With each new film, Akshay Kumar brings some of his special screen magic to whatever character he is playing and in the Anees Bazme directed Thank You it is no different. This time he plays private investigator Kishan who shows cheating husbands the error of their ways and once again that thing that makes Akshay Kumar a star, that glint in his eye and the energy he brings, is there for everyone to see. Plus, he is looking hotter than ever according to his fans! The comedy Thank You, which also stars Sonam Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Suneil Shetty, Irffan Khan, Celina Jaitly and Rimi Sen hits theaters on Friday, April 8th. On a break from shooting for Desi Boyz in the UK, I got the chance to talk with him about Thank You. Even with the World Cup playing in the background and getting called back to the set, Mr. Kumar was fabulous and really fun to talk to. Check out what he had to say about how much he loves the film, why women should take their men to see it, what he will do if any man ever hurts Sonam Kapoor, and so much more!
Do you remember the first moment you realized that acting is what you wanted to do?
Ah, you know I didn’t realize it even after I joined the industry; it wasn’t until after four to five years. It was just a coincidence that I landed in this industry. I was not ready for it, I was ready to be a martial arts teacher. How I came in – even I don’t remember it! I started enjoying acting after five years and I had done about 25-30 films. By then I realized how much I liked it and was enjoying it. Now it’s become more than a career, it’s become a passion to just be an actor and face the camera every morning.
What draws you to a script and makes you say yes, I want to play this character?
At first it was a career, I wanted to earn money from this industry, but now it’s become more of a passion. I enjoy doing different kind of characters even if the character is risky and, knowing that it’s not commercially feasible, I still love to do it and play it. What drives me is if I have not played something like this before. There are some movies out there that I make and genuinely love. It can be either for personal reasons, for physical achievements, for cinema and some even for my son, and then you come across that special one that hits the nail right on the head and you can’t help but love it for its honestly funny story. Thank You is one of those films. It’s gonna make you love cinema all over again. You as a lady would love it; it’s a film which will make the ladies run to the theater out of interest and concern and make the men run home from the theater in fear and panic. They wouldn’t want to watch the film with their wife. That is really a true fact about this film. (laughs) Are you married by any chance?
Yes, I am, very happily.
You are going to make sure you take your husband to watch this film. He has to come and that’s an order. Me, being a man, has revealed all the dark secrets of men in this film. (laughs)
Tell us about your character Kishan.
I’m like the Indo-Canadian marriage detective. I set up men so their partners catch them doing things that only dirty doggies do. (laughs) But I don’t do it to break their marriages, I do it for a very special reason – a reason I’m afraid you have to wait and watch the film for. I must tell you this film for sure will speak for itself. I said this at the beginning of this year, Thank You will be truly thanked.
It seems that you love doing movies that have fun, but also have a great and sometimes deeper story.
They also have a message along with it. There are some men, who are typical average men, for whom one woman just isn’t enough. (laughs) So, I’m going to prove the whole thing wrong. That’s the whole set up. It is hilarious! I’ve watched this movie so many times while dubbing it and while the film was getting edited and I’ve enjoyed it. As I told you earlier, women are just going to love this film.
You are working again with Aneez Bazmee. What makes him a good director according to you?
I would call him the King of commercial cinema who knows exactly how, what, when and why when it comes to entertaining the masses. He actually breathes only to please India’s masses. He never mixes with anyone except his audience and his family and I love that about him. He’s a man’s director. His sensibilities in comedy timing are outstanding in the cinema world. The way he has made my character is too good. Seriously, I can’t tell you how brilliantly he’s made this movie fit like a glove.
How do think he brings out the funny parts out of you when he’s directing you?
You know, mostly it is not from me, it is that the script itself is so funny. He’s also done Singh is Kinng and Welcome with me. It’s the way he writes his scripts and it’s the way he does everything. His script is just funny and we don’t have to work hard to make it funnier. He actually has done so much on pen and paper that we don’t have to work so much at all. He honestly does not make the work hard on us. He works hard on the script and that’s the way it should be.
So you are working with Sonam Kapoor for the first time in this film. Tell us about working with her.
Sonam is very much like her mother, but also more so like her father. She is a very family oriented young lady and extremely easy to work with in the film. She has a very big heart and shows her beautiful side to everyone, which is a lovely quality to have. She’s very gullible herself so she was very true to this character she’s playing. I could pull her leg within seconds without her even realizing.
Did you do that often?
Oh yes – I did. (laughs) She is a very sweet girl and she’s just created her most mature character of her career so far with a lot of passion. I’m proud of her. Without a doubt when Sonam’s character cries in this film she can really reduce you to tears. She’s one of those women that if a man ever hurt her I swear I’ll have to kill him (laughs) because she is too nice to get hurt. Plus I know her father, so that says it all right there.
What was it like working with the guys on the film and setting them up as the bad husbands?
Well, Bobby is one of my very close friends in real life also so with him there is no sense of time. We can hang out constantly and barely know we are shooting. He’s the most laid back, chilled out, easy going actor in Bollywood. He’s like my little brother. That’s how it is with Bobby. I’ve enjoyed each and every moment with him in this movie. We’ve worked in quite a lot of films together. It’s fun. We hang around a lot. He comes over to my house. I go to his house. Shooting was just like part of that so we just hang around all the time.
With Suniel Shetty I’ve done so many films; 90% of the films have worked wonders on the box office. Suniel Shetty is a great actor and he’s great at comedy. When we meet we always greet each other with the biggest of hugs. He’s not only a respected elder to me I think he’s also the fittest, healthiest man in the business. He’s been a big brother to me in every film. We both are like a double malt whiskey – we get better with each sip.
What do you think audiences are going to love about the movie?
That it’s very real. You can identify yourself and you can see that there are so many problems in the film that are happening everywhere. That’s the biggest and the best USP of the film. I saw with each and every dialogue while I was dubbing that all these things in the film are happening in the world today. I just remember this one dialogue, “Aap auratein apne husband’s ke mobile bills kyun nahi check karte. Adhi problems tou wahi solve ho jayegi. (Why don’t women check their husband’s mobile bills. Half the problems would get solved right there.)” (laughs) I can’t tell you the way he’s written all this. I mean, Aneez Bazmee: hats off to him, he must be knowing so many things, all this infidelity and all. It’s amazing. And as much as I am enjoying this interview, I enjoyed so much while shooting for this film.
Most of the film was shot in Toronto and Vancouver. What was it like shooting there?
It was cold. It was nice. It was one of the most beautiful cities. I consider Toronto and Vancouver jannat (heaven). I’ve shot so many films there. I’m very attached to Canada.
Seems that Hindi Cinema is making its way out into the world today.
Well, it’s growing day-by-day. Lots and lots of goras, they all know about Bollywood and what Bollywood means. They know when it comes to Bollywood it means colors, it means emotions, it means dance, it means drama and everything which is very real also and they enjoy it. I’ve seen many white people watching the film and enjoying themselves. When we go for world tours they come to watch the shows. So, yeah it is growing and it will keep on growing more and more. We produce about 180 films now every year and it is catered to everyone. So yes, Bollywood is growing.
Mr. Kumar then got called to do his next shot for Desi Boyz and so with a ‘it was a pleasure to talk to you’ and a reminder to take my husband to see the film, off he went. I would like to thank Mr. Kumar for taking time to speak with me and I promise to follow that order! You can see what hijinks his character gets up to in order to expose the husbands and the reasons why when Thank You hits theaters on April 8th!