Akshay Kumar talks about CC2C and his lifes influence on the film with Rajan Singh
Well the current phase where I am right now in my life, right now, involves serving people. And there is a character in this film that is a cook cum waiter and serves ready food to people. Then there is also this element in the film where I teach martial arts to people. Basically the three - four important aspect that took place in my life, are there in Chandni Chowk To China. Nikhil Advani who has directed the film has very well incorporated all those elements of my life in the film.
Chandni Chowk To China
Ok, did you also sport a chutiya during your struggling days similar to what we see in the film?
No, at that phase of my life I did not sport any chutiya. But, yes there is this character in the film who sports a lock of tuft hair. In the film I play the character of a halwai or a cuisine maker. I know of a similar halwai from Chandni Chowk, Delhi whose shop I visited frequently to eat jalebis. The lock of hair comes from that gentleman and I was inspired from his tuft of hair on his head.
Ok, Akshay now since we are talking about your film Chandni Chowk To China so it becomes important for me here to ask you that how did your journey to Bangkok happen?
I was really in love with martial arts and the fascination towards martial arts had grown in me all of a sudden. It all happened because of my dad who was a known wrestler and it was only because of him that I got attracted to sports like volley ball, cricket or martial arts for that matter. I had learnt the basics of martial arts while in India only but I wanted to learn more about the art. Whenever I used to see films of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan or Gordon Liu then the desire used to grow more and more to learn more about martial arts. But the problem was that where to go to learn further in this art? I could not have opted for Hong Kong, as it was way too expensive, China again was out of question. Then my dad laid a condition that if I were to score first class in my SSC he would fund my martial arts classes at Bangkok. Thankfully I managed to score first class in my SSC examinations. He then borrowed money to fund my martial arts classes on interest and till today I am making merry on those borrowed money of my father. Well, no one knows acting its only because of my martial arts skill that I am able to enjoy right now.
Ok did you ever think when you were in Bangkok, that you would become the king of box office in later years?
At that time I had not even thought that I would act in films. At that time I had not even seen a camera. To think about acting in films and becoming successful was a far-fetched conclusion.
Ok while still sticking to your Bangkok days did you resort to cooking only for survival over there.
Actually I did not know of any other work. I was not highly educated so the only thought which came to my mind was to serve people, serve them food and that too good food. I used to work hard the whole day then used to go for my night classes during nights. During daytime I used to make Jalebis, Chhole bhature, parathe. It was not any restaurant per se but it was more of a roadside permanent stall. It was more like serving to patrons and cooking the food simultaneously by the same person. There was one more person with me who was from Kolkata and he assisted me.
How did you land in Bombay?
After I left Bangkok, I had landed up with a job in Kolkata. Not many people know about this that I also worked in Dhaka, Bangladesh for almost five months. Post that I started working between Delhi and Bombay. There is this famous jewellery shop based in Delhi called Kundan Jewellery, I worked over there. I used to buy stuff from Delhi markets and then sold them at a higher price in Bombay. I have done so many things in life.
Ok, when did it strike you that you will now become an actor?
I used to teach martial arts kids to kids at that time. The father of one of the kids whom I used to give martial arts lesson was a model co-coordinator. He told me that I have a good face and a well-built physique and I should resort to modeling. At that time every month I earned some Rs. 6000 to Rs. 7000. He then asked me to meet him the next morning and give some modeling assignments. The next morning I reached at his studios in Colaba, the moment I entered the studios I was stunned for a moment as it was fully air-conditioned. The studio had everything. Then a cameraman came all of a sudden and started fixing the lights and all of a sudden told me to look right, left, down, smile and all the possible stuff. And then he finally said that everything is done and in the end handed over and envelope to me. The envelope had a cheque worth Rs. 16,000. Then I said to myself that I am complete idiot. I work the whole month out earning a mere Rs. 7000 and here I am getting a cheque of Rs. 16,000 for a ten-minute job. They made me sit in an AC room, a girl attended to me while I was waiting. It was then I decided that I would do modeling only and as they say the rest is history.
