My fee? That’s personal: Akshay Kumar

My fee? That's personal: Akshay KumarWhile Akshay Kumar was in Delhi to shoot for Neeraj Pandey’s ” Special Chhabbees”, he sat down with us between shots. The actor, who traces his roots to the capital’s heart – purani Dilli – misses no opportunity to proclaim his love for his birthplace, and this time, it was no different.

“After “Chandni Chowk To China”, I’ve come back to Delhi now to shoot for a film. Waise toh har mahine mera yahan aana jaana hota hai. Kisi ko pata nahin chalta, chup chaap aa ke, ghar pe kuch ghante bita ke, poori raat guzaar ke subah chala jaata hoon,” Akki told us. So, would he like to do something for Chandni Chowk, his birthplace? “Main Anupamji (Kher) ko aaj yehi baat keh raha tha… Hum sunte hain bade bade hotlon ( hotels) mein aag lag gayi. Aap yahaan ka wiring system dekh lijiye. Mere sar se kareeban ek foot upar hi wires hain, naked wires, lekin kabhi humne yahaan yeh nahin suna ki aag lag gayi. Yeh aise hi hai. Chal rahi hai. Bahut saare mandir hain, bahut saare masjid hain. Bas unka ashirwad hai. Yeh apne aap hee chalti hai. Main agar chahoon toh yahan ka jo wire system hai, electrical wires, telephone wires, woh sudhar jaaye. Lekin mujhe toh raasta nazar nahi aata koi…” was the reply.

Like most of his contemporaries, Akshay too has turned to production. He is running two production houses, one, which focuses on movies starring himself, and another with Ashvini Yardi, which focuses on other films, including Marathi stories. However, unlike most of his contemporaries, the actor publicly acknowledges that he finds the process of production tiresome. He also said that he’ll work in Bollywood till they shoot him down.

But while he waits for that day, Akshay says that he doesn’t attach the same expectations to his work anymore, like he used to. For instance, although director Sajid Khan sent the team of “Housefull 2”, including him, a note saying, ‘Welcome to the biggest hit of your career’, Akshay says it’s only Sajid’s way of looking at things. “Everybody has their own way of looking at how beautiful, good, successful movies are made. I believe movies just happen. I don’t go with expectations now because if it goes wrong, it hurts you. I would rather go with no expectations. There’s no way I am going to take any kind of stress, because if it doesn’t happen, I will have to be sad again… Sajid will do his best, I know that Nadiadwala, the producer, will do his best. I’m trying to bring whatever I can to the table, and there is no point in having too many points on your mind,” Akshay said.

But tell him that since Sajid’s a friend, he probably wouldn’t give Akshay too much stress, and he said, “I’m working with Neeraj Pandey on this movie, and I’ve become friends with him too. When you get into a film, you have to be friends with that person. You can’t work with a person you don’t get along with. Don’t work together then, even if it is a bigger name. First get to know your director, he should know you, know what your weaknesses are. Before starting this movie, I met Neeraj at least 40 times.”

So if that’s the case, has he ever said no to a big guy? “Yes,” he said, “I don’t hurt anyone, but I say it in a very diplomatic way – I’d say date problems and all.” It’s the same need for diplomacy that one needs for production, said Akshay, which makes him prefer acting. He told us, “Acting is way easier than production. Acting mein you’re just handling yourself; in production, you are handling a unit of 300 people. It’s tough. You’re handling other actors, which is a big job. You have to ensure the film’s success. There are lots of things.”

He added, “That whole idea about `100 crore, yes, it’s important. About three years ago, it was for `50 crore, then it became `75 crore… 80 crore. Now it’s `100 crore. Very soon, it’ll be `150 crore. Things are changing everywhere. Earlier – I’m talking about five-seven years ago – actors used to charge `1.5-2 crore. Now it has gone up to `35- 40 crore.” When we asked him how much he charges, he quipped, “That’s not your business; that’s my business. It’s not public information.”



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