As Bell Bottom drops online a month after its theatrical run, Akshay says audience and industry’s love has validated his call of big-screen-first
Bell Bottom hit the marquee on August 19
He is one of the most business-savvy actors in Bollywood. But business wasn’t Akshay Kumar’s top priority when he sought a theatrical run for Bell Bottom. The superstar chose to back a larger cause instead — the revival of cinemas. In his books, the goodwill thus earned far outweighs the financial success of a film. Today, he is content in having made the right decision; after earning a respectable amount at the box office, Bell Bottom opened to positive reviews on Amazon Prime Video last week.
“The appreciation that it is garnering, makes all the hard work seem worthwhile,” begins the actor. The Ranjit M Tewari-directed spy thriller hit the marquee in mid-August amid the theatre shutdown in Maharashtra. “I was a bit disheartened because theatres hadn’t opened up everywhere, despite the 50 per cent occupancy rule. But I believe every film has its own destiny. Bell Bottom earned a lot of love and respect from the audiences as well as the industry for fronting the return of cinemas.”
Kumar had a taste of a digital premiere last year with Laxmii (2020). How does he view the OTT boom of the past one-and-a-half years? “Many films are opting for a direct-to-OTT release, so platforms are getting new films in their catalogue. Content creators have an avenue to showcase their work, in spite of Covid-19 restrictions. So, it is a win-win situation for both,” he states.
That said, Kumar and the makers of Sooryavanshi are determined to take the cinema-first route for the cop caper. It has been a long wait for Rohit Shetty’s directorial venture to hit the screens, but the actor is unperturbed. “There’s no point in being distressed. I have left the decision to Rohit and Reliance [Entertainment]. It’s as much their film as it is mine. I’m sure whatever decision they take, will be in the best interest of the film.”
Meanwhile, the actor will keep doing what he does best — churn out stories he believes in. The pandemic couldn’t slow him down as he shot for Bell Bottom, Atrangi Re, Bachchan Pandey and Raksha Bandhan. “By nature, I am someone who can’t sit idle. If my shoot gets cancelled for some reason, I schedule a meeting or a narration. Also, because of my habit of waking up early, I have the added advantage of packing in more things in a day.”