Khatta Meetha releases today and Akshay Kumar is sounding as calm as he has ever been. No pre-release blues, no anxiety, no worried lines on face. Even as he battles mini controversies around his visit to RK Laxman, Priyadarshan's apparent displeasure around the film being totally sold as a comedy and detractors not quite giving him or his film Housefull the due credit of being one of the biggest successes of 2010 so far, Akshay is merrily smiling it all away. In the second part of an exclusive conversation with this correspondent, Akshay Kumar calmly comments on all the controversies surrounding him and how he is happy to leave them all behind and cherish a life which, in his own words, couldn't have been more beautiful.
Priyadarshan, in a recent interview, said that the film is more of a drama rather than a comedy. Is that a fact?
Absolutely. There is a lot of drama as this is no happy-go-lucky slapstick comedy. This film has more emotions than I have performed in a long time. Priyadarshan has made a wonderful movie and people from all walks of life will be able to appreciate it. Well, as long as they have a heart that is and a funny bone (smiles).
He also seemed to be upset about the fact that the film is being sold entirely as a comedy. Did you have a discussion with him around this?
It's very hard to make people understand that not every movie that either I do or Priyadarshan does has to be a comedy. He has every right to feel upset. This is his movie and he wants people to walk in knowing what they are going in for. Everyone knows that there is nothing more disappointing than paying to see a movie that doesn't fulfil you. When I want to see an action packed film, I expect to see some action and not come out crying without knowing. Believe me, Khatta Meetha is deep and funny and common and dramatic.
From the economics standpoint, there is a belief that Khatta Meetha has been made at a very reasonable budget and also sold at a price lesser than regular Akshay starrers. Also, because you are also the producer of the film, the film looks like a winner commercially. Do you wish to detail on the economics part here?
There was no need to make a high budget movie. It's about a common man and common everyday problems. It's not an Avatar or Blue kind of a film. We are not trying to change cinema with this one; we just want to tell a story and make you feel things that you haven't felt for a while. The economics of the film are simple. What we needed visually, we got and paid for. We sold it for what was right and the rest isn't written yet.
On a different note, even though Housefull turned out to be a good earner for all, not many have still been giving credit to the film for what it deserves. Isn't it disheartening?
Oh how I love your different notes (winks). To be honest, nothing is a shock to me anymore. It doesn't matter what you do or what you prove, it is never enough, so why fight the inevitable. I witnessed the rapture inside theatres all over Mumbai, London and Canada. I had proof enough of how much people enjoyed Housefull; that's all I need. And that's all Sajid Khan needed. People will never let you walk up the mountain of Bollywood without the impossible struggle. It's what we call human nature unfortunately and I'm incredibly used to it by now.
Of course one can guess so. After all there is this entire controversy around the RK Laxman visit as well. Really, that seems to be in a really bad taste, isn't it? After all it seemed like a harmless visit.
I really don't want to get into it. What was said was extremely distasteful. Yes, you are right, but I am not going to delve into it. I was officially invited to visit Mr RK Laxman by his wife and the Times Of India. Even they feel bad for the outcome of such an innocent visit. But as always I can't, in fact no one can stop people from saying or writing what they want. Also, it's not the first time that Twitter has been the cause of problems. All one can do is deal with it, and move on.
In such a situation, it was none other than Amitabh Bachchan who supported you. That must have been a humbling experience?
I know. You couldn't imagine how very touched and humbled I was. I was actually shooting in Manali at that time and wasn't really in touch with the world. I had to be told about the situation. Still, for Mr. Bachchan to stand his ground and support our fraternity yet again is just inspiring. I have said this for years that our entire industry actors/media/reporters/producers - everyone would be so much better off if we all had a touch of Mr Bachchan's dignity. He is one of India's greatest role models and no one can deny that fact.
Finally, is life beautiful for Akshay Kumar?
Life couldn't have been better (smiles). I just had a wonderful month long holiday with my wife Tina and my son Aarav with our good friends from New York. I have one of my favourite movies releasing today, my son was just awarded his green belt in karate, me and my wife have just opened our office together in the very building we live in, and I've just wrapped Action Replayy. I am a very happy man right now.