Interview - Aarav's sense of humour comes from Twinkle: Akshay Kumar

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It looks like Akshay Kumar is in the mood to pamper his son. How else would you explain the busy actor babysitting Aarav in Thailand, teaching him the intricacies of karate or taking him to the kitchen (in Bangkok) where he worked as a chef in his teens? The actor opens up about the equation he shares with his 12-year-old son, missing his late father, the great response from the audience to his latest project, competition from a younger set of actors and experimenting with new genres in the future.

Of late, you have been bonding a lot with Aarav. What kind of a relationship do the two of you share? Do you see traces of yourself in him?
I really want to inculcate the same qualities in Aarav that my father passed on to me. First and foremost, I have taught him to respect his elders. Like me, he is also into sports and outdoor activities. He loves the outdoors just like I do. And he has an amazing sense of humour. That, I feel, is something he has got from his mother (Twinkle Khanna).

Talking of parents, what kind of an equation did you share with your father? Do you miss him now that you are successful?
Of course, I miss my dad all the time. But I know that he’s always around me. He is watching me from somewhere and giving me his blessings. I was very close to my father. I think I made him proud when I became an actor. I remember he would often take his colleagues along to watch my films. Even today, in my heart, every day begins after I touch his feet.

Is that the reason why you agreed to do your new film that focuses on the father-son relationship?
Yes, the first thing that attracted me was the father-son relationship in the story. I always like exploring new facets of this relationship. Maybe that’s why I have done so many films (such as Waqt; 2005 and Patiala House; 2011) that focus on it. In this film, the father loves his son tremendously but he always feels that the son has wronged him. I found that aspect very challenging.

Do you feel any pressure about whether all your films will make it to the much-talked-about R100 crore club or achieve that kind of success?
It’s too early to predict anything right now (for my latest film, Boss). But how big the film will turn out to be is something only time will tell. The fact that it has been accepted and loved by the audiences is gratifying enough for now. Otherwise too, I am not worried about being in R100 crore club. My film OMG: Oh My God (2012) was not a R100 crore film but it still struck a chord with the viewers.

The film has been a big hit in single-screen theatres. Earlier, only Salman Khan’s films did well in such places. How do you feel about that?
For me, the audience is the same — be it in multiplexes or single screens. Their love and affection is the same. Boss is a desi film. But yes, I am pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming reaction. Obviously, the film connected with the people for them to have reacted in such a positive manner.

You have mastered the action, comedy and drama genres. Is there anything else you would like to explore in the future as an actor?
I would like to do all kinds of films. I want to challenge myself as an actor now. I want to do things I haven’t done before. For example, I would now like to do a full-fledged horror movie. I think that’s a big market, waiting to be tapped. But, anything I do will always have one common factor — entertainment. That is something I will make for sure.

We are seeing a heavy stream of youngsters entering the industry. Do you see them as competition?
It’s a good thing. New talent is always welcome and that’s what makes the industry grow. We make around 200 films every year. How will they work if there isn’t enough talent? And because so many films are getting made, there’s so much good work coming out of the industry. Competition is a good thing and it’s healthy too. It keeps you on your toes.