Akshay Kumar on row over Housefull 4 box office collection: Theatre owners won't lie about numbers
Akshay Kumar also admits that he never feels confident of his choices, or giving back-to-back hits each year
As Akshay Kumar basks in the success of his Diwali release Housefull 4, the fourth installment and the biggest grosser in the hit franchise (his third release this year after Kesari and Mission Mangal), he is all set to start promotions of Good News, a romantic comedy alongside Kareena Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani, that will hit the screens in December this year.
“It may be encouraging for me when people shower so much love but I can’t live in the moment of glory and I quickly move to another genre. It was a huge change and challenge for me, from playing a scientist in Mission Mangal to portraying ‘Bala’ in Housefull 4. I did Housefull after almost three years and I want to keep dabbling between different genres,” says Akshay.
“When I go on my social media accounts I see my fans commenting that why I am not doing slapstick comedy, and that I should do another installment of Hera Pheri. Then somebody wants me to do a romantic film like Namastey London. The basic idea is to do different genres and not take oneself too seriously in just one genre. I don’t want to commit the same mistake I did in the initial years when I kept doing action films. When people ask me that how I manage to do so many films every year, I say that people should never get bored of their work and not let monotony set in,” he says.
When asked at what point of his career did he decide to take a break from action films, Akshay said, “With Sangharsh, Jaanwar and Hera Pheri I got to do different genre of films. I worked with different creative minds like Priyadarshan, Rajkumar Santoshi and the late Neeraj Vora. These three people are responsible to help me transform and make me aware that I can play variety of characters.”
Talking about his transformation from ‘khiladi’ to comedy, the genre that he has aced for the last several years, Akshay says that there wasn’t any method or process involved. “I just put a part of my personality. I didn’t go to any acting school. I learnt whatever I know from my own experiences. So I wouldn’t say that I did it methodically,” he says.
Elaborating about the comedy genre, the actor averred, “It is very difficult when you have to keep logic away and rely on physical comedy. Only Charlie Chaplin used to do physical comedy in older times without even saying a dialogue. He used to make us laugh. It is one of the most difficult genres of acting to perform,” he says, further adding, “And what works with the Housefull series is slapstick comedy, with the whole confusion of ‘whose wife she is’, ‘Aakhri Pasta’ (Chunky Panday’s character), Ranjeet’s part, Riteish (Deshmukh) and my chemistry. It is a perfect Diwali or Christmas release. It has lot of fun.”
And even as his latest comedy entertainer is roaring at the box office with the multi-starrer film entering the Rs 100 crore club within a week post-release, it is perhaps for the first time ever, that the box office collection of an Akshay Kumar film is being questioned besides being panned by the critics. Allegations of fudged figures have been trending on social media and one was left wondering after veteran producer Ronnie Screwvala (without naming any film or producer) called for transparency in posting box office figures.
Talking about box-office numbers being inflated, Akshay, while downplaying the trolling, or berating any critic, said, "Last of what I read, the box office collection was Rs. 137 crores. I am not giving out these figures. I just read this huge article where INOX cinema said how the film really fared. They wouldn’t lie. PVR, Cinepolis chiefs have spoken. They will not lie. They are not my relatives. Do I look upset? All this doesn’t upset me. I come from the era when hundreds of negative things were spoken and written about me but I never defended myself because I have been taught in my school that mind your own business.”
"Look, I respect critics, people need to be critiqued, it is like a barometer which measures performance. It is important to have critics in your life and I respect that. Comedy is a kind of a genre which everyone won't like, my comedy sense is very different than my wife's. She may not like this (Housefull), she may like some other kind of work that I do. That is why things will vary from critic to critic, especially in the genre of comedy. There have been many times when a critic has given four- and- a- half star while the others have given one- and a- half star," said the action hero who has given 11th consecutive hit with Housefull 4 starting from Airlift to Rustom and onwards. "I have not come with any barometer. I only know that I have four new films coming up and I have been approached for three more. According to me I am doing pretty well," he said.
But Akshay admits that he never feels confident of his choices, or giving back-to-back hits each year. “I am never confident. I am always scared when my film is about to release. You work so hard for nine, 10, 11 months and you worry whether the audience, critics and your family will like it. There are so many things that you are tense about around the release. You feel tense for your producer, studio, PR.” he says.
“I just go with the flow,” says Akshay, when asked how he manages to switch into another character so quickly. “A day after Mission Mangal released, I started work my next, Laxmmi Bomb. I had promoted and done so many interviews as the character of scientist but an actor has to just plunge into another role even if it requires taking a complete U turn. I tend to hold my director’s hand because he knows the film thousand times more than me. He leads me because he is the captain of the ship and you only pray that the ship doesn't turn out to be Titanic,” he signs off with a laugh.
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