Welcome to the 'Akshay Kumar Fan Club'. Care to join? Film credits like Khiladi, Ajnabee, Khakee, Kambakkht Ishq, many more, including the latest deep sea adventure, Blue, which has already brought in thousands of members worldwide. Don't worry about membership requirements, it's simple. You just need to see any of his action flicks to fall in love with the six feet tall treasure seeker.
Kumar has managed a balance of box office hit films and dramatic roles to cement his leap to leading man status. He has risen above the Gods, you may say, but it's time he dives deep down the ocean to meet the sharks. After all, they are God send. Get ready for the ultimate chapter of the adrenaline-fuelled, high-octane action thriller Blue. Chances are, you might just land up in a big fat hungry mouth of the sharks or land up joining his fan club. The choice is yours but there are no options.
Akshay Kumar gets ready to tear some flesh with many journalists who were lined up to question him about his on-set dancing to the title track of Blue, his stuntman quality, why directors are not ready to embark on an all out adventure caper and the most common question Indian cinema lovers are asking today - Why did Shahrukh Khan visit Akshay Kumar on the sets of Blue? The fan club's getting popular every second, ain't it?
Shahrukh Khan on the sets of Blue. Why?
I thought this whole media briefing was about my film Blue and not me and Shahrukh Khan. Why do you guys blow everything out of proportion? We visit each other every time. It's not the first time he is meeting me. It's the first time media is seeing both of us meet after a long time but we do meet often.
How easy was it to be dancing on the trampoline and doing your own stunts?
I thought I was an actor. That's fine if you call me a stuntman. I take it as a compliment. To be a stuntman, you need to be highly qualified. This title track that we are shooting for a promotional video requires a certain kind of dance. It required me to jump high and it couldn't have been possible without a trampoline.
Are you the only one filming this promotional song?
No. There is Lara Dutta, Zayed Khan and Sanjay Dutt too. But today was my day of the shoot.
How good a dancer are you Akshay? Or have you improved?
I think dancing is more like aerobics. I don't consider myself a trained dancer.
Which means that the choreographers must be putting in a lot of sweat for you?
You're right. They have to. They sweat more than I do.
Do you think the introduction of Blue's music on pen drives and memory chips will help combat piracy?
We will do anything to curb piracy. I don't know how much this kind of an innovation is going to curb it. If it does, great. This launch of music on pen drives is a rather unusual thing which I haven't seen before. I got to know it from A.R.Rahman when I met him couple of days back. Isn't it great? I mean, you don't need to carry your compact discs. You just need to have a small chip to see the visual and hear the music. Small is the next big thing.
Very rarely we've seen an adventure genre come out of Bollywood. Do you think it is very difficult for directors to take a risk so big or do you think they need an Akshay Kumar to be a part of such a film?
I have no idea about that. Yes. Blue isn't just a film for me, it's an adventure, fun and a frolic ride. I've done so many films that I have forgotten the memorable shots I've shot for those films. Blue is the only film where I can count my shots. Just imagine, wearing your fins, cylinder, your boxing gloves in the ring and then jumping inside the deep sea, knowing that there are thirty-forty sharks ready to greet you, not eat you, there. There were times when my director would say to remove my cylinder and diving glasses only to get myself prepared for a fight shot doing martial arts. I hope people understand the thrill of risking your life a little bit while you're on the edge.
You've got a tattoo on your hand which reads Blue. Is it permanent?
How can it be permanent? I mean, I don't keep on putting tattoos of all the films I do. I've got this done because it's got a lot of significance to the film I'm doing.
We've seen you exercise behind the scenes to prepare for your roles. Swimming is an exercise in itself. Did you also do different types of training on the sets?
Yes. My producer had sent me to Kosamui to be a certified diver. I had to undergo fifteen days of rigorous training. I had to learn it because I was filming with a Hollywood professional Pete, who is a cameraman for films like Pirates of the Caribbean. Such professionals demand actors to push their boundaries and be swimmers we should be for such films.
Which means that you must've required a higher level of fitness for Blue...
You can say so. Yes, I had to undergo a lot of physical weight loss. I had to shed four kilos. That was quite a heavy task, to remove four kilos from your body weight.
Indian heroes have always shied away from the colour grey. But your stubble looks nice when it's got shades of grey. It looks stylish.
Thank you. I'm so glad that you said that. Some of my producers say, "Sir, aapka daadi kaala kar lo. Ladkiyan kya sochegi?" Everybody is ageing. We all do. Why not let my beard age too (laughs).
We hear that you're doing a romantic film with Anushka Sharma.
Yes, there is romance but it's not a romantic film. I would call it an emotional film.