The evening of Wednesday 15 December the newest installment of the wonderful In Conversation series of interviews hosted by Raj & Pablo of the BBC Asian Network was held in front of a live crowd. Stars Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif and Farah Khan graced the BBC TV Centre for the special conversation with the Love Bollywood duo, Raj&Pablo. The golden on-screen jodi, Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, accompanied by the witty and multi-talented Farah Khan, were on a fly-by promotional visit to London for the forthcoming flick Tees Maar Khan. The movie, set to release before Christmas, is co-produced by Akshay Kumar and Farah Khan, and is also the third directorial venture of the latter.
After giving the trio a grand introduction and showcasing the Tees Maar Khan trailer, Raj&Pablo started by asking Khan what was different about this movie in comparison to her previously directed and produced hit movies Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om. Khan answered very matter-of-factly saying, “It’s got Akshay in it”, to which the audience laughed. Kumar went on to elaborate, “I got a call one morning at 6:30am from Farah who insisted on telling me about this movie”. He joked that Khan had tried calling other actors in the Bollywood film fraternity beforehand but since he happened to be the only one awake at that time, he got lucky and was offered the film. The moral of the story as Raj, quite literally concluded, “The early bird catches the worm.”
In similar style to previous In Conversation interviews, a select few audience members were given the unique opportunity to ask their desired question to their favourite stars. When asked by a participant about the one film she wished she had produced or directed, Khan replied, “There are so many films I wish I had made. I would love to have directed Sholay.” During the interview Khan also confirmed that her husband, Shirish Kunder, was indeed going to be making Bollywood’s very first 3D film and said in jest, “I am going to be in charge of the budget and this film might go from being 3D to two-and-a-half-D by the time I’m done”. Kumar also confirmed that he will be co-producing the movie and Khan added, “We will be producing films together, Three’s Company and Hari Om Productions.” Khan also said that she and Karan Johar have often spoken on occasion about collaborating but that the conversation has never gone any further than the initial thoughts stage.
Pablo asked Kumar about the story behind his changing his name from Rajiv Bhatia to Akshay Kumar. Kumar exclusively spoke about his first film in which he played a Martial Arts teacher, “Nobody knows this but today I feel like speaking about it. The first film I acted in was called Aaj and was a Mahesh Bhatt movie. The lead actor in the film was called Akshay”. Kumar went on to reveal that it was from that moment on that he, for no particular reason, took a liking to the name “Akshay” and changed his name before signing his first lead role. Kumar also disclosed that, in his eyes, one of his biggest achievements to date was when he showed his parents his first movie.
Kaif was asked by a member of the audience whether her having six siblings has helped her deal with fame as she is from a non-filmi background. The actress spent some time to thinking about a reply to the question but eventually told the audience that she has always been used to having someone sleeping in the same room with her, and as a result she still, till this day, is scared of sleeping in the dark on her own. Kaif received a marriage proposal during the interview from a fan to which she answered, “Yes, in 2012”, while implying that that is when the world ends, jokingly. Kaif also revealed her first thoughts upon being narrated the idea of the picturisation of the popular song ‘Sheila Ki Jawani,’ “The only thing I kept thinking was gym, I need to hit the gym.”
Raj&Pablo finished by their highly entertaining garam-garam aloos segment, mirroring the In Conversation with Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Karan Johar before the release of My Name is Khan back in February. Watch out for the full video of the In Conversation event on the BBC Asian Network website,www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork and also listen out on Love Bollywood to hear the interview in full.
Tees Maar Khan releases worldwide staring on the 22nd.