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    Salman great to work with: Akshay Kumar

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Monday, August 02, 2004
    Salman Khan is a great person to work with and never interferes with others'' scenes or dialogues or tries to muscle into co-actors characters, says Bollywood hunk Akshay Kumar.

    Before he teamed up with Salman for the first time, Akshay was "warned" about how difficult he can be and so "I was on my guard" while shooting for "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" but did not face any problems.

    The action hero says he is happy enacting comic roles, and declared: "Even my most critically acclaimed performance in ''Khakee'' was a comic role.

    "I love making people laugh all the time. I love a joke, specially when it''s on me," Akshay Kumaar told IANS in an interview.

    But he would not like any particular film to be dubbed "more exciting" than the rest, and says he is proud of all the films he has done.

    And no, there is no real-life romance with "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" heroine Priyanka Chopra. The actor scoffed rumors about this, saying he was a happily married man with a child.

    Why's "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" looking more exciting than your other recent releases?

    That's a terrible question! You're making my other films look bad. I'm equally proud of all my films. And if "Khakee" or "Aan" didn't work that well it doesn't mean they were bad films.

    There could be various reasons for (a film's) failure, like too many films on the same theme, or wrong release. In "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" everything seems perfect, specially the chemistry between Salman and me. We're together for the first time and audiences seem to find our combination interesting. I certainly enjoyed shooting with Salman.

    Let's hope the audience feels the same way.

    Was Salman difficult to work with?

    Not at all! In fact, after being warned about how difficult he was, I was on my guard. Let's not forget, Salman has worked repeatedly with producer Sajid Nadiadwala and director David Dhawan. So I could've been the odd one out. But Salman and I got along like a house on fire from Day 1.

    I had a great time working with him. In the script, we had our own individual space and purpose. He never interfered with my scenes or dialogues, or tried to muscle into my character. I never realized when the shooting started and when it ended.

    Did you enjoy doing another comedy?

    Oh yes! I love a joke, especially when it's on me. Even my most critically acclaimed performance in "Khakee" was a comic role. I love making people laugh all the time. Whether it's "Awara Paagal Deewana" or "Hera Pheri", I've always enjoyed doing comedies.

    One of my favorite films is "Mr and Mrs Khiladi" and that was directed by David. I came to "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" with a very positive attitude. If I didn't come with an open mind I wouldn't be able to perform properly. I've never believed in being a part of any one group or camp. People wonder how I could be so comfortable in a set-up where the director (David Dhawan) and my co-star (Salman) were such close friends.

    Very honestly, not for a second did I feel I was the outsider. I was very happy with my role.

    How would you describe your role in "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi"?

    If you believe in astrology then I play 'Shani' (Saturn). I create all kinds of problems in Salman's life. Come to think of it, we're like Tom and Jerry in the film. I harass him all the time. We may argue throughout the film, but we're so comfortable as co-actors. If "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" clicks I'd have another male co-star to work with in other films. I made such a hit 'jodi' (combination) with Suniel (Shetty) and Saif. Likewise, there's something special about me and Salman.

    And what's all the gossip about Priyanka Chopra?

    We've made a successful pair in "Andaaz". So we signed some more films together. Beyond that, let's not read meanings into our working relationship. I've a beautiful wife and a lovely son. I don't want to even think about anything except my work. Priyanka is a very hard working co-star. In "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" she's done a wonderful job. We're also doing Vipul Shah's "Waqt", Abbas-Mustan's "Aetraaz" and Suneel Darshan's "Barsaat".

    In fact, she plays very contrasting roles in "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" and "Aetraaz".

    In what way?

    "Aetraaz" is based on the life of a basketball player Cobi Brian. He was sued for sexual harassment. This film is going to create a new kind of mainstream genre. Earlier, I had done a film on another bold theme -- wife-swapping -- with the same directors Abbas-Mustan. I even won my first award for it.

    Priyanka and I will shock audiences in "Aetraaz". For now, we're very comfortable in a nice wholesome family film like "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi". I don't know how to describe the film except as 'paisa vasool' (value for money).


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