Actor Akshay Kumar will soon be seen in Aanand L Rai’s directorial Raksha Bandhan. The film will be his third big-budget release this year. Besides a few exceptions, the box office hasn’t scored much in terms of numbers.
While the discussion around actors’ pay cuts have already started as a slew of Hindi films failed to find audience in theatres, Akshay, who is known for finishing shoots in minimum time, highlights that every film’s writer should be treated financially well before investing in the salaries of others.
In an interview with Times of India, when asked about his opinion of the need of actors taking pay cuts and if he would ever do that, Akshay said that the ‘monetary aspect of cinema should first be aimed at the film’s writer’, calling them the most important person on the project. The actor called dialogue and script of a film its most important aspect while accepting that the writers are still not given their due importance in the industry. He said after the writers, the most important people in the film crew are the director, the technicians and finally the actors.”
Akshay has been under fire ever since his last two releases, Samrat Prithviraj and Bachchan Paandey, failed to perform well at the box office. After the Samrat Prithviraj debacle, it was speculated that the actor who does 3-4 films a year lacks commitment to each project. Dismissing such claims, Akshay said that he is committed to finishing a film in time, hence causing minimal financial burden. He added that people are bothered by the lack of big box office numbers and believe that things need to be changed. He said he has been told to do less work right through his career, especially during his early days. “People used to ask me why I work on four films in a year. They have always asked me to slow down and ease out on the number of films I act in or produce,” he said.
The actor also subtly credits himself for bringing about a change in the working environment in Bollywood. Talking about his style of working, he said he takes the maximum number of holidays for any individual in the film industry. He doesn’t work on Sundays, and only half day on Saturday. Akshay said that Aanand L Rai told him that his work culture has changed the director’s very perception of working. “I spend only 8 hours on a film set in the day, but I don’t spend a single minute of those 8 hours in a vanity van. I am always standing on the floor of the movie set. My 8 hours are equal to 14-15 hours of any other star. That’s my commitment to the movies,” he says.