Akshay Kumar is considered one of the top stars in India today and the actor is currently gearing up for the release of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. The actor says that it is unreasonable to blame the ticket rates for the failure of Hindi films as Hollywood films are screened in India at the same price and still prove to be successful.
The actor is using his stardom and popularity among the masses to make a social message reach out to a large section of audience and is hopeful that his next film would break several taboo’s that exist in our society.
Kumar believes that audiences would take home a message only if it is said in the garb of entertainment and not many are interested to watch a documentary on the big screen. With just 10 days left for the release of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Akshay Kumar opens up about the film and a lot more.
You recently said that many actors rejected the script of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. What made you come on board for this film?
I don’t know why they refused it, but I liked the subject and I signed it. I don’t know what others felt about the script, but I know the fact that the script was roaming around in the industry for 4 years. It is a risky subject to talk about because it is a love story revolving around a toilet. The script was actually titled Sandas: Ek Prem Katha. I found it very intriguing that this was a real story and things like this happen. A woman has actually asked a guy to build a toilet for her. It is a big step to take for someone from a village, as even women from a city would think twice before saying this. There are about four to five women who took steps like this.
Whose decision was it to change the title of the film to Toilet: Ek Prem Katha?
It was a collective decision to call it Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and not Sandas: Ek Prem Katha.
Would this film bring about a change in the mind-set of people in India?
The film will release on 3200 to 3500 theaters. I am sure that there will be a change in the way people look at this issue. It is sad that 54% of Indian’s don’t have toilet at their house. Even if the % of people who do not have toilet reduces by 5%, I would think that my film is a success. I am not bothered about what the collection is going to be. I am bothered about the eye balls. I would love it if the producers are able to bring down the ticket rates as that would grab more eye balls.
What makes you sign a film based on a real life incident?
I find it very intriguing. When I meet those people, they give out the vibes. They make me think as to how did they do those things and I become curious to know the set of incidents that happened. When I met few people who had revolted for not having a toilet, it made me feel that this is a story that has to reach out to a wider audience. I just get intrigued and I do it. I am taking the advantage of me being an successful actor as God as given me that power. I am trying to put it (social causes) across to people.
The public toilets for women shut down at maximum places by 10 pm. How would you look at this problem that exists in India?
I don’t know. I don’t know about all the solutions. The government is doing stuff to maintain toilets in the country.
Why do you think are we as an industry failing to deliver hit films at regular interval? Are the ticket rates to be blamed for this?
I don’t know what the whole thing is. The ticket rates are the same for Hollywood as well as Regional films, so may be the content isn’t good enough? I don’t know the exact reason.
Has there been an incident wherein a fan has asked you for a picture when you are in the toilet?
Yes, that happens. A guy standing next to me in the toilet is like, ‘Sir Photo Le Lu’ and I am like ‘Abe Kaam Toh Khatam Kar Le’. That happens quite often.
Do you think we give a lot of importance to Holiday Release in Bollywood as down South, films do great business even on working days?
If I am not mistaken, they have a rule that you cannot spend more than Rs 2 crore for film publicity. They are very systematic. They hardly go anywhere, they don’t do any reality show, they don’t have many press conferences, they release the film quietly. The aura of their stars is so big, that things over there happen very organically.
When would we see you do a fun film…
(Interrupts) This is also a fun film.
I mean, fun action film like Khiladi Series?
I would love to do an action film and I am waiting for someone to come up with a script to me.
And a Masala film?
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a Masala film. It has comedy, songs, action and full on Masala. It is two and a half hour of non stop entertainment as I am not trying to preach anything. Drama takes over the comedy in last 20 minutes or so, but apart from that it is a complete comedy. What more do you want?
The movie directed by Sree Narayan Singh releases on August 11.
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