In 2015 Akshay Kumar juggled effortlessly between Airlift andSingh Is Bling. This year again he joyously juxtaposes the real-life saga Rustam with the crazily out of the world Housefull 3. Akshay tells Subhash K Jha why he has to mix the serious with the light in his career.
You play a split personality in Housefull 3. Did you read up on split personalities?
Arrey it’s just a comedy film. Not to be taken seriously. We didn’t study the human brain for me to play the part.I play a wannabe footballer. And I suffer from DID in the film. Did I read up on DID ?
No! My character is not supposed to know he has DID.So why should I? The whole idea in Housefull is to make the unbelievable look believable.In Airlift the believable has to be made more believable. Comedy ko itna halka mat samajhjiye. I am so grateful to the Housefull franchise for allowing me to play so many twisted freaks. I repeat, comedy is not easy to do.
No one takes comedy lightly any more?
Oh, lots of people do.To me the Houseful franchise is as precious as the Khiladi franchise. Action and comedy are what I always enjoyed. I could do these two genres for the rest of life. Housefull is neither cheap nor tacky .It’s what I’d call posh comedy.This is comedy not just for the dumb.
Then who else is it for?
It’s for the dumber as well. Got you!Now that the shooting is done I am getting withdrawal symptoms.
Did you enjoy working with Ritesh Deshmukh and Abhishek Bachchan?
We boys had a ball. Ritesh has been with me in the franchise from the start. But Abhishek is new entrant.I had a lot of fun working with Abhishek. He’s a thorough gentleman .And I’d love to work with him again.
Did the girls have fun too?
Compared with the three girls we boys were angels.If the directors Sajid-Farhad had stopped them from giggling I promise you we’d have released the film much earlier.Ha ha I am a-joking.
So did Jacqueline, Nargis and Lisa have more fun than the you guys?
Any day, any time.They just couldn’t stop giggling.
Housefull 3 , then Rustam. They look like two different planets. How do you manage?
Well, I know there is a belief that men can’t multi-task. Whoever believes that hasn’t met me as yet. But I am not going to pretend it’s easy. I also can’t deny that I enjoy doing both the serious and comic roles.And let me tell you , comedy is also a serious business for me.
So you are pleased with the challenge of doing contrasting roles?
Oh ,very pleased. I am happy to juggle the two contrasting genres. I embrace both happily.See, I adore my Housefull franchise, as much as I adore the serious scripts that I choose.
Do the serious scripts require more of your attention?
Serious or comic, I don’t take myself too seriously. That attitude helps me enjoy both the genres. I take both the genres equally seriously.But at the end of the day whether it’s Rustam or Housefull 3, it’s all entertainment.I’ve always been an entertainer. Being an actor doesn’t mean you have to take yourself seriously. You just have to flow with the character.
Is that how you handle all your roles?
That’s what my experience has taught me. I like doing different genres of cinema. Why should I do just one genre? Its like putting all my eggs in one basket
What about your colleagues who break their backs over roles?
I fear for them.They put so much psychological and physical pressure on themselves. I sometimes want to take some of them on a holiday to Goa to unwind , just chill.We are in the business of entertainment.We aren’t neuro-surgeons.
Are you saying it’s a cakewalk playing the characters that you do?
Trust me, it’s not a challenge . It’s a joy.After all these years of interviews and writing why do you continue? Because you love it. Otherwise you wouldn’t be still doing it.Likewise actors carry on because they love what they’re doing.
Do you prepare for the serious parts?
All those actors who talk about preparing for a role for six months , character mein ghusjaana, etc… they’re lying!
You mean according to you, there is nothing like method acting?
There is . But not to the extent that some actors claim. Work is to be taken seriously. But it’s also important to know where to stop.Even Naseeruddin Shah just goes with the flow. An actor has to be water. You find your level in every character.See, I may not be at the top of the numbers game….
I may not be at the top of the numbers . And I admire those who are at the top for how hard they’ve worked to be there. I’ll forever be grateful for where I am and the kind of roles I do. Some think I do too many films every year. It may be too much for some. But it’s never enough for me.
Ok, if you’ve to choose between Rustam and Housefull 3 which would you choose?
I can’t choose! They’re both equally important to me. If I just did serious or comic parts alone I’d go mad. At one stage of my career I was only doing action films. It nearly drove me nuts.I used to overhear directors discussing my casting. ‘Arrey yaar, wohjoaction wala part hai wohAkashay ko de do.Ayega thoda kick-shick karega.’ It made wonder.Was I fit only to do kicks?
You pulled yourself out of typecasting?
That’s how you challenge yourself. I began to enjoy my work. Acting is my passion just like martial arts. I can never be bored of either.
So who is the real Akshay Kumar?
The real Akshay Kumar likes to put his hands into all the cookie jars.At the end of the day I am a Punjabi. Variety is the spice of my life.And spice is the variety of my life.
The awards elude you every year. Is that a disappointment?
After all these years you don’t think I see it coming? But this year it was an honour to see Ranveer Singh win all the awards for Bajirao Mastani. His energy and guts actually remind me of myself. I was happy to lose the awards to him. Anyway my family is proud of my performances. That’s all I need.
When do we get to see you play super-hero?
How about a super-villain? I play that in Robot 2.