When did you turn to Akshay Kumar from Rajiv Bhatia?
Any family member or any Pandit did not suggest it. I myself had opted for this name. I like this name a lot. Well, sometimes it does happens that when you get to hear a name, then it really appeals to you and you get stuck to it. Then I decided that I would stick to this name. After that I went to court and gave an application to change my name and later on got it done through the proper procedures. No Pandit was involved in the whole affair.
What was the reaction of your parents after you joined the film industry?
They were very happy at my decision. They supported me fully in all my endeavors. They were really happy that their son was soon to become a film actor. Actually as I had told earlier its only because of their blessing and my fathers borrowed interested money that I am able to enjoy now.
OK, when did you realize that you have excellent comic timing?
Well, actually even I too never knew about this that I could perform comedy or make other people laugh. Actually I would like to give credit to three people who really believed in me and instilled that confidence in me that I can do comedy. They were Priyadarshan Sahab, Rajkumar Santoshi and Neeraj Vora. It was only because of these three people that I was able to do my comic sequences well. But apart from it, what was inside me from the beginning came from my Chandni Chowk upbringing. I would like to give credit to Chandni Chowk for that streak of humour. If you were to visit that place once then you will realize that nothing much happens there apart from making merry all day long. The merry making session continues from day till night. Its all about eat, drink and make merry.
Do you still remember any of your antics from your Chandni Chowk days?
Well, there is one thing that I distinctly remember and that pertains to flying kites. Over there kite flying is also referred to as guddi. Just to catch hold of guddi we used to run from by lanes of Chandni Chowk and the houses there are so cramped that merely by climbing form one house to the other you could easily reach the Red Fort. The houses and their balconies are so close to each other. The place abounds of monkeys in plenty. The electrical wires of that area is so messed up that a mere short circuit can create havoc and its unbelievable but its all by Gods mercy that nothing has happened ever.
Deepika & Akshay
Akshay after having delivered so many hits, do you feel any sense of satisfaction or pride at this stage of your career?
When my debut film Saugandh was released, my whole family had gone for the trial show at Ajanta. After the trial got over my parents were looking at me with a sense of pride and so were my siblings. At that time only I had achieved that sense of pride and satisfaction. It was a great thing for me that my whole family saw my debut film and complemented me. It was for the first time that someone from the Bhatia family was joining the film industry. After that a hit or a flop did not really matter much to me. After all I am a normal human being, now I have become such that it worries me a bit. Whenever I see myself in front of the mirror, I realize that some bad habit has crept inside me and I should get rid of it as soon as possible. These things of delivering hit or a flop dont really matter, I am part of the industry which has given me so much Some time I go to sons school and there his friends shake hand with me or give me a hug and then I feel a sense of satisfaction. Films do flop and sometimes they become hit, you only have to keep working.
Do you feel threatened by the new lot when you have now become the king of the box office?
When people talk about being number one or number two, its all rubbish. You can actually count the number of stars on your fingers that are part of the industry. Now when there are only four heroes, what competition are you talking about? The masses gave us their blessing and love and thats why we became part of this industry. I see so often TV channels talking about competition, I have so much of work on my head. I have work for next 18 months. I never had a godfather in my entire life and its always been my father who was my support system.
Ok, finally Akshay these days we get to see you working with so many newcomers; is there any specific reason behind it?
No one wants to work with me. Beggars cant be choosers. When other people dont work with you then you have to make your own army. Now I have become accustomed working with the newcomer lot. I see a fire in the new directors, they are well aware of the fact that with whatever they are making, they will either be made or they will completely get broken. I prefer working with because of that greed in them. I have worked with some 14 to 16 newcomer directors and almost 12 of those films were hit at the box office.
Thanks a lot and all the best for Chandni Chowk to China.
Thanks a ton.