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Films reflecting govt initiatives coincidental: Akshay

From his style of eating mangoes to doing films closely reflecting Modi government’s pet projects, Bollywood star Akshay Kumar on Tuesday faced a number of questions, ranging from interesting to bizarre, at a press event of his latest film “Mission Mangal” here.

A journalist asked about the trend on social media about the connection between the films he was doing and the projects that were being implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But before he could reply, another question came his way, asking about his role in (the revoking of) Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Let me first answer the lady’s question,” Akshay said but was interrupted a second time with a question alluding to his interview with Modi in April.

“Please also tell us how you eat mangoes,” the journalist asked.

“I’ll tell you,” Akshay said as he proceeded to answer the first question.

“Modi sir did Swachh Bharat in 2014, ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ came in 2017. So, you are wrong,” he said. The Chandrayaan project has been in development since 2015 and we started shooting ‘Mission Mangal’ in December 2018. So, even that is not possible. This is all coincidental,” the actor said.

“ISRO was established on August 15, 1969 and it is coincidental that our film is releasing on the 50th anniversary of its formation. I got to know about a few months ago. About ‘Kesari’, it is a film set in 1897 on a real-life event in which we were attacked, we didn’t attack anyone. This has got nothing to do with what you’re saying,” he added.

Akshay refuted reports that he was in on a project based on National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

When asked again about Article 370 and the controversy over singer Mika’s performance in Karachi amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan, Akshay said,”I don’t want to comment on all these things.”

“I wanted to talk about my film, not politics. But out of 13 questions, 10 have nothing to do with my film. I would request you with folded hands to please talk about the film because we have ‘Mission Mangal’ (standees) behind, not Article 370,” he added.

The star, who has been releasing his films during the Independence Day week for some time, also brushed off the tag of being a new era Manoj Kumar, saying, “You would strip me off this label or any other tag when my next film ‘Housefull 4’ comes out.”

There was also curious about his political plunge and the actor did not completely dismiss the question, saying, “Abhi nahin aa raha (not right now).”

His movie “Padman” won the National Award for best film on social issues last week but the actor said awards don’t influence his film choices.

“If the film had not won the National Award, I still would have had the motivation to do it. I will keep doing such films if I feel it is right for my production,” he said.

Akshay also spoke about the water crisis in the country and said he would love to highlight the issue through cinema if there was a good script.

“The entire country is struggling with a water crisis. Recently, 18 states were said to be suffering from lack of water. I hope they (the government) do something about it. I was recently in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the water is very less there too. There are so many techniques like rainwater harvesting. If there will be a good script, I’ll definitely do a film on this (crisis),” he added.

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