Akshay's a proud Punjabi boy

FAME IS fleeting. But not for Akshay Kumar. Just when critics think they are ready to write the actor off, he comes crashing through, surprising one and all. Akshay's latest surprise comes in the form of Namastey London...



By N Anandhi (Contributor)

Published: Thu 5 Apr 2007, 11:25 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:46 PM

his second film with the stunning Katrina Kaif. The two have repeated the magic they created in Humko Deewana Kar Gaye.

Revealing that certain situations in the film resemble some real-life situations a friend of his had to face when he was set up with a girl born and brought up abroad, Akshay says: "Being from Ludhiana in Punjab, my friend had to face some situations that are in the film. My character in the film takes pride in his culture and heads for London to prove a point. So, it's not just a film, it's an attitude."

Akshay never fails to appreciate how much love fans abroad have for Bollywood actors. That is why, shooting in London was also a pleasure, says the Mr Khiladi. "People there are so friendly and it feels like a second home because it has so many Indians."

What does Akshay feel about NRI kids like the character portrayed by Katrina in the film? So far, they have been depicted as confused people, torn between their upbringing and their roots. "All I can say is that they are not comfortable in their own skin. They don't know where they belong. We have made an attempt through this film to tell such people it's cool to be an Indian.

Foreigners are trying to find themselves in India though meditation and yoga. "Isn't that enough reason why they should be proud of being Indians?" asks Akshay. Which brings us to the next question. Akshay lives in a westernized society, a culture cauldron called Mumbai. How much of his Punjabi-ness does he retain? "Hundred per cent! I haven't forgotten my Punjabi roots and am not likely to. I'm proud of my background." How does this essence express itself? "Mainly in my language. In an excited state, I unconscientiously start speaking in Punjabi. My friends joke that they can't take Punjab out of me even if they have taken me out of Punjab," he smiles his signature toothy smile. And the blond hair he sported in Namastey London is Punjabi too? "Well, Bollywood's most famous Punjabi Dharmendra sported the same hair colour in the song Main Jat Yamla. Punjabi men want to retain their essence and add some extras too. They believe that's the way to look cool. In one of the promo shots of Namastey London, I am wearing a pink kurta and jeans, listening to music on an iPod and riding a bike. That's a quintessential Punjabi dude for you."

To complete the picture, Akshay milked a cow in the movie too. "I used to do that when as a kid I visited Punjab. It was fun!" Akshay says, ignoring our turned-up noses.

Given Akshay's passion for the subject of the film, one wonders if he participated in the behind-the-scene work as well. Did he? "Director Vipul (Shah) did allow me to mould the character the way I wanted to. I gave some suggestions and added the subtle nuances that characterize a Punjabi man." The two share a history, with Vipul's earlier films Aankhen and Waqt starring Akshay.

According to the actor, the director gives him different characters to play and so, offers something new every time. "He avoids comfort zones and takes risks," says Akshay. He's all praises for co-star Katrina too. "The way she has created her niche here despite being an NRI is commendable. She's doing well and has potential," he offers magnanimously.

Is puttar Aarav daddy's fan too? "I hope I'm his real life hero (laughs). But he doesn't watch Hindi flicks. He's more of an animation kind of guy. Not that he's missing much by not watching my films." We disagree. He probably is. Maybe he can make it up by watching daddy in the Thums Up commercial, where Akshay dons his action garb after a long time. Originally an action hero, Akshay has now mastered the art of comedy. "I was missing doing action and so told the creative team to work on that aspect. They did and incorporated Yamazaki, a Japanese style of karate. It took me 15 whole days to get it right." But get it right he did and liked it so much that he decided to make it a part of his life. Once a khiladi, always a khiladi.


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