After a gap of 12 years Akshay Kumar is back to his famous Khiladi franchise with Khiladi 786. TWF correspondent Sreya Basu chats up with the actor in Mumbai
As far as we know, you said you will never do a Khiladi film again. Then how did Khiladi 786 happen?
Khiladi (1992) turned out to be a huge hit. Then one film after the other were made using Khiladi in the titles and the franchise became massively successful. I even did a television reality show called Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi. And now it's Khiladi 786. I feel very good as I actually thought I might not be able to do it again as the whole idea was that I had stopped doing any kind of Khiladi series.
So, can we say it's your comeback film in a way?
Yes, you can very well call it my comeback film for Khiladi. I am doing a Khiladi film after a gap of 12 years ... the last one was Khiladi 420 (in 2000). I hope everyone enjoys it.
Is it a coincidence that your latest two films (OMG: Oh My God! and Khiladi 786) have 'divine' titles?
Yes it is. Because, there was a message in OMG but Khiladi 786 is purely an entertaining film. Here when my character says he has 786 in his hands, he means he has Bismillah written in his palms, that is, he is speaking about believing in your own self.
We have seen you in an action mode in Rowdy Rathore too. How is Khiladi 786 different?
Rowdy Rathore was a different kind of action. Khiladi 786 has elements typical to its franchise.
If you have to share the Khiladi title with some other actor in Bollywood, who will that be?
I would give away this title after about 24 years to my son (Aarav).
When you started with the Khiladi series, you were new in the industry. Now you are one of the top actors in Bollywod. Are you still passionate about doing your own stunts?
I have always done my stunts on my own ... I have never allowed anybody to do them for me. The day I won't be able to do my stunts, I will stop working in action films.
Is the film a remake?
Not at all. Khiladi 786 is not a remake ... it is an original story. It's a film full of Bollywood masala for the family audience.
Your company Hari Om Entertainment is one of the producers of the film. So is it an added pressure?
Yes it is. An actor has responsibility towards all his films. More so, when you are producing it ... you make the film, sell it ... there are distributors, exhibitors to be addressed to. It is a big responsibility to make sure the film runs well and earns profit.
Do you believe in numerology ... this is your eighth Khiladi film and that too have a sacred number in the title?
I don't know about numerology, I do believe in luck. It's 70% luck and 30% hard work. It's a strange calculation, but this is what worked for me.
Can you share one incident when the luck factor changed your life?
Luck is what has made me who I am. During my struggling days, I got an ad to shoot. It was my first assignment and I was asked to get ready to go for shooting in Bangalore. The flight was at 6.30 am but I got the time wrong and thought it was at 6.30 in the evening. I still remember he said I am too unprofessional and I will never make it to the (modeling) industry. I begged to him, cried, but he went away. You have no idea how disheartened I was. Then, that very day I was roaming around at Natraj Studio (Mumbai) with my photographs when a make-up man saw them and took me to Pramod Chakravorty saab. He told me I liked your photos very much and I would like to sign you for a film. I got my first cheque of Rs 5001 at 6.30 pm that very day.
You seem to be a Khiladi off-screen too; not only you take part in all the races in your son's (Aarav's) school, but even win them.
I have no choice because my wife (Twinkle Khanna) is a very competitive woman. Every time before a race, she tells me if you come second I will greet you very well back home. And I get the message and have to give all my strength to win the race.
What worries me is that when my daughter (Nitara), who is just a couple of months old now, will grow up and go to school, I will be 50-52 years old. And then, I will have to again run races with parents who will be in their 30s. And as usual, my wife will push me to win, and it will be a good challenge for me.
Out of your busy schedule how much time are you able to spend with your daughter?
As much I can make. I rush back home to her as soon as my shooting or press conferences or other commitments are over.