Akshay Kumar, now fondly known as Tees Maar Khan is seen everywhere nowadays. He, along with his director Farah Khan, are going flat out to make their product the biggest ever. Busy shooting and also promoting his next, the Khiladi takes some time to meet us. Here goes…
First Action Replayy and now Tees Maar Khan. Finally, you seem to have realised the potential of promoting a film.
Really? I think you’re accusing the wrong actor here. Nobody knows about promoting a movie more than I do. I not only make for to five movies a year but also give every last ounce of effort to promoting them. I am never away from any screen, big or small. But let me remind you that I am the ‘actor’ and it is my producers’ duty to assure brilliant coverage and promotional ideas. I can’t run around the world on foot screaming “watch my movie”, can I?
But you used to be apprehensive about all-out promotions.
I’ve never been apprehensive. My strength at the box office has given me the power to make my producers go “all-out” for my movies every single time.
I don’t understand.
The opportunity wasn’t always there, my friend. Nowadays, PR skills are extremely important and making your movie heard counts. A lot has changed over the years. Now, when I speak, my voice is heard. But I remember the time when there were only street posters and songs on the radio to let people know a new movie was released.
When my father-in-law or Mr Bachchan had a new release, the whole world was whispering about it. Now it’s like your movie can only work if you’ve been on this reality show, or on that talk show, or at this awards night, or how many hoardings you have up, or did you give every journalist an extra five minutes of attention! It’s the way it works these days. But the only thing that really talks at the end of the day is the movie itself.
Still, does it have anything to do with the fact that you would sign multiple films, which left you with no time for promotion?
No! You see, it is an unwritten rule that every producer and director allows you to promote whatever movie you are releasing because in a few months they will be coming to you for dates for promotions. So everyone gives you leeway for movie promotions. After all, what goes around comes around. (Smiles)
Okay, is it the content of a film or the way you promote it that guarantees success?
The only thing that guarantees success is the quality of the movie. Excellent promotion may give you a slightly better opening but if people don’t like the movie, it doesn’t have a hope in hell. But I do believe that with the amount of money that goes into the movies these days, they deserve to be promoted. There’s nothing worse than a great movie being released but everyone missing it because they didn’t know about it.
Coming to Tees Maar Khan, your next release. First, the music launch was held in a running train and then a public musical event. What’s going on?
I know, talk about going all-out! Not a day has gone by in the last month when either Kat (Katrina Kaif), Farah (Farah Khan) or me haven’t done some type of creative promotion for our film. But then again Farah would never let a movie release without that. She has worked very hard, as have all of us. Excitement is a rare feeling. Knowing you’re going to get three hours of entertainment next week is bliss. When I see my son getting excited about Harry Potter films coming out, it reminds me that I cannot leave any stone unturned for my films.
Why do you think Farah Khan will score a hat-trick of hits with Tees Maar Khan?
(Smiles) Because this time, I’m not just doing a cameo. Unlike in Om Shanti Om, I’m the hero here. One thing about Farah, she isn’t lucky, she’s a woman that makes her own luck. She’s the best masala director in the business.
Her secret is, she’s not selfish when she makes movies and she never falls in love with her movie too much. She’s always very clear-headed. That’s why she never fails. Our Farah is the perfect example of what commercial cinema really is.
There’s a lot of buzz around Tees Maar Khan. What’s your take on the film? Will it break the records set by Dabangg?
One can only hope and pray!! Dabangg was a huge success. So to even equal it would be the blessings of blessings. An actor only ever dreams of living up to the hype and buzz of their films, TMK is ringing in everyone’s ears right now. That’s a lot of pressure but I wouldn’t trade places for anything in the world right now.
Everyone’s talking about Sheila Ki Jawani? What do you think about that song and Katrina’s new ‘thin’ avatar?
All the credit goes to Kat for this one. She has done a classy and very sexy rendition of Sheila Ki Jawani. As an eyewitness, I can tell you, she ate well but trained even harder. She’s definitely never performed better. Farah has brought out a side in Kat I don’t think even Kat knew she had.
Now a cliché… What is it like working with a lady director – Farah Khan?
Wait, let me call Farah… (Removes his cell phone)
Why? What happened?
(Laughs loudly) Cos you called her a “lady director”. (Pauses) Don’t let Farah hear you called her a “lady”. She’ll eat you for breakfast. Farah is an incredibly capable woman who has the guts and strength of ten men. There is nothing she can’t handle or deal with. She can make a grown man cry if they haven’t achieved what she has asked. Farah is a perfectionist and you can rely on her to make anything look amazing. She has every quality of a woman plus she makes movies through the eyes of a man. If anything, she is more than three directors put together!!
When I meet Farah next, I shall tell her she has “every quality of a woman”.
Are you excited about your next film, Joker, directed by Shirish Kunder since it’s in 3D, a first for you?
A first for me! You should say a first for Bollywood! Shirish is a very technical director. He is extremely capable of making a masterpiece with this script, one that families will adore.
When is your out-an-out action film going on the floors? Who is directing it? Can you share some details?
All I can share with you is, we are working on it!! Akshay Kumar is going to be back in action but let the script get finalised before we start jumping off the bandwagon.
Finally… Actors often say everything is hunky-dory between them. But still, the verbal duels don’t stop. Do you think all actors are as friendly and cordial as they say they are?
Well, the actor in me says, “Everyone is jealous of everyone in this world. It is almost impossible to have a genuine friendship with anyone at work because it’s human nature to kill to survive.” The friend in me says, “Choose your friends wisely and look after them. Being an actor is no excuse to be a crap friend. Remember where you came from and how lonely you will be when you are no longer famous.” The cynic in me says, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Basically I have my own morals, others have theirs. I don’t like to talk about my colleagues unless I have something nice to say. If I don’t talk about you, maybe that’s my way of saying I don’t care. Actors are not perfect. If something or someone bugs them, they have their right to an opinion. But it is a shame that the whole world ends up hearing about it and our wonderful industry ends up sounding like a two-faced soap serial.