By Ninder Kaur
He is the highest paid actor in Bollywood that has completed 25 years in the film industry.
He is known for giving the audience a good mix of commercial comedy-action and message-driven films and now Akshay Kumar returns to his roots in his brand new movie Brothers. In the new movie, we see the 47- year-old actor play a mixed-martial artist, which was his background before he got into films.
Here is what Bollywood’s leading actor had to say about his latest film release.
The trailer for the film has already had a great response with over 6 million views on YouTube. Tell us a bit about the film and your character? What can fans expect?
Well, it’s about two brothers at war and I play the character of a school teacher who teaches Physics and Chemistry. He used to be Mixed Martial Artist who would fight on the streets for money. Mixed Martial Arts is a very dangerous profession and due to monetary issues, my character faces he has no choice but to go back to the streets to flight in a professional tournament. Whilst the film is about street fighting, there’s a reason to why the fighting happens in the first place which is the crux of the story.
This movie is very close to my heart, it means a lot to me, especially because it is a movie about Martial Arts, which makes it even more important for me. The movie is releasing in August this year, which also coincides with me completing 25 years in the film industry and it means so much to me that this happens to be a movie about Martial Arts commemorating the accomplishment of my 25 years, when it’s because of my martial arts background that got me into the film industry in the first place. I’m literally going full circles.
Why should people go watch the movie?
I would just like to tell my fans how much it means to me to make a movie that they like. I really hope all my fans like Brothers. I would also like to tell them that the movie took about one whole year to make, we literally put our blood, sweat and tears into the making. The climax of the movie took about 52 days to shoot, just to get it perfect for the audience. All the fans across the globe should watch this movie on the big screen, watch it with your family and loved ones, do not watch pirated versions of it, as we poured out our sweat and blood into this movie.
The film is scheduled to release on Independence Day, is there a message in the film that relates to it?
No, no, there are no patriotic messages, the movie is not related to the Independence Day and it does not end with me waving a flag.
You are Bollywood’s authentic action hero. How does it feel to be described as that?
Humbling! If it wasn’t for the love and support of my fans globally I wouldn’t be here today
What was it like working with the cast and crew?
We had a great time on set. Sidharth, me and even our director Karan Malhotra are Punjabi! We spoke in Punjabi all the time to the degree the film should have been called Prah (Brothers in Punjabi). Haha.
You already have a great physique but was it hard training for this martial arts movie?
Despite being a professional martial artists, I underwent a 6 month intense and gruelling work-out followed by practicing different fighting styles like Judo, Karate, Kyudo, Aikido and other Mixed Martial Arts. But besides all the fighting, there’s also a poignant love story at the heart of the film which we find out later is the main reason why my character goes on to become a street MMA fighter.
Mixed Martial Arts is a dangerous practice that could result in injuries and loss of life. Even during filming we would end up with abdominal injuries and smacks on our face but overall it was important for the role to look realistic and conditioning for us actors to make the movie as real as possible.
Did you face any challenges whilst playing your character?
The most challenging part was fighting like a professional MMA fighter, learning from the best and then trying to catch up with their fighting techniques! But I thoroughly enjoyed it as my teachers are from everywhere around the world – from Brazil, LA, Bangkok and Japan – they are true MMA fighters. It was an honour to learn from the best.
As part of our training programme I had to lose up to 16 Kg’s and Sidharth Malhotra had to gain 13 Kg’s in weight!
Whilst fighting was a major physical challenge, we also had to face a lot of mental challenge. A very high level of mental attention is required to remember your punches and every move.
Would you every consider cracking Hollywood?
Right now I am happy with what I am doing. But who knows what the future has in store for me?
What do you think about the Bollywood film industry, should they come up with their own ideas because obviously this movie is a remake of the 2011 Hollywood flick ‘Warrior?
I wouldn’t really compare the two movies to be honest as we probably can’t make it better than the original but we gave it all we could. Let’s see what the audience says.
What’s next for you?
My focus is on the release of Brothers. After that I have Singh is Blinng coming out on the 2nd October and then Airlift in January 2016. In Singh is Blinng, I play a larger than life character, something I haven’t done in a couple of years since Rowdy Rathore. My films have been pretty serious with Gabbar, Baby, Special 24. I’m really excited about Airlift as it is a story about Saddam Hussein’s attack on Kuwait.
Brothers releases internationally on 14th August 2015.