Akshay Kumar talks about why he gets bored easily, how he can’t stop being amazed at how lucky he got, why he came out in the open about the sexual harassment he went through as a child and more….
Q: Toilet Ek Prem Katha is a story that one wouldn’t think you a city bred person would relate to….
Akshay: That’s where we go wrong. We all think this open defecation is an issue more rural than urban. But the fact is, we in cities get more affected by this than the people in villages. The bacteria and germs spread so fast in cities and we fall sick much quicker. It is one of the worst problems of the cities….
I keep reading up on this and I found out that 54 per cent of the country’s population has no access to toilets. it is a big problem for our kids. This is a known fact. I am talking about figures and facts from sanitation.
Q: A superstar is talking about toilets in his films…. This couldn’t have happened earlier….
Akshay: That’s because we have subjects available like these now. Earlier it was difficult to get content like this….
Q: Even if there were writers with subjects like this, the stars were not open to them….
Akshay: I would say more than stars, the audience is now open to watching these kind of films….
Q: Well, the audience would decide only if it reached them…
Akshay: A lot of people tried different subjects earlier, Kayee logon ne koshish kiya hai. they didn’t do well. Now probably because of the influence of the social media or whatever, the audience is lapping up all types of stories.
Q: You are making some good choices…
Akshay: It’s all about luck. I did try to make choices even earlier, but they just wouldn’t work. Sometimes they would but often they wouldn’t. But mind you, this phase will also change. The audience will get bored of what is happening now. Each phase lasts for two or three years. That’s why one has to keep exploring new things, find different places. One needs to keep re-inventing oneself.
Q: So being relevant is the biggest pressure…
Akshay: You can say that. Initially, when I started I was so stuck in the action image. It was mind numbing to come on the set every day and give a punch or kick and go home. It felt like being brain dead. It was my fault. I was doing things just for the heck of it. I didn’t enjoy it and that’s why I wasn’t even accepted much….
i don’t want an image. i don’t want anything specific. i want everything.
Q: But then you didn’t have much of a choice then, did you? As soon as you could make choices, you did.
Akshay: Yes, beggars can’t be choosers. I wasn’t a producer then, now I am. So I can do what I like. I do agree that things don’t come easily to me. But at the same time, I feel incredibly lucky for whatever I have got. Like I keep saying, it is all 70 per cent luck and 30 per cent handwork.
Q: 70 per cent luck?
Akshay: I see people who are more talented and good looking than me, struggling through their lives. Why only actors, you know of movies that all of us hated, but it just worked at the box office? (Laughing) Then there are films that moves you to tears and you cry and then you find out that the film has flopped and the producer is also crying. It’s all about luck….Being in the right place at the right time is all that matters. Thirty per cent hard work is essential. Rest you leave it to God.
Q: As a producer, do you think now that South Indian films, Hollywood films, small content driven film are all posing threat, Bollywood needs to do a bit of re-thinking?
Akshay: I look at it like this. Films that worked at such a large scale, deserved to be that successful. The language or where it came from doesn’t matter.
Let’s talk about Dangal. I absolutely loved that film. One of Aamir’s best. You know that climax where the girl is fighting her big fight, he is stuck in that room. He didn’t mind not being in the middle of the action. That is such an intelligent move. How good is that. It is so essential for us to understand our limits, and know when to back out.
Q: One is surprised that you chose to talk about the abuse you suffered as a child now. Any particular reason why.
Akshay: Not really. It happened organically. We were discussing about women trafficking and I feel strongly also about child trafficking. When a child is sexually abused, it is important that the child feels safe to communicate it with the parents. Touching children inappropriately is a big thing. It doesn’t come out in the open, because parents make the child feel ashamed of it. They don’t want to talk about it in the open. But why? Talk about it and you could be saving other children’s lives. I thought it was right to communicate about my own issues on that dais and i am glad that media picked it up. I hope lot of kids who go through abuse would think, if he can talk about it, so can we.