Akshay Kumar Interviews: Pose to his latest movie Action Replayy: Tell us about your new film “Action Replayy.”I’m going to quickly get this out of the way: it is NOT an action film! The movie is a lovely romantic comedy film and a tribute to the ’70s. It’s about a son who goes to extreme measures to revive his parents’ marriage. He travels back in time to fix what is clearly very wrong in my extremely dead marriage with Aishwarya. He rewinds our life so we can “Action Replayy” our lifelong weaknesses and hopefully get it right the second time around. What happens next is a festival of emotions and definitely a Diwali everyone will want to “Replayy.
Please describe your role. Why is it unique from your previous roles?
I play an extremely innocent husband — a man that only lives to please his demanding wife. I’m a nervous wreck: I let people walk, talk and abuse me, like a street hawker with bad breath. But, my path to self-improvement is one very memorable journey. I must say to play the quirks of the ’70s was so much fun compared to the characters of today. I went from “me” at the script reading to becoming a greasy, long-haired, half-blind weakling of a husband to an almost strong, bouncy haired handsome ’70s stud. It was so interesting to portray so much versatility in one character in one film.
In addition to being India’s ultimate action hero, you are also known for your meticulous comic timing. How much of your role in “Action Replayy” combines both your comedy and action skills?
Not much because this is not an action film. Let me make that perfectly clear. You might see the odd bit of humorous action, but nothing to scream from the rooftops. There is one scene where I have a typical ’70s Dshmmm Dshmmm fight, which is a classic, but you have to wait and see why. This film has way more romantic comic timing than anything else. It has a special touch to it that makes you just sigh out loud want to hold your partner’s hand.
What attracted you to the script of “Action Replayy?”
Well, actually it’s a theatrical play that Vipul Shah made and starred in years ago. In fact, it was an extremely famous and very popular play. I remember my parents going to see it together, and I’ll never forget what my mother said when she came home! “Bitta, you should see this play and learn that you only get one chance at marriage. So, be a man and get it right the first time.”
I had no idea what she was talking about, but imagine all these years later I’m actually remaking it with the very same man who created it. I know what my mother is saying now: “We don’t get a second chance in this life, what we do today makes all the difference for tomorrow.” That’s why I know this movie will open so many peoples’ eyes — it’s completely directed at every single one of us.
Tell us about working with Aishwarya Rai.
Oh I love working with her! It’s been a long time since Ash and I have worked together; yet, it was so easy. Everyone knows how absolutely beautiful she is, but what amazes me is that every single shot she gives is like a million dollar shot due to her expressions, her timing and her grace, which is mesmerizing. Then, she casually sits down with all of us and tells stories.
She even reminded me of a huge accident that happened to her “Khakee,” where she was trapped under a vehicle between a cactus and a car. The car, which had rolled over her, crushed her leg, and I was the first person on the scene. She was petrified, but when she saw me, she became so calm. Apparently, she knew I was the only person that would remove her safely from the wreck, and I rushed her to the hospital. I had completely forgotten all this; so, when she told me, I now remember how brave I thought she was. I have so much respect for her on and off screen, and because I feel that same respect from her too, it is very comforting working in that kind of atmosphere.
What was it like working with your other co-stars, specifically, Kirron Kher?
Ah Ha! Kirron mam is a typical old-fashioned mother in this film — the complete opposite to what she is in real life. Kirron ji is one Hip woman, I must say, she’s as naughty as I am, loves pranks and is so much fun to hang around with. The new boys Ranvijay & Aditya are great guys; they put a lot of effort into their characters, but still love to play cricket with us oldies in between shots. I get along with them very well, and I kind of remember that I used to miss them on set when they weren’t required. Not that I told them that!
You have delivered consecutive hits with Shah. What is your relationship like with him? And, what makes his films and your duo a success?
You make it sound like we’re married! It is our fifth film together and every one of them has been memorable in Hindi film history, which is an amazing record. But, we work so well together because we both respect each other as utmost professionals, and have full faith in each other’s movements. The effort we put into our movies and our passion for film is identical. We try very hard not to let each other down or let anything get in the way of work or our friendship. That’s where many relationships in this industry go wrong: they get mixed up with personal and professional decisions. Very few are pure blooded, genuine friendships; it’s the same all over the world I guess. My relationship with Vipul is one of those special cases.
Everyone is raving about the soundtrack for this film! What’s your favorite song from the film?
Ah well my favorite song is “Zor Ka Jhatka.” I love the beat and it has one of my favorite dance moves, which I hope becomes a trend. The music from this film makes you come alive, as it’s a great ensemble of songs including: disco, classic retro, romance, holi and party numbers. So, get ready to dance the night away!
If you were able to bring back anything from the ’70s to the current time, what would that be?
The innocence of “love.” The classic romantic movies, the unforgettable love songs, the anticipation of being too scared to hold hands on the street, the sacredness of marriage, the platforms I couldn’t do, but the bell-bottoms I adore. Oh, and I love a good ’70s fight scene: legendary now and always.
What are your memories of the 1970s?
Well, I was just a small boy in the ’70s, but I remember everyone used to say my dad looked like Elvis. He was so tall, well-built with a long face and stunning side burns. But, what amazes me even today, is that in the fabulous ’70s era, I idolized one of “The Biggest Actors Of All Time:” Mr. Rajesh Khanna. I still can’t believe he is my father-in-law today. How much I used to copy his famous wink as a kid! I tried to sing, dance, walk and woo women like him. Then, two decades later, I fall madly in-love with his daughter, Twinkle Khanna, and now we are bringing up our son in my era: The 2000s. Time really does have incredible circumstances!
If you could really travel back in time, would you? And, to when?
There is only one phase in my life I would ever want to go back and change. That would be to catch my father’s cancer much earlier, but if I was really wishing for things, it would be to have the knowledge and capability to cure cancer. My father was diagnosed too late and there wasn’t much neither I nor my money or family could do. There is nothing worse in life than watching your parents or your children suffer. As we are on the subject of time, please do not take time for granted; we are here only once, so treasure it because time machines only exist in movies.