A chat with Akshay Kumar, Siddharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez
You are one of the mega stars in the Bollywood industry. Do you feel a sort of responsibility when it comes to launching new talent in Bollywood?
Akshay: I have worked with a lot of new directors and new talent. I have also worked with a lot of new actors and have been very supportive. I have worked with almost 16-17 new directors till now. So I understand if someone comes to me and asks for work, I can guess what is going on in their mind because that happened with me too. So I am always there for the people who need help.
You’re almost 48 years old and have been in the industry for two and a half decades… how do you still manage to look so good?
Akshay: First of all, thank you for your kind words – it really inspires me to keep on working very hard. Another thing which I want to say is that don’t take your work so seriously that you forget to smile, forget to laugh and forget to joke around. I have done many serious films, but behind the scenes I was always laughing, smiling and that has always been my motto – work should be your passion and you should enjoy your work. That will only happen if you smile and laugh.
Siddharth: While we were shooting Brothers, there were some really sad scenes and some very intense and serious ones, but jaise hi ‘Cut’ hotatha, we’d see Akshay cracking a Punjabi joke. Especially for a young actor like me to see how one can reach that level of stardom and yet enjoy what’s happening in front of the camera, and enjoy their whole day while in front of the camera; I think that’s one of the main reasons why he (Akshay) looks so fit and young at this age too, which is really commendable.
Having been an action hero for decades, how difficult was Brothers for you? Have you taken any kind of special training for the film?
Akshay: Siddharth and I trained for 5 months. In fact, Siddharth was completely focussed on the training sessions. It’s not like if you simply know the martial arts, you can directly go for shooting; you actually have to keep working on it to make it better day by day. And what difference you can make as far as your audience is concerned; they are so used to it by now. The audience watches Hollywood films and they have amazing action scenes. Who are we competing with? We are competing with them. Also Hollywood puts in a great deal of money in comparison to what we put, but we are also doing great work
Did you always want to be an actor?
Akshay: I used to learn martial arts, but acting and modelling just happened. I think it was all destined.
Which is your favourite genre?
Akshay: I love comedy.
Do you have any dream role?
Akshay: At this point, I would love to do a horror comedy – just like Bhool Bhulaiyaa.
You have played an action role in EkVillian before. What can you tell us about your experience working with the king of action himself?
Siddharth: It’s a very different action film, not like Ek Villain. I was very nervous when I heard that I had to do action sequences with Akshay. We’ve been seeing him do action scenes for the past 2 decades, so I was afraid of sharing the same screen with him – and that too in an action film. But I motivated myself to play this challenging role and hence trained rigorously for 4-5 months.
You both are from a modelling background before your entry into films. What is the difference between both the professions?
Siddharth: The film industry is more challenging. In acting we have to use all our senses, body, voice and expressions, which are not really required in modelling.
Jacqueline: I feel it was a good training though. I think that I picked up a lot from modelling because at the end of the day, it is the medium that is all about inhibition, about knowing your body and your confidence and these are things which an actor requires.
Do you think that it is a good medium to enter into the film industry?
Jacqueline: Like I said, it helped me in my first film. When I first faced the camera, I don’t know what I would’ve done and it was still very intimidating, even though in my modelling days I was in front of the camera all the time. But you have a certain idea – like you know your angles, you know what to do, you have a little bit of confidence and you know what it’s like to be in front of the camera. So it did teach me quite a bit.
You have grown up in Bahrain and Sri Lanka. So what cultural, societal and the linguistic challenges did you face?
Jacqueline: Moving to India was challenging because I don’t have any family here and I am a complete foreigner. But I’ve never felt even for a second that I am a foreigner here – I think people and the industry have been very kind to me and I am glad that destiny has brought me here.