I found the idea of three old men playing tharki amusing – Akshay Kumar
Superstar Akshay Kumar plays an extended guest role in Abhishek Sharma’s The Shaukeens.
Akshay Kumar’s latest production, The Shaukeens is a remake of the 1982 Shaukeen made by Basu Bhattacharya. Whilst the older one got an A certification, the remake, written by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sai Kabir has got a U/A certificate. The actor/producer Akshay talks about his film.
What attracted you to The Shaukeens?
I had seen the original Shaukeen and we found out that the owners were ready to sell the rights for its remake. I found the base idea about three old men becoming ‘tharki’ very amusing.
I often ask people I meet if there’s any man who doesn’t turn when a good looking girl is passing by. When any beautiful girl passes by, you are bound to watch her and when you don’t watch her, you are stupid. You are hiding yourself from being a man. A man has to watch a woman who’s beautiful and then he has to compliment. That thing, in our country, is called ‘tharkpan’ and that’s what the whole cuteness was.
The original film had got an A certificate. So I was sure that we would also get an A though there isn’t anything adult in the film. To my surprise, even the Censor after seeing it realized that the three shaukeens are not lechers, they are cute. Through the entire film, they wish to see Lisa Haydon once in a bikini. I find that cute. The girl doesn’t even know that they are actually having different kind of thoughts about her.
From 1982 to 2014, the society has changed and so has Censor Board. Even then, why did you feel that the film would receive an A certificate?
No, I felt it shouldn’t get an A certificate because of the concept of three tharkis. But they were very liberal about it, they saw the film and said that there is nothing to even get worked up about and gave it a U/A certificate.
It’s not exactly a remake.
No, it is not at all like the original. Only the seed of three oldies taking off to live their lives, to do something like a bucket list, and to fulfill their desire of just touching a girl, that’s it. They will be satisfied.
Was it tough for you to play an alcoholic considering you’re a disciplined actor and were the changes a conscious image makeover?
I am playing myself – the actor Akshay Kumar. I real life I am a teetotaler and my life is quite boring, I don’t drink tea or coffee, don’t smoke or drink alcohol, nor do I do drugs or anything. So, in this character, because it is a film, you need to add a little colour to the character otherwise it becomes very plain. What’s the big deal about me playing myself? That’s why the writer, Tigmanshu Dhulia and director Abhishek Sharma thought of making him just the opposite of me. Let us make him an alcoholic with a temper. I will not take names but I know some actors who add vodka to coconut water or orange juice and people think that he is so healthy and only drinks juice. They don’t know what’s inside, I thought that was very funny, and so we decided to use that.
How did you decide the casting?
When we thought of making the film, we started getting several calls that they would like to play tharkis. Lisa was cast after the three men.
There’s a dialogue in this film where the director tells you that you only get action-oriented films (khiladiwali film hi milti hai). Is it the case in real life?
No. I get offered different kinds of films. I have done 126 films of which I have 86 hit films, other semi-hits, 100 days and flops also. So, I have had several variations of roles, whether it is Special Chhabis, Sangharsh, OMG-Oh My God! or a Khiladi or Singh Is Kinng. To play yourself and make fun of yourself was a first for me. And I thought that was so funny.
How difficult is it for an actor to make fun of himself on the big screen? Were you prepared for it?
Normally when I crack a joke, it is usually about myself. I find that if I tell you a joke about myself, you will laugh harder. That is a known fact. If I tell you a joke about a friend you might laugh but if I tell you the same thing happened to me, that makes a lot of difference.
There was a Helicopter shot which you were not allowed to shoot in Mauritius and went to Hong Kong. Did you feel scared to do that risky shot?
I have been doing stunts since childhood. You do feel scared before every stunt but I manage it. I talk to myself, I see to it that whatever stunts I do, I do them carefully, think and calculate before doing it.
In real life, what are your interests (shauk)?
I like to eat, especially sweets. I eat sweets in the afternoon, not in the night because if you eat in the day, you have the whole day to walk, etc. and it gets digested. If you eat at night, you have sugar in your body unnecessarily.
How did you finalise Holiday as that was also a character based film?
I had finalized it way back and it is a remake but I had bought the script even before the remake was made. And I really liked Murgadoss’ film.
Like Lisa’s stalker fan in the film, what has been your crazy fan experience in real life?
There have been many crazy things people do. Like one girl wasn’t allowed to come inside the studio so she slit her wrist outside and was bleeding. The security guard came in running and I had to take her to hospital. Then we came to know that she was from a good family in Lucknow and had run away from home. So we called the family, they were businessmen and didn’t even know that she had run away from home. Then we made her understand that there was no need to do such a drastic thing.
Have you been a fan of anyone that you’d go to any lengths to meet them?
No, that has not happened as yet.
How is Abhishek as a director?
He is a wonderful director. He has a very different sense of humour and I love the way he has treated the film. He has not made it a cheap or vulgar film. Women will fall in love with these three men. You will feel sorry for them and want Lisa to wear the bikini.
How did you select Abhishek, as a director?
Well, I had seen Tere Bin Laden and thought that he would be very good for this film.
– Priyanka Jain