Action Man

Akshay Kumar’s Khiladi is back

Posted: 07.12.12

You’ve heard of sequels, pre-quels and trilogies…but whoever heard of a series that has eight installments? That’s exactly what Khiladi is, in fact it’s so well known that some call it a genre in itself. The man who binds the movies together is Akshay Kumar, whose first outing was in 1992 with the original Khiladi. Further flicks followed in the 90s but they came to a halt in 2002. Now 12 years later, Akshay is back with new film Khiladi 789.
We caught up with Akshay; one of Bollywood’s biggest audience pullers, to ask how he’s feeling about Khiladi number 8.  

Yay! Khiladi is back…we’ve missed him! Tell us what we can expect from Khiladi 786?
It’s a culmination of all seven previous Khiladi films in one melting pot of entertainment, comedy, drama and pure unrestrained action. It’s comedy and action personified - my fans are in for a treat!

The Khiladi movies changed your life, how does it feel to be reviving them and do you have a favourite?
It’s very difficult to choose one as each Khiladi film has been a different experience for me. All have been fun in their own ways, and I have worked with some great actors in each one.
From Khiladi to Khiladi 786 my journey has been a full circle and that circle will keep re-creating itself as there is still so much to do, so much to learn and so much to deliver to my fans. Khiladi made me believe in my work and that I could have a career in this line of work. Khiladi 786 is my gift to the millions of fans who have supported me throughout these years, through thick and thin. It’s only because of them and their solid faith in me that I have carried on, to the extent now that I am continuing the Khiladi legacy after a long time and bringing to them Khiladi 786. 

Are there any particular Khiladi memories that have stuck with you?
It would have to be one of my earlier films when I had to stand on top of a plane flying over 200ft with only my feet strapped in. I’d never felt so cold and my bones had never rattled so much, and then I had to jump on top of a flying hot air balloon, slide down the side and swing into the basket! Technically I should have been more worried about my safety; instead the director told me he only had two cameras so I only had one chance to get it right. This  suited me fine; it wasn’t a stunt I wanted to try more than once anyway! That’s probably the one stunt I would never perform again, I was lucky I got away with it the first time…  

For this role, we hear you performed one of the most dangerous stunts of your life, even worse than that one…weren’t you scared?
Me jumping off tall buildings, making the fans cry with laughter and getting the girl in the end … what more could you ask for?! I’m quite used to performing stunts for my movies, so for me it’s not that terrifying anymore. But there is also some risk involved, and so I just say a prayer and cross my fingers before I jump! My training in martial arts and my love of extreme sports also helps.

A lot of your hardcore fans prefer the action films over the more recent comedies, which do you prefer?
I enjoy doing both equally. Action and comedy are very different genres and both take a lot of preparation in their own ways. In some ways, comedy is harder because you can’t hide behind stunts, you need to just perform and hopefully make people laugh.

Who is your favourite ever female co-star and what was the best thing about working with Asin?
Fortunately, I have shared a great rapport and friendship with most of my female co-stars. Each of them have their own strengths and have been really fun to work with. Asin is extremely focused and hard-working. This is my second film with her post Housefull 2 and it’s always fun to work with her.

There are some big movies set for release over next few weeks, are you worried about the competition?
No, not really. I think we have all carved our own niche so we don’t need to worry about competition and it’s not really a competition if the film does not belong to the same genre; today there is an audience for everyone. But, having said that, as an actor you do your job with the best of your abilities and then move on to the next film, but as a producer one does have to take other things into consideration, like when is the right time to release a film etc.

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, how are she and Twinkle doing?
Thank you so much! They are both healthy and happy. I have always wanted to have a baby girl and finally the wish has come true. She is a wonder daughter and looks just like Twinkle. Has it changed me? Well, I think she brings out the sensitive side of me.

One more question…you’re always sooooo busy every time we talk to you. Do you even get time to eat..and when you do what’s your fave?
I love homemade food. I simply love my mother’s Desi Ghee Paratha! 

Khiladi 789 is released in cinemas today.

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