The big day has arrived. 18 months after it was originally supposed to be released, Akshay Kumar’s leading lady Sooryavanshi is now seeing a massive global release with a record screen count in India. For the man of all seasons, it’s been a long wait to see a big release like this one, despite his Bell Bottom hitting theaters in August. However, Sooryavanshi directed by Rohit Shetty is a completely different ball game as after this there are a series of pitches lined up and it would be interesting to see how the audiences show up across India.
Koimoi strikes up an EXCLUSIVE conversation with Akshay Kumar.
Theaters opening across the country and one of the greats of their own is finally getting the Bollywood business going. Exhilarating moment, huh? Let’s start with what Akshay Kumar thinks about reopening theaters with Sooryavanshi, finally.
Exciting for moviegoers, that’s for sure (smiles). As for me, I don’t have enough fingers to cross !! All eyes are on this for many reasons, for his action, masala, the police universe of Rohit Shetty, Katrina and, most importantly, for the cinemas that start after Covid. It is a really important and crucial moment for our fraternity right now. It is bigger than any of my own hopes and dreams right now. This moment affects us all in the Hindi film industry; the stronger we open, the stronger the next one can open. Sooryavanshi will have a ripple effect and we all hope it makes waves for everyone!
There is widespread positivity surrounding the film’s release as everyone is looking for the theatrical business to finally make a comeback in a big way. This should also give a sense of great responsibility. Doesn’t it get a little overwhelming?
Overwhelming is just the beginning of how this feels. I am enormously grateful for the positivity that surrounds us and the good wishes of so many. I’ve already released so many movies, all with their own pressures and expectations, but this one is in a league of its own. Feeling the responsibility to carry not just my movie, but everyone else’s movies after me, is a kind of heavyweight that I’ve never carried before. But there is no other film that I would rather carry on my shoulders through this thoughtful storm than Sooryavanshi! If I was a young man / woman who had been denied access to theaters for 18 months, this is THE movie to storm the doors and celebrate with my family and friends. I am proud, whatever happens and the rest is already written in the stars.
Arriving at the movie, you face the terrorists again after Holiday and Baby. How do they further increase the masala and entertainment quotient in Sooryavanshi?
Well that’s something you will have to experience LIVE in theaters; I will not reveal all my secrets today! In case you haven’t noticed, there is literally all the masala anyone needs. There is not a box that has not been checked; from action to romance, charm and charisma for all ages and races to enjoy. I’ll leave the rest of the excitement to everyone’s imagination, but not while everything is ready to be revealed.
The type of action that is incorporated into the film includes a lot of reckless stunts of yours, something that you are indulging in after a long time. I guess once a Khiladi, always a Khiladi, right?
Apparently yes (smiles). Although I wouldn’t say it’s been that long. I have never ventured too far from my days of action. This movie wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t maintained my stunt hunger for all these years. But I tell you one thing, this was something else; A great action team with big dreams, I felt right at home.
What was different for me this time was when I was up there and I mean hanging from a helicopter with my bare hands, I looked down and my daughter was on set looking at me. I remember doing this before parenthood many years ago and this time instead of thinking about the camera, all I thought about was making her proud and showing her that daddy’s grip is what got me to where I am today. The years have passed, many things have changed, but these hands more than anything are the ones that changed the life of my entire family. No matter how smart one has to be in life, having a strong grip is just as crucial, because frankly, I wouldn’t be here without it.
The film also incorporates Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh as Singham and Us. The police universe has been highly publicized since it was announced. How does energy spread to each other?
You know what, I wish Bollywood would create more movies with multiple heroes? There’s literally nothing like being on set with these guys, it’s the same as when I used to work with Salman or Saif or John & Suniel. The energy, the jokes, and the non-stop stories make every day so much more enjoyable. As much as people may think there is competition in the film industry, there really isn’t, according to me. Compete to improve the movie by all means, but there can never be competition between actors, we are all as lucky as our last release anyway. Also, let’s face it; everyone has phases, it does not necessarily mean that someone is better. I think he is more fortunate.
I’ve always wanted to ask you this question. Do good scripts come your way automatically first, considering you make so many movies? Or is it that the scripts continue to flow as usual, but you have the ability to choose the best and make quick decisions? Asking, since practically no one in the industry works on so many movies simultaneously and that too in all genres.
I think scripts are created with certain actors in mind, but that’s not the rule, there are always exceptions. I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my career that I have been offered not only the number of scripts, but also the variety of genres and stories to tell. It’s the scripts that excite me the most today. I remember when I was young, it was about the action director, the location, and the heroine that used to make me want to act. Now I can’t wait to come home from my meetings with my chest full of bursting to tell my wife about the script in my hand. Is it luck? Who knows. Are my movie choices bringing more diverse scripts to the industry? Who knows. But what I do believe is that a movie can only be as strong as its screenwriter. You can have the actors, you can have the locations, you can have a big budget, but without script, script and dialogue, you could also call it a picnic because, with all the special effects in the world, you can’t tell a story without a heart.
You have practically everything, Akshay Kumar. However, what is that key factor that still makes you hungry to work so hard and aggressively, especially in recent years?
Good people. That’s what makes me work hard. Good people who need work, good people who strive, good people who break barriers, good people who show up against all odds, good people who make a difference. Good people do good things. These are just some of the reasons I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop or slow down until good people no longer want or need me.
While multiplexes have somehow managed to survive for the past 18 months, individual screens in particular are pinning all their hopes on you and Sooryavanshi. What is the promise you are making to them as they prepare to open their doors again?
I can only promise you that I have done my best and given you my best, and I will keep coming back. I will never stop trying to draw crowds to the same screens that made me who I am today. They backed my movies all these years. All I can do is keep making movies for them until all their seats are filled and all the popcorn boxes are sold. All I can say now is good luck to you all.
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