Last week when Dishoom released, audience went in to see Varun Dhawan and John Abraham pack a punch, but Akshay Kumar's brief appearance left a mark on the moviegoers.
In a skirt with waxed legs and man-bun sans typical gay-ish gestures, in a cameo, Akshay plays a funny homosexual character (as demanded by the script) without making it caricaturish.
In his next, Rustom, a thriller that is set to release next week, he plays a Parsi, Rustom Pavri. And again, Parsis have been the victims of stereotypes in Bollywood. Akshay, however, respects every community and any sexual orientation. During the promotion of Rustom, THE WEEK caught up with the 'Khiladi' of Bollywood to talk about his upcoming films, his journey in the film industry, portraying a homosexual role and more.
Rustom is not the first film where you are embroiled in a police case. But in this film, you are patriot and a genuine person convicted in a murder case, has it been difficult to portray such a character?
The difficulty is at the writing level, not when I am portraying the character. When you are writing a character that is so layered, he is a patriot, a traitor and there’s a murder at the same time, it’s tough to write. The basic work goes into the screenplay (written by Vipul K. Rawal). It’s not tough for me. The best part about this film is that it’s novel. Usually, a woman has to be forgiving when a man turns infidel, it’s never the other way round. It’s different here. I have seen the film and I have a feeling that ladies are going to love the film.
The film is based on the famous Nanavati case of the 50s. Earlier, two films – Ye Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963) and Achanak (1973) – have already been made on the Nanavati case on which Rustom is supposedly based. How is this different?
Those films were very linear, around just one topic. In this film, a lot of other subjects have been explored. Four different cases have been picked up from different places and the film has been woven together to fit in one story.
Do you think there will be comparisons with Sunil Dutt (Ye Raate..) or Vinod Khanna (Achanak)?
I am not going to compare it. The actors in the previous films have played the part in a very different way, and that too successfully. I have played it my way. The verdict for me will come out only after the film releases
You seem to be doing quite a few patriotic films of late. Manoj Kumar became hugely popular with such roles...
Manoj Kumar is a tremendously good actor. He has done some of the best films. I wouldn’t like to disrespect him and his talent by comparing myself to him. And also, Manoj Kumar didn’t do Houseful 3 (smirks). So it won't be right to compare. I like changing my image every now and then. If I do thriller, I also do a comedy. You are trying to tag me and I wouldn’t want that to happen.
When you talk about being versatile, was doing a homosexual cameo in Dishoom was part of that?
I am so happy that our society is open to the fact that anybody can perform. It makes me feel good about it. At the end of the day, it is just a role and what is wrong with playing it or doing it. Usually we make a caricature of such characters.
Your character wasn’t caricaturish, but wasn’t a serious portrayal of a gay character too. Would you do a serious gay character?
If a script is good and I like the screenplay, I don’t mind doing it.
How do you look back at your journey in the industry?
I don’t have any regrets, rather I think myself lucky to be a part of this industry. It was incidental that I became a part of the industry as I never aspired to do what I am doing. I feel good about my journey as anybody would love to be in my shoes. What God has given me, is tremendous and if I keep regrets, it wouldn’t be right.