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Akshay Kumar: I won't get desperate and compromise for awards

In a candid chat with hitlist, Akshay Kumar talks about choosing the right roles, leading a disciplined lifestyle and luck playing a huge role in his life

Although looking frail and tired — he lost eight kg in the last three months to get rid of the weight that he had gained for 'Gabbar' — Akshay Kumar's eyes gleam while talking about the rave reviews that his last release 'Baby' has received. The always so down-to-earth star talks about how luck played a huge role in his life and how he still won't compromise to get an award. Excerpts from an interview:

Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar

Q: One of those rare occasions when your film has got critical acclaim. 'Baby' is also doing well at the box office.
Akshay Kumar (laughing): It's the first time that a film of mine has been given four-and-a-half and five stars by critics. I don't know whether I will get awards for my performance, but I am sure about being nominated. It's been two weeks since the movie released and I am still getting messages about people appreciating it. It's a really nice feeling when you and the people associated with a movie are happy. The entire credit goes to the director of the film, Neeraj Pandey. The director truly is the captain of the ship.

Q: Are you expecting awards for your performance?
AK: Milta hai achcha hai (It will be nice if I get it). If the award process is fair, then why not? Awards do make sense. But I won't get desperate and compromise to get them. In the past, there have been times when I was asked to perform at an event and slash my price by half to receive an award, but I categorically told them that they give me the entire amount and keep the award. These things happen. You and I know about it.

Q: One must give you credit for mostly choosing the right kind of roles over the last few years.
AK: I have always done that, right from my 'Sangharsh' days. Just that sometimes it doesn't work. I make a conscious effort to choose roles which are not only commercial viable, but also have substance. For instance, I am now going to start shooting for 'Airlift' from 25th of this month and I am truly excited about it. For 12 years of my career since I started, I just concentrated on making money, so I did every movie that came my way. Once I was happy with my bank balance, I started doing films which gave me happiness and made me want to go on the sets.

Q. Tell us about 'Airlift'.
AK: The film is about India's air evacuation exercise when Saddam Hussain attacked Kuwait. There were about 1,48,000 Indians in the country and the Indian army went to the war zone and evacuated all of them within a period of six days. This event was a record of sorts and finds a mention in The Guinness Book of World Records. You have to watch it to believe it.

Q: Your other film 'Gabbar' is ready, so why is the release delayed?
AK: We are releasing it on May 1. In the film, I play a vigilante officer who fights corruption in his unique way. The issue is that my films complete on time however we wait for suitable dates so that there is at least a three-month gap between two of my releases. I will finish shooting for 'Brothers' in next 10 days. I believe that if you put in decent working hours on any project, you can finish the film in 65-70 days. I don't work all the time. I take Sunday off, work for half a day on Saturday and take many holidays in between,but it's all about discipline. One just needs to jot down what they want to get done on a particular day and stick to it. Just don't be lazy.

Q: Agreed. Discipline has played a major role in your success.
AK: You have seen me from the initial days. I have been so lucky.

Q: Luck only played a part.
AK: I must admit the credit also goes to the fact that I never give up. I have faced many failures and more often than not, things have not gone as I wished they would, but I continued working. I think luck played a huge role in my life. People might argue otherwise, but it's a fact. Even today when I walk into a studio I see actors with better looks, dancing skills and physique, struggling but I still have so much work and they don't.  

Q: Are you part of the new season of Masterchef?
AK: No. I have not been approached.  

Q:  'Baby' is not part of the Rs 100 crore club yet.
AK: It will take time. See it is a two hour 35 minute long film with no songs. It is not a typical commercial film. So it will take time.

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