Aanand L. Rai: Akshay Kumar is misleading people with his ‘40-45 day shoot’ talk

Questioned by some over wrapping up his films too soon, Raksha Bandhan director stoutly defends his leading actor’s practice of winding up film shoots in quick time.

By Mayur Lookhar

Akshay Kumar (l) with director Aanand L. Rai (R) during Raksha Bandhan [2022] song launch in Mumbai on 29 June, 2022.

The post mortem of Samrat Prithviraj [2022] hasn’t been kind to super star Akshay Kumar. Various reviews have been critical of the film’s leading cast – Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chhillar. The reviews were fine, but media, social media has been abuzz with tales that producer Aditya Chopra wasn’t happy with the dedication rather the lack of it by Kumar, who reportedly even refused to grow a real moustache. Mind you, there is nothing official here. All this talk is pure gossip.

During the trailer launch of Samrat Prithviraj [2022], Kumar had disclosed about wrapping up the film in 42 days. Kumar’s known to be a strict disciplinarian who likes to wrap up his films in the stipulated time. Usually, the actor takes a month to wind up a film. In the past, Kumar has spoken about how he’s not an actor who will live and breathe his character for several months. 

During the song launch of his film Raksha Bandhan today [29 June], Kumar was cheekily asked on how many days he wrapped up this film? Kumar looked to  Aanand L. Rai and parried the question to his director.

“How do I calculate this? You [journalist] tell me? He [Kumar] will simply say that he finished a film in 40-45 days but I think his calculation is all wrong. He’s deliberately misled people by repeatedly saying this,” said Rai. The filmmaker then waxed lyrical of the actor’s discipline and dedication.

“You should ask 40-45 days of what kind? Those days when he reported to the sets at 6.30 am and didn’t leave till work is finished. Producers ask him for 40 days, but effectively all that effort amounts to 80-90 days of work, if you calculate by the time he spends each day,” disclosed Rai.

The journalist then reminded Kumar of R. Madhavan’s recent comment where the actor opined that it is not possible to shoot a good film in 40-45 days. The journalist then cited the example of South Indian hit films like Pushpa [2021], RRR [2022] which took long to make.

“What should I say? My films wind up in 40 days. What can I do? Director tells me my work is over, go home. Now should I fight with the director over it?” quipped Kumar.

Anand L. Rai chipped in again saying, “When he has some free time, we ask him to play Ludo. And we do get such time with him.”

Raksha Bandhan is set to be released on 11 August.

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