Actor Akshay Kumar received the ‘Box Office 1000 Crore Hero’ award at the recently concluded Star Box Office India Awards. The award recognises Kumar’s collections of over Rs 1000 crore (£100m) at the domestic Indian box office in the past five years. This makes him the most bankable star.

The actor talks about acting in films and his television show.

Akshay Kumar

How do you select the films that you will be a part of?

I search for characters. I don’t want to be a larger than life hero. I want to be a character, he could be anything. In The Shaukeens, I did a cameo. Even that was enjoyable as the character was funny.

What is it that makes you look forward and keeps you motivated when you come to work everyday?

I keep the greed to do better everyday alive. Before I start shooting a new film, there’s excitement as to when it will start. For Brothers, I have lost about 10 kilos.  Siddharth Malhotra who plays my brother, is supposed to look bulked up so he has gained 10 kilos. As his brother, my character requires me to look weaker than him. So you will see me leaner, sporting an athletic body in that film.

In today’s date, star power has taken over characters.

I don’t care about star power. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Many people ask me why I act in four films every year as compared to one or two films like others. Ever since I began acting, I have been doing as many films. I take the most amount of holidays. Every three months, I take eight days off. Every year, I take a one-and-a-half month long holiday and yet I have so much time. When I am shooting, I follow a discipline, I go to the set on time, so my films complete on time.

I want to work in good films, try new things. I don’t do a film wondering if it will make Rs 100-200 crores. I want to see what my role is, whether I would enjoy watching it and whether my son will enjoy watching it. Sometimes he watches my films and tells me if he doesn’t like it.

Do you want to go away from stardom and concentrate on acting?

It’s not like I want to go away from stardom. Stardom comes from doing films where you play larger-than-life characters and which you release on bank holidays.

How different will you make Singh Is Bling from Singh Is King?

Well, the character is different. It is not a continuation of Singh Is King. Bling means… Sardars always shine bright.

What happened with Gutka that you were supposed to do with Karan Johar?

That is not happening. I don’t know why. Please ask Karan Johar.

As an actor, to what extent do you give suggestions to your directors?

If I have a suggestion, I give. It’s up to them to use it or not.

You do so many films in the comedy genre? What is the funniest thing about you?

I didn’t know that I had a funny bone in myself until I met Priyadarshan and Rajkumar Santoshi and started working with them. Initially, I was scared to attempt films in this genre. They made me realise that I can do comedy. When Amitabh Bachchan, who had an ‘angry young man’ image suddenly did comedy, people found that funny. Similarly, when Bruce Lee does a little comedy, people burst out laughing. Jackie Chan always prefers to do a little bit of comedy along with action.

You have a very different slate of films coming up – Airlift, Baby, Gabbar, Singh is Bling… Is it conscious?

I prefer to dabble in diverse films. I don’t want to become only a ‘hero’. Yes I am doing hero-like roles. So while I am doing Singh Is Bling, there are also films like Baby on the cards. I cannot keep on doing films like Rowdy Rathore all the time. I get bored easily.

How was your experience working on the television show ‘Dare 2 Dance’? It got lesser ratings than your earlier TV outing with ‘Fear Factor’. 

I think the opening was okay but it could have done much better. It had all the ingredients – dance, action. It was a little close to Fear Factor, may be that’s why it didn’t do well.

Do you see yourself going back to ‘Fear Factor’ because the seasons that you hosted always rated better than the seasons hosted by others?

To be honest, I have not been approached.

– Priyanka Jain