It all started with Baby in January 2015. Ever since then, Akshay Kumar has already scored three more releases in the form of Gabbar Is Back, Brothers and Singh Is Bliing. Now in a span of exactly 12 months, the man would have his fifth film hitting the screens – Airlift. While his contemporaries are churning out one or at maximum two films in one year, Akshay Kumar is pretty much setting a record of sorts with as many as five releases to his name.
Tirelessly moving ahead and stepping into films as diverse as Housefull 3, Robot 2 and Rustom, Akshay gets into a conversational mode.
In the times when online views of the First Look as well as the response from social media clearly defines which way the film is heading, you must be thrilled with the overwhelming start, isn’t it?
I am definitely thrilled, but I am also a very pragmatic man. It is by far a response beyond what I could have even hoped for. For that is when something really means something, when you don’t expect or demand such a response, when the people themselves respond without you thrusting it down their throats, when they make up their own mind in their own time – this is when an actor feels the warmth of his work. No matter what happens from here, whether many come to experience this journey in full force or not, at least I will know that they liked the thought of it. Now it will take not only my star power and the script itself, but the interest of the nation and its people if they really care to learn about India’s brave recent history and the strength of its people when push comes to shove.
Since the film is based on a true story, it cannot be frivolous and has to state facts as-is, with fair share of cinematic liberty in there. In that context, how much of Airlift stays true to the original plot?
To be honest with you, this is not a cinematic liberty taking film at all; in fact it is probably taken down a notch or two so the real story could shine through. Rather than making it into an Epic War Film, we wanted to provide the public with the facts as to what the Indian civilians in Kuwait went through during the Iraqi War that was inflicted on them when the Iraqis had no right to kill a race that had nothing to do with their conflict in the first place (Not that anyone has the right to kill another human, but that’s a whole other argument). This isn’t about trying to create an over-exaggerated war zone to blow people’s minds visually. Airlift is about the ‘Story’ that was never told to us, it’s NOT about the terrorized events; it’s about the savior through bad times.
Unlike Holiday, Baby or even Gabbar Is Back which required you to perform a lot of action, this one isn’t about the kicks and punches from you. How was it to be a part of some true drama?
It was actually nice to take a break from all the fighting I have performed throughout 2015! It has been a very physically brutal year on my body, though I can’t tell you enough how much I still enjoy it. But to finally play a successful rich man, even though I am rich for only 5 minutes of the film, it is my status and way of working that saves so many lives. To shoot someone else’s story, Rajput himself (God Rest His Soul) should have been made a National Hero. So to recreate his struggle and his empathy to his fellow Indians was easier for me to understand than I first thought, because in fact he did everything I would have tried to do in his position.