Akshay Kumar is a fantastic actor: R Balki

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By HT

Filmmaker R Balki, who has helmed films such as Cheeni Kum, Paa and Shamitabh, believes in making powerful cinema and perhaps that’s the reason that he makes it a point to pick actors who can do justice to the stories he narrates on the big screen. All geared up for the release of his next, Padman, Balki can’t stop gushing about the film’s lead, actor Akshay Kumar.
 
The film, whose trailer released on Friday, and has been trending on social media since then, is based on the life of Tamil Nadu-based man, Arunachalam Muruganantham, who bought a revolution of sorts when he invented low- cost sanitary napkins.
 
Considering the sensitive subject, Balki is touching upon through the film, was it only wise to rope in an established star to help convey the message? “Akshay is a huge star, but more than that, he is a fantastic actor. We always keep thinking of him as a great star, but he is one of the most incredible actors because he lives the role. He showed deep conviction while bringing to screen Muruganantham’s life,” explains Balki
 
Balki asserts that Padman is not a docu-drama based on Muruganantham’s life, but an adaptation. “Of course there’s a bit of fiction in it, but for cinematic purposes, we all take liberties. But what matters is, cinematically how we deliver Muruganantham’s life and do justice to it, I don’t think anybody could have done it better than Akshay Kumar.”
 
So were there any special efforts from Akshay to try and imbibe any nuances or traits of Muruganantham? 
 
“No, Akshay has never for once done anything to copy him. Rather, he brought his own kind of skill and quality to the whole film, which is completely original. He has rightly interpreted Muruganantham’s life in a way that brings out the sensitivity in the man. What he did is incredible, and yet, the whole world is calling him mad — that bit Akshay has interpreted so intelligently and so, from the heart. He has just lived the role as if he is the man. Therefore, he has not copied the man, but interpreted him very beautifully.”
 
On whether there was any awkward moment among the cast and crew while shooting for the film, Balki clarifies that the script has nothing in it to make anyone get awkward. “There is nothing for anybody to be apprehensive about. We were very clear from the start that we want a film that a 12-year-old girl or boy can watch. They should find it cool. It’s about family audience and for them to enjoy. It’s not something that only two people can whisper in the corridors. It’s an Akshay Kumar film, so obviously families have to enjoy it.”