Akshay Kumar: Bearing a child and raising it should be a collective effort

By Neeru Saluja

He’s the actor with the midas touch. With 11 hits in a row since his film Airlift in 2016, the superstar and the box office love each other.

Be it the action ”˜Khiladi’ hero, comic ”˜Singh’ who is the king, the romantic gentleman, leading the laughter house with all the Housefulls, or the Pad Man talking about social issues, actor Akshay Kumar is one of the busiest actors of Bollywood who is able to strike a perfect balance between entertainment and social awareness.

As he is about to complete 30 years of his glorious Bollywood career, the versatile actor is closing 2019 on a witty note with his comedy ”˜Good Newwz’ released by Zee Studios. Based on a journey of two families undergoing IVF treatment, he is accompanied on this bumpy ride with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani.

We got a chance to interview the self-made actor where he talks about his next release, the stigma of IVF and why he always strikes good luck with clean comedy.

You have been unstoppable in 2019, starting off with Kesari and now finishing off the year with Good Newwz. What good news will the film bring?

For us, the best news would be getting the audience to cinemas and them walking out loving every minute of what they have seen! We have had such an amazing response to all the units released till now ”“ from the trailers to the songs Chandigarh Mein, Sauda, Maana Dil and Lal Gharara ”“ and I am so thankful to our fans. Good Newwz is high on content, it’s a new and interesting concept and luckily for us, the audience is welcoming such subjects. So hopefully it will be good news at the box office as well (everything crossed).  

Your fans are also excited to see you back with Kareena Kapoor. Tell us about a few fun moments on the sets.

I know fans have been waiting for us to reunite and this film couldn’t be more perfect for both of us right now! Bebo is fabulous at everything she does – even when she goofs up she’s enigmatic. With one click from the Clap board she switches from Mummy, Friend and Co-star into a professional Queen of cinema. Absolutely love working with Bebo and I know fans will see that on screens in Good Newwz🙂

We also heard that you were running high fever while performing the song ”˜Chandigarh Mein’ but still continued due to the energy of the song. What’s the secret behind your energetic self that makes you an excellent performer?

Yes, unfortunately I was quite unwell during the song shoot of Chandigarh Mein but we had mounted a huge, glamorous set, all the combination dates of all the actors were in place, and we were chasing a deadline as the song video had to be released so it wouldn’t have been professional on my part to cancel at the last minute. The crew was considerate enough to let me go at my pace. So I just pushed myself a little more than usual and it all worked out 🙂

Good Newwz will be your second comedy for this year after a string of films that have talked about social issues. What message does this film talk about?

Whilst Good Newwz is essentially good wholesome entertainment and comedy, the film has several underlying themes, emotions and issues that it deals with. The message that Good Newwz is presenting is refreshingly different. Sadly, there are still several taboos associated with child birth and pregnancy. I would just say that IVF, surrogacy, adoption are all amazing and incredible ways of giving and creating life for others. There’s so much that can be done nowadays that this film I pray gives hope to those that not only need it, but can lean on when the time is right. Women definitely do the hard work of bearing the child in their womb for nine long months and harbouring the physical and mental pain associated with pregnancy. But in Good Newwz we show that the men also need to step up and remember the process of bearing the child to raising is a collective effort.

Our film may be based on a real Goof Up, which of course happens across all fields of science and humans, but we have incorporated it to bring humour to an otherwise stressful situation. But what’s more important is the awareness of films like Good Newwz that shows such miracles that matter – at the end of the day, regardless of the trials and tribulations, it’s about the birth of Life, which we have delicately or be it humorously portrayed in our film.

IVF is still a hidden topic in India ”“ what’s the reason behind it?

I think it’s a societal problem, if a couple is not able to have children, it is considered an issue. Also some may feel ashamed to admit they’re having issues conceiving naturally and using the help of technology. It’s a mind-set problem more than anything and I hope with time it gets better. I also hope a film like Good Newwz can at the very least be a conversation starter.

You have acted in so many comedy films and have always been successful in not bringing cheap comedy to your audience. What are the ingredients of a good comedy script?

I think the key ingredients would be comic timing and actually being in splits yourself when you’re reading a script. Sometimes the situation itself is so absurd it ends up being funny and if you have great dialogues along with good comic timing, it’s a home run.

Which news is next after Good Newwz?

Well, speaking about other upcoming projects, in 2020 I have Sooryavanshi directed by Rohit Shetty, followed by Laxmmi Bomb which is a first of a kind comedy-horror for me, and then I will be assaying the role of the fearless leader ”˜Prithviraj’, whilst making Bachchan Pandey and Bell Bottom.

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