How would you describe your latest film Khiladi 786?
Basically, Khiladi 786 is a commercial film which has action, music, dance, story, screenplay, dialogues and everything that audience expect! I play the role of Bahattar Singh in the film. Raj Babbar plays the role of my father Sattar Singh while Mukesh Rishi plays my uncle Ikhattar Singh.
Why the title of your film is Khiladi 786?
The hero of the film is a larger-than-life character and so I suggested that since I am referred to as Khiladi, and the character wears lucky number '786' on my hands, Khiladi 786 would be the most apt title for the masala entertainer.
Is it true that Himesh Reshammiya wanted the title to be Punjabi Rajanikant?
Himesh Reshammiya,who has scripted Khiladi 786 had a different title in his mind for the film, and that was Punjabi Rajinikanth, because the protagonist is a character jisko koi ek kharoch bhi nahin maar sakta. In a way, Bahattar is invincible and can do wonders, just like Rajanikanth. The only difference is that he's from the north. However, as soon as I came on board, we decided to cash in on the Khiladi franchise and keep the title as Khiladi 786.
You are now being tagged as one of Bollywood's most bankable actors. To what extent do you feel the pressure of success?
Once a film of mine releases, frankly I do not dwell too much upon its box-office performance. I am of the opinion that pressure comes as the film nears its release time. But after that if it doesn't work, I hop on to my next film. But I don't take a big hit too seriously also, because the next Friday you have to go in the same circle and you never know what will happen the next Friday. I just take it as it comes. I just work and entertain.
You made your Bollywood debut with 1991 film Saugandh and went on to acquire the tag of Khiladi Kumar for your inclination towards action. Over the years, why did you shift your focus to comedies?
After Khiladi 420, I stopped doing action movies because I got married. I just wanted to work on comedy, romance and everything. Being a father and a husband, donâ€™t you think that a man has to settle down a little bit? However, now my son has grown up, I decided that I want to go back to action. I have two kids - Aarav, 10 and daughter Nitara, who was born in September.
With Rowdy Rathore, you successfully returned to your love for action and your latest film Khiladi 786 directed by Ashish R. Mohan, with Asin as your leading lady will see you in a similar avatar once again!?
It is a great thing to return to action. It is my love. I have been in this industry because of action. I have tournaments of action. I have my own personal gyms. Action is what I am. It's because of action that I am here. In any case, over the years, why just me, the genre of action has been mixed with comedy and successfully presented to the audience through hit films like Dabangg