Akshay Kumar – Stepping into the third phase

Akshay Kumar - Stepping into the third phase

It was a little over 20 years back when Akshay Kumar had thrust into the Bollywood scene with Saugandh (1991). With Khiladi (1992) turning out to be his first major release and success), he spent a good part of the first phase of his career in establishing himself in the industry. As an outsider, it was a major win to just survive the first decade in Bollywood. Circa 2000 and it was time to step into the second phase with Hera Pheri. A comedy, it brought a turnaround in the way Akshay wanted to shape his innings further. A little more than a decade later, now that he is kick-starting his third phase, plans are already in place.

100 films and two decades down the line, is it going to be 'Akshay Kumar' reintroduced in next 10 years to follow?
(Laughs) You are suddenly making me sound like a veteran here. Come on, I am still landing punches and merrily kicking around. I am active as ever before. I continue to do 3-4 films a year and don't have any intention of changing the pattern either. I am not getting tired though I hope people who ask me the same question again and again do get tired (smiles).

On a serious note though, there must be a roadmap that you must have defined for yourself?
Frankly, there is no point in thinking about how next three-four years would look like, leave aside thinking of 10 years down the line. I don't plan so much in future; there is no point either as it unnecessarily takes out time from your schedule which could otherwise have been a lot more productive. At maximum I know how next 12-18 months would follow. In that aspect, I have my hands full. I know that thankfully I have enough work on my plate.

So in a way you are reinventing yourself and turning more and more versatile, right?
'Reinventing' would be too heavy a word. It almost sounds like I am turning away from the kind of massy commercial cinema that audience loves (smiles). However that is not the case. I am all for commercial films; this is one trait that would stay. OMG – Oh My God is a true example of that. It could easily have turned into a preachy, religion centric film. It didn't happen that way since I was sure from the very beginning that audience interest had to be taken into considering first. Yes, my films have to fall under the 'different' category for sure when they are a product of 'Grazing Goat'. They can't be boring though!

While being the torch bearer of films that are meant to be entertaining, it is quite visible that you are happy running a mini-industry of your own.
Please don't put such huge responsibilities against my name. I am happy to be a part of the industry; I have no desires to form a parallel industry. I am an actor and a growing producer; let me play around that for a while at least. I have seen this industry close enough to understand that you can't put all your eggs in one basket. Also, you can't start taking yourself way too seriously to believe that you can rule and own things.

Is this the reason why you have neither formed any camps around you nor are you being a part of one?
This is one of the reasons since there are others as well. I am aware of this elaborate piece that you did on my 20 year journey in Bollywood. You tell me, did you see any set pattern there at least in terms of people with whom I have worked with? Yes, I may have worked with some filmmakers in multiple films, especially in the beginning of my career. However you have to understand two things. First and foremost, back then in the 90s, it was a norm to start working on 8-10 films simultaneously which by default brought you back to the same set of people. Secondly, I wasn't restricting myself to them; I was also working with others. At times, they even turned out to be professional rivals but thankfully I didn't have to choose sides.

Still, given the power that you enjoy currently, you could have formed a camp around you at the least?
Kyon, kahin picnic par jaane hai jo camp banaaye (laughs)? Arrey, who really has time to sit and decide upon who would be the camp members and who would not. Anyone who can come to me with a compelling script is most welcome. For that matter he could be someone established in an industry or a complete newcomer. Tomorrow if you have something interesting to say then be my guest (smiles). As for the actors, I anyways work in so many films that even if I think of a camp, I can't form one (laughs). I need to have a much larger set of actors and crew members around me; I can't restrict myself to any particular set.

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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