can & want to do more with my films than just entertain!!
2. While you pick something like Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, it can’t be plain instinct, right? You must be doing some calculations at the back of your mind around how it would be commercially viable as well?
The subject is so strong, but without commercial viability, it will not be able to spread as far & wide as is necessary. And something like Toilet – Ek Prem Katha needs to be heard from every corner not only in India, but the entire globe!! The writers are so creative that this love story is all it needed to go from an unforgettable real life marital crisis to an important revolutionary subject, A love story based on the Pot ;o)
3. A subject like this could well have been a taboo for many out there. In fact most actors would have been content doing a token ad campaign or at a maximum chipped in for a documentary piece. What made you believe that this could well make for a big screen experience as well?
Because I wanted this subject to be heard, creating a voice about a serious issue while using humor as its back drop & drama as its driving force. But the secret ingredient being a genuine love story had me hooked from day one, whatever reservations I might have had were completely outweighed by the chance of making this into a reality for the World to witness, that India may have 3D movies but not a toilet!
4. I am particularly glad about the messaging through the promotion which clearly states what the film is all about instead of camouflaging it into something that it isn’t. That’s the case of some honest pitching before the audience, right?
I can’t lie to my audience, it takes one false move & they’ll never quite trust you ever again. This film holds a message so strong, but its delivery is so delightful that it’s like being taught how to drive in a Ferrari ;o) fast paced, dangerous if not careful, but beautiful around the edges.
5. Moreover, in your lady love Bhumi Pednekar too you have got an able partner who symbolizes an ‘aam aadmi’, or in this case ‘aam aurat,’ right? How has she turned out to be your partner in this movie mission?
Well Bhumi has shown nothing but disciplined courage when it comes to her choice of films, she was brave enough to take on this role without batting an eyelid, for she isn’t interested in being a typical actress, she is here to make a difference & show you don’t need to be a Barbie doll to be an actress. India is full of extremely talented actresses, & I’m hoping Bhumi receives as much success with this film as her last, because I genuinely want the industry to be filled with talent & not just beauty.
6. Sree Narayan Singh has been an experienced award winning editor over the years. How has he picked up his new role as a director here for a film like this?
He has stepped into his new found role with all religious heart, he’s one of the most interesting directors to work with, he prays for 3 hours every morning before every single shoot, even early morning shoots, he’s open minded, he’s not stuck in his ways, he’s willing to try everything to get what’s right for the film, his editing skills are literally like no others, this is a fast paced lovely film thanks to him.
7. From enjoying mass popularity for action films and comedies to winning national awards for your serious cinematic work. There has been a definite shift in focus in your career graph. Was it consciously planned or happened on its own?
In this line of work, everything has to be a conscious decision, timed & planned just like my comedy sketches… I didn’t suddenly wake up one day & say I want to be more serious about my career. The timing was right in my life, my intrigue into offbeat scripts, my desire to make a change in the substance of my films, the want to give my audiences more than a laugh & a giggle. I’ve made so many films that I felt it was time to reinvent myself, to really make a difference in my country, even if it’s teaching them a bit of history that didn’t sink in at school, or a reminder that we can change our society, our beliefs, our hygiene, all we have to do is want to. I don’t mind even if I have the smallest of impact in this world, I just want to be able to say ‘I tried…’