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How Akshay Kumar's 'Housefull 4' will take you on a crazy ride

How Akshay Kumars Housefull 4 will take you on a crazy ride

The actor talks about how it was working in the first Bollywood reincarnation comedy film.

By Michael Gomes

Published: Sat 26 Oct 2019, 10:04 AM

Last updated: Wed 30 Oct 2019, 6:12 PM

Akshay Kumar is all set to laugh out loud with his fans this Diwali. In latest release Housefull 4, the fourth installment in the hilarious franchise, the actor says that he and the ensemble cast are out to connect with the audience in every which way and entertain them with their on and off-screen craziness.
The Sajid Nadiadwala multi-starrer, said to be most expensive Bollywood comedy ever, features the original members of the Housefull franchise like Riteish Deshmukh, Boman Irani and Chunky Panday, besides Kumar. Joining the band of veteran pranksters are new entrants Kriti Sanon, Bobby Deol, Kriti Kharbanda and Pooja Hegde. Directed by Farhad Samji, the goofy comedy also has interesting cameos by Nawazuddin Siddqui, Rana Daggubati as well as veterans Ranjeet and Johnny Lever. Claimed to be the first ever reincarnation horror-comedy, the movie, set between 1419-2019, has Akshay Kumar in lead playing two characters - a 15th Century warrior king called Rajkumar Bala and a 21st Century NRI from London named Harry. We caught up with Kumar to know more about Housefull 4.
This is the fourth installment in the Housefull series, a rarity in Bollywood. To what do you attribute the success of this franchise? What can the audience expect this time?
Everyone likes to loosen up once in a while and have a good laugh. Some people laugh because they genuinely find it (film) funny while for others it's lame. But for us, it's a win-win as we make people laugh nevertheless. I personally feel our craziness is something the audiences have been relating to, we help bring out their lighter side and therefore get love from them. A lot of credit goes to our producer Sajid Nadiadwala, who has been a part of the franchise since its inception. He gave us full liberty to experiment with the script and to be as crazy as we wanted to be, to the extent that a lot of our off-screen humour and persona is on public display in the form of the film!
What is Housefull 4 all about?
HouseFull 4 is bigger, better and grander. Also it is probably the world's first reincarnation horror comedy (the movie is set between 1419 and 2019). It is new and it is different. We get to play two extremely different characters set in two completely different eras... they look, dress and act differently, there's scope to do so much.
How did the reincarnation idea come about?
It was the producer (Sajid Nadiadwala) and director's (Farhad Samji) idea and we all thought it was extremely innovative and never been done before. A reincarnation horror-comedy has never been attempted before, so we were all very kicked about it.
Housefull 4 is said to be the most expensive Bollywood comedy film. Do you believe comedies have the potential to draw the crowds?
Most definitely, especially during the festive season. Diwali has always seen massive releases as they are known to pull in the family audience. Housefull 4 is a family entertainer, with a little bit of everything for everyone, why wouldn't it draw in the crowds???
With a huge cast and massive production, was it difficult making Housefull 4?
In terms of making the movie, filming it per say wasn't really that difficult. It was the post production that was very time consuming. Housefull 4 has very heavy VFX (special effects) and the team had to work round the clock for months together to get the movie ready on time for a Diwali release.
How was it working with a battalion of actors on the sets? There was Bobby, Riteish, Rana, Chunky and others...
As the movie's title suggests, it was always a full-house on the sets, bursting with so much energy. It was a good experience. With Nawazuddin, I've only shared screen space in a song, it's a crazy song. Bobby and I have worked together in several films earlier, so the comfort level was always there. Without Riteish, I honestly cannot imagine this franchise, he is indispensable to the Housefull series. Rana and I again share a great rapport. As for Chunky, like in the film, he is quite a character in real life too. All of them are happy people and the good vibes automatically transcend onto the screen.
We heard it was a fun atmosphere on the sets, can you share some pranks you guys played?
With so many people in one house, it is all the more fun as you have so many more people to prank. I want to share one funny incident. We were shooting in a stable with lots of horses for a sequence in the film. I already tricked Kriti Kharbanda into believing that I know palmistry. While reading her palm, I told her, 'now you yourself will tell me your future' and before she could react, I placed horse poop on her palm and she went running around, screaming 'Sh*t! Sh*t!' I bet she's not going to get her palm read for a very very long time!
The movie spans 600 years and you play two roles; Was it easy switching between eras and characters?
Actually, we first finished filming one character and then got onto the next one. So there was no switching in between, but more like shooting for two completely different films because the look, character etc are extremely different. However, there's one funny thing in my character, my 1419 character called Rajkumar Bala is bald, while my present day character from 2019 is a barber called Harry. It's a hairy connection (laughs). 
Tell us about your dance moves in the hit song Shaitan Ka Saala and The Bala Challenge that's based on the track. It has gone viral, even Bollywood actors are joining in?
There's just one word to describe Shaitan Ka Saala song - crazy! From the time the script was narrated to me, we had decided to have a song to showcase this mad character called Bala. Ganesh Acharya choreographed it and the audiences lapped it up. Honestly, right from the song's inception, I knew it would be a rage. The dance steps are outrageous; my timeline has been overflowing with people not just from India, but even abroad. Even celebrities are trying it. So the response has been phenomenal and I couldn't be happier.
Akshay, you have cemented your position as an actor who has taken up social causes in movies like Padman, Toilet Ek Prem Katha and Mission Mangal. Housefull 4 on the other hand is a comedy. What made you get back to this genre?
Why are people saying 'come back to this genre'? I had actually never left (the genre). Comedy is something which helped me break the stereotype from action. Besides, it's (comedy) something I genuinely enjoy doing in the Housefull series. In fact, it is an internal joke between Sajid and me, whenever I need a vacation; I tell him let's make a Housefull. Soon the London shoot is fixed, and I get a paid international holiday (laughs). It's my way of having a good time, this franchise is actually my stress buster.
You are currently one of the busiest stars in Bollywood, how do you manage your professional and personal life?
It all boils down to time management. There's ample time to do everything. At the most, a film should not take more than 60 days. So even if I have four releases per year, plus taking into account additional days for promotions, I'm still left with 75 days for my family and personal life. It's all easily manageable.
Do you have any plans to work in any online series, since it's becoming very popular these days?
Yes, I am doing a series. It's tentatively titled, The End which I've signed up with Amazon Prime. We'll start filming for it early next year.
Are streaming services a threat to big screen productions?
I don't think it's a threat to big screen production houses, but more so for television production houses. But in any case, a lot of them are venturing into web series. Also rather than a threat, I would view it as a new medium with an opportunity to reach a new set of audience, which is why I decided to make my web series debut.

The ensemble cast of Housefull 4 features Riteish Deshmukh, Pooja Hegde, Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Bobby Deol, Kriti Kharbanda
The ensemble cast of Housefull 4 features Riteish Deshmukh, Pooja Hegde, Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Bobby Deol, Kriti Kharbanda

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