His never say 'No' attitude to work has kept him busy and experiment with new characters in every movie in his long career. Akshay Kumar's new flick Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty casts him as an intelligence agent in a world plagued by terrorism. His intention is to arouse feelings of patriotism and depict the real dangers of terrorism, he revealed.
What is the movie Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty all about?
Holiday is an intelligent thriller, based on the deadly notion of sleeper cells, which has plagued several nations and caused heinous terrorist crimes. I work as a DIA, Defence Intelligence Agent for the Indian Army. I come across a deadly terrorist plot to attack Mumbai. My character is skilful and patriotic, I've been protecting the boarders of India, but unfortunately when I return home on holiday, I get sucked into defeating the ring leader of the terror 'sleeper cell' to save the city I was born and raised in. It is a very relevant film, and it deals with an issue which very few people are aware of, however the impact of the film is very transient. With the terror issues going on left right and centre, the screen play to this film and its overall treatment has literally never been touched before in India. In that respect, this is something quite unprecedented.
What appealed to you about Holiday?
I said yes when I heard just the first half of the script from Vipul Amrutlal Shah. I was so captivated, I couldn't wait to find out what happens in the second half. I was impressed by the script and how true to life the issues it deals with are. I am proud to be part of a film which touches upon reality and the very issues we face today. This is real cinema, not fictional cinema, this is what makes this role very exciting for me. In fact, I've learnt about the field of intelligence whilst submerging myself into this role, especially given the unique concept and narrative. I've heard stories surrounding the notion of sleeper cells, the role they have played in terrorist attacks and the importance of cleaning them up to safeguard populations. This script is raw, gritty and real, and I became addicted to the plot.
What was it like working with director A.R. Murugadoss?
I was extremely honoured to work with A.R. Murugadoss. He is a very talented and skilled director. He very quickly learnt my acting style and guided me on how to give the best performance possible. I always joke that even though his height is quite short, his imagination and power is through the roof. He is a man of brains. This is a very special role for me to play as it has challenged me and has allowed me to portray a role I was very keen to get my teeth into. I truly hope that I have done the character justice for my fans.
So we hear that the action in Holiday is completely different from your past films?
Vipulji (Vipul Amrutlal Shah) is a firm believer that if you want something different then you have to go elsewhere to get it, so much so that we brought over one of the best stunt teams in the world from England, to choreograph most of the film's action sequences. Greg Powell and his team of stuntmen were, in my eyes, absolutely brilliant, from their discipline to their style, not to mention their incredible talents, it was beyond refreshing to work with them. One of my favourite sequences in the whole film is the gun fight that we shot in the old abandoned kitchens in Mumbai. There's no fancy trickery, no special effects, it's just me and the fighters, hand-to-hand combat in an enclosed environment. It was a fight like I've never shot before, hats off to the stunt team, it may not blow your mind with 'out of this world CGI', but it was never meant to, it was made to make you go 'wow!' that had to hurt, it's raw, it's real, it's how it would have been done back in the real days.