He was the action star. He is the action star and he will remain the action star. Fit as a fiddle, action titan Akshay Kumar has embarked on a new exciting journey with his forthcoming thriller Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, in which he will try AKIRU, a form of martial art.
"Action will be taken to a new level with 'Holiday', in which Akshay's physicality will be put on full display," said an insider. To take viewers through the new thrilling ride with this new style of action, the makers roped in renowned British stuntman Greg Powell, known for his work in Hollywood's super hit franchises such as Harry Potter and James Bond, to ensure that the novelty of each stunt is executed with perfection.
In fact, the makers take pride in associating with Powell for his first Bollywood project. Resting on Akshay's well-muscled shoulder, the film promises to be a refreshing break for the movie buffs, served in the recent past mostly with southern-styled stunts.
"The idea to introduce the new style was to break away from the regular action off lately seen in our films, especially the southern action being adopted in Hindi cinema. We wanted to take the scale of the action close to what we see in Hollywood and make the sequences look much more real," said the insider.
Akshay, who performs the lion's share of the stunts in the film, was so enthusiastic about trying out new things, that he first trained himself in AKIRU for the movie.
He tested each and every stunt himself. Not only that, Akshay's fitness came in handy while performing stunts. This certainly impressed Powell who swears by the actor's fitness, dedication and superb memory.
"Akshay is very dedicated to his work. He is very fit and he loves doing his own stunts. He loves doing his fights - he loves being involved in it," said the expert. He may be touted as Hindi cinema's uncrowned action king, but what impressed Powell was that despite the vast experience, Akshay believed in training and rehearsing.
From rehearsing everyday to having detailed discussions with Powell after watching the rehearsal videos, Akshay did meticulous planning before the shoots. "He is great to teach. He loves to rehearse. His memory is fantastic. In five minutes, he picks up all the moves," said Powell.
Another interesting feature of the film is that Akshay, who has donned the 'khakee' many a times on the big screen, is playing an army officer after decades.
Releasing worldwide June 6, the actioner will see the actor as Virat Bakshi, a military officer, who is on his annual holiday with his troop in his hometown Mumbai. However, Virat is also an undercover Secret Defence Intelligence Agent, skilled and trained in covert anti-terror intelligence operations.
Ghajini fame director AR Murugadoss, a name to reckon with in the action genre, went behind the camera to unleash an intelligent, high-octane, edge-of-your-seat romantic thriller, which explores the dark tangle of sleeper cells and delves into the patriotic soul of a member of the Armed Forces.
The southern filmmaker, who made inroads in Hindi movies with blockbuster "Ghajini", also tagged as the creator of the Rs.100 crore club in Bollywood, seems to have impressed Powell as well. "He is a man of few words...but he knows what he wants," said Powell and added that shooting was "quicker here than Hollywood or Europe as they get it right in the first take. The whole crew, even the catering has been very good."
The best part about the fight scenes was that they were canned without any mishap. "So far we had no incidents, no mishaps... no one had a broken nose or injured fingers. It all worked according to the plan, thank god," said Powell who had also worked on Skyfall (2012).
Powell also lauded Indian crew's professionalism. And why not? Filmmaker Vipul Amrutlal Shah has a reputation for maintaining high production values and quality in his films.
The coming together of Shah and Akshay, the team behind blockbusters like Waqt - Race Against Time, Singh is Kinng and Namastey London, is powerful enough to lure the audience to the theatre to watch how the action star pulls of the new martial arts in the film.
So this summer, audiences will be gripped with action and thought-provoking drama interspersed with romantic elements when Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty hits the screens.