Chandni Chowk To China and 8X10 Tasveer didn't work at the box office. How did you cope with such situation?
This kind of flip-flop does happen in the industry so it's ok; one can't take such things to heart. Some films work and some do not. It doesn't mean that you hold anything in particular against something or someone. You have to move on.
But both Chandni Chowk To China as well as 8X10 Tasveer did get hammered quite strongly by most?
Haan, critics ne kaafi bura-bhala kaha tha in filmon ke liye (yes critics did come quite strongly on both the films). Still, I won't say that Chandni Chowk To China was a bad film. Even in 8X10 Tasveer I took a risk. But then you know how artistic films are treated in India, especially when they come out of Bollywood! Such films have small audience and one has to keep that in mind as well.
Regarding Chandni Chowk To China, till the release of New York, it was the only film that took some reasonable opening at least.
I didn't intend to speak about it but since you have brought it out, let me state that box office has its own story to tell. It has seen highest collections so far and though it was certainly less than what all of us were expecting, it has still been far better than any of the other releases in the year. However, people did write so much negative about it that it couldn't go beyond a point at the box office.
You must be quite positive about Kambakkht Ishq though.
Well, yes indeed. I really-really hope that the film works. It has been such an extended period of draught over last six months. Entertainment has just come down and it's high time that people go back to theaters for their staple diet of movies. Over last so many months, there was so much recession, so many problems that a common man could not dream of going to theaters. People were not getting their salaries, they were loosing their jobs. In such a situation, things only turn worse for film business.
You believe that situation has improved now?
Very much so because honestly I had thought that the bad run would continue for an even longer period. I am just not talking about movie business but economy in general. Of what I collect from the market scenario, the situation has improved tremendously over last couple of months or so. There is a certain stability that has come in. We have a stable government, the stock market has gone up again and I see similar positive trend for Bollywood as well. Things are much better now. Itne waqt andhere ke baad ab jaise waapas savera aa raha hai (after an extended period of darkness, there is finally some light)!
Isn't it ironical that the same media that went hammers and tongs at you a few months back is now saying that you will get audiences back with Kambakkth Ishq?
When they say like that then it only feels good. You want to be a part of something that works for the industry, works for the audience, works for the producer, and works for yourself. If my Kambakkht Ishq can improve the industry situation then I can only be proud and happy about that. But honestly, I want all films releasing this season to work. There are these biggies like New York, Love Aaj Kal and Kaminey coming one after another around my film and I want all of them to work.
One doesn't find an actor saying this too often when so much is stake for his own film.
But then there is so much at stake for all of us out here, isn't it? I hear that during the strike, around Rs. 300 crores have been lost. We have to have something running to compensate for the losses. Aisa hoga tabhi mandi mein paisa wapas aayega (only if this happens would there be some money inflow into the industry); films would be made, people will get work. These are all important films and I want all of them to do extremely well!
For Akshay Kumar, it is the collective good run of all Bollywood biggies in the pipeline that matters most. Even though his film comes a week after New York and would be followed by much anticipated movies like Love Aaj Kal and Kaminey, he wants each of them to be a multi crore extravaganza at the box office. Reason? The industry has suffered from a virtual draught at the box office for half a year's duration and it's high time that 'mandi mein wapas paisa aa jaaye' - as stated in his own words. We chat with the man who is currently holidaying in the US but would be in Mumbai in time for the film's release.