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I don't belong to camps, I like bungalows: Akshay Kumar

After over two decades in the industry, Akshay Kumar reveals why comedy has not got its due in Bollywood

In a quick tete-a-tete, Akshay Kumar reveals why he rues the fact that comedy is not taken too seriously in the industry and professes his undying love for dogs and other things.

Akshay Kumar with Junior, who plays the title role in his upcoming movie Entertainment
Akshay Kumar with Junior, who plays the title role in his upcoming movie Entertainment

Q. What prompted you to go on record to say Entertainment is the funniest film you have ever acted in?
A. I have done many comedy films, but I bet this is my best. Even when I was dubbing for it, I kept laughing. Also, this film has soul. I wonder why the genre of man-animal relationship is not explored in Hindi cinema.

The last movie in this genre was 21 years ago when Govinda bonded with a monkey in Aankhen. Jackie (Shroff) shared a rapport with a dog in Teri Meherbaniyan two decades ago.

After reading the script, I kept thinking of all the films made in this genre and realised that each of them was a hit. Even in Hollywood, movies in which animals have had pivotal roles have been hits.

So I was very keen to do this film. I read Sajid-Farhad’s script and pushed them to direct the movie since they knew the script so well.

Q. How tough or easy it is to shoot with an animal?
A. I have three dogs and I absolutely love them. I was gifted a Pariah dog, Lucky, when I was a six-year-old. When my son Aarav was born, and he came home from the hospital, I gifted him a pup, our German Shepherd Okee. I truly believe that every baby should grow up with a dog around.

A dog teaches good qualities such as loyalty, respect, how to listen to people and unconditional love. When my daughter Nitara was born, I got her a dog too. You have to watch a dog to see how it behaves with a baby and how it treats the baby as its master. I realised that you have to have a lot of patience when shooting with a dog.

Q. Comic roles are not taken too seriously...
A. Unfortunately only in this industry comedy roles are considered the easiest. Even at award ceremonies they give awards such as best hero in a comic role.

Why is that distinction made? Why can’t it be just Best Hero? We don’t give awards like Best Hero in a tragic role or Best Role in a horror role, then why is comedy not really given its due? If your performance is good, how does it matter which genre the film belongs to? Comedy is the toughest thing to do.

If I laugh, it is not necessary that you will laugh with me. The industry should realise that comedy is the biggest challenge for any actor. Not everyone can do it. People connect with you faster if you are good with comedy. Only so-called intellectuals don’t seem to connect with you. They say, ‘comedy toh theek hai, acting kahan hai?’

Q. You mean critics?
A. No no, I read all reviews and only a few critics make sense. Some don’t as they belong to certain camps and they would give four stars to a film even if they haven’t watched it. I have never belonged to any camps. I don’t like camps, I love bungalows.

Why be in a camp where very few people can stay? (laughs). Rehna hai toh bangle me raho (If you want to stay, then stay in a bungalow). After 24 years in the industry, I am still the same person. I still don’t drink tea and coffee and I still come on time.

Surviving here is not rocket science. You sincerely work for the producer who has given you an opportunity to work and things keep moving. If you start getting egoistic, things go for a toss. I am the only actor who works with everyone.

I hate the fact that people restrict others and lay down conditions such as ‘you have to do three films with me or I will lodge a police case against you…’ I don’t believe in that. I have a different mindset.

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