Bollywood's khiladi speaks about his much awaited release and the beautiful bond he shares with his family.
What was the process behind choosing a subject (sanitation), for a film? Whose idea was it?
The credit for this goes to the writers, Siddharth and Garima. They were waiting with the script for four and half years and approaching various filmmakers, but nobody selected this film. Then Neeraj Pandey got his hands on it and he came to me with the project and I was on board from that very day!
It’s an issue which affects so many close to home, so of course it’s close to my heart. I wanted the subject to be heard, creating a voice about a serious issue while using humour as its backdrop and drama as its driving force. But the secret ingredient being a genuine love story had me hooked from day one. Whatever reservations, I might have had were completely outweighed by the chance of making this into a reality for the world to witness, that India may have 3D movies but not a toilet!
Why do you think 70 years after independence India is still grappling with basic issues? Whose role is bigger in providing a solution – the government or the citizens?
We can’t expect the government to do everything alone it takes all of us to improve India, no one man’s effort or bright idea can move mountains, it’s going to take more than my movie to spark the next step, but where there’s a will there’s a way, one step followed by 10 million steps will take you to where you want to be and that’s a brighter future right there.
We came across many cute videos of you spending quality time with your family. Tell us about Akshay Kumar when he’s not on the sets acting.
I love to spend time with family and friends. It’s rewarding like you wouldn’t believe! I learnt so much more about my daughter Nitara, being able to spend 24/7 with her, not just having to take her to school. I've now seen how she handles everyday encounters. She fascinates me progressively every day. I am completely under my daughter's spell. Aarav too is the best son any parent could ask for.
I urge every working person on the planet to take time away from their jobs and spend quality time with their families. No, it doesn't ensure a stress-free life, that's a myth. But time away with your families are also the most important memories in any household.
You now have the image of being a socially conscious actor. What issues are closest to your heart and what do you feel most strongly about?
There are far too many taboo subjects in India that need to be out grown and put into perspective. This is not the Stone Age, if we can travel to the moon and back, we can provide ourselves with sanitation and a newer fresher version on how to live our lives.
These days’ celebrities are trolled extensively if they hold a viewpoint that is contrary to popular opinion. Have you ever censored yourself before expressing an opinion?
In this line of work, everything has to be a conscious decision, timed and planned just like my comedy sketches.