‘Never been to a bachelorette party’

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Akshay Kumar gets chatty about pole dancing in his latest film and why he is not making his directorial debut anytime soon

Over the past few days, Akshay Kumar has been hopping from one promotional event to the other. Ask him if he believes that promoting a film can make or break a film, he quickly retorts, "I'd rather put my heart and soul into making a film, instead of wasting most of my year just promoting them," he says. In a free- wheeling chat, the Khiladi Kumar gets chatty about pole dancing in his latest film and why he is not making his directorial debut anytime soon.

Excerpts from the interview:

We have seen you playing such characters earlier. What made you take up 'Desi Boyz'?

Actually you haven't. When you see the film, you will realise that it is actually a first of many scenes for me, but I'm keeping all that under wraps so that I can give my audience something unfamiliar to look forward to. Our director Rohit Dawan has made sure that only subtle humour was allowed though the film is full on 'dramedy' with fresh and hot ideas. I'm so proud to be a part a film about male escorts, so it's already in a league of its own.

Then, what is different about your role in 'Desi Boyz'?

I begin the film as a bit of a carefree slob. I work as a temp so one week I'm serving behind a chicken joint, next week I'm a mall security guard. My goal in life is just to have fun with my best friend Nick and I won't let anything or anyone come between our friendship. When the recession kicks us both in the butt, we have no other choice but to turn to the oldest profession, we become male escorts. But that is not what the film is about, there's a lot of drama involved since the film is based on real circumstances.

We see you pole dancing in the promos. Did you take lessons to perfect your move?

Luckily for me, my 'Parkour Gym' is made of poles that I swing, jump, climb and play on a daily basis, so apart from having to perfect a few gyrating hip dance moves, I actually had a riot shooting this song. The innocent old me has never actually been to a bachelorette party, so performing in my first one was entertaining for sure. As for the fire breathing, that was a spontaneous last solo shot of the song where the set dada was walking around setting the pillars from props on fire, and I decided to take the flaming stick off him and make some fire of my own.  You can tell the surrounding models were as shocked as the director.

Film promotions are getting bigger and better. We saw you and John set the stage on fire recently. Do you think marketing a film can make or break a film?

I believe it depends on the film. You'll never see me go all out for all my films. It's almost humanly impossible and I'd rather put my heart and soul into making a film, instead of wasting most of my year just promoting them.

Promotion is always a win-win situation, for both media and the film itself. Until it becomes too much, expectations do become high. Media and critics focus so much on a film that that controversies tend to get created, opinions fly high and comments are made. I think all films should be given a fair chance and audiences should be strong enough to make up their own minds about a film. Cinema is not about going to court and trying to prove your innocence, it is about entertainment.

John and your chemistry in 'Garam Masala' was appreciated a lot but surprisingly no one cast you both in a film together before this one. How have you both evolved as actors during this period?

When you have a pair like me and John, you have to have a script and a half. It is a fabulous reason to come together, other wise the purpose will be defeated. We've both waited many years to be reunited and this is a perfect situation to be joined at the hip again. John has grown not only upwards and outwards; he's also been experimental with the roles over the years. He knows how much I love shooting with him, and now we're already doing another film together 'Housefull 2'

There seems to be a disparity between the critics and the audience. Even though critics have often thrashed your films, the audience has mostly given them a thumbs-up. Why is there a disconnect?

I feel most of the time; the difference is only about the kind of audience the film is pleasing. A lot of my kind of films tends to cater to good old masala loving fanatics, which a few of our critics are not huge fans of, which is why I think there is a clash. Most of my flops have been hugely critically acclaimed so how does one argue with great films that are loved by audiences but unappreciated by intelligent critics, or dramatic artistic films which will never do well at a box-office but get you so much recognition as an actor?It is strange but true.

After being in the industry for so long, what has been your biggest learning curve?

Learning to trust my own instinct. You can get very swayed by many people in this kind of an industry, so being able to see people at face value and remembering why they are around you is a very important lesson to learn. As glamorous as being a star may seem to be, it can be a very sad lonely place also, keep the real people around you and one has a chance at being sane after so many years.

You have always been forthcoming about your 'desi' roots. What keeps you grounded?

I keep myself grounded; I couldn't live with myself if I became too big for my boots and my roots. Plus I have the luxury of being surrounded by my family always, and considering our background, I don't think we'll ever forget where we came from. Only true Desis remain to live eat breathe from the very soil they grew up in, even if they are thousands of miles from there homes, they take their hearts & their families blessings with them.

When can we see you donning the director's hat?

The auspicious director's hat has to wait as I have no sudden urges as of now. I'm busy with my own production house.  Whatever energy I have left after acting my heart and soul out, I am putting into realizing my fathers dream of producing 'Our kind of films' under my banner 'Hariom Entertainment'. I am leaving directing for the future, when my back can't take stunts anymore and my knees become more than happy sitting at a monitor directing all day, but right now I have so much energy to perform and create so that is exactly what I am doing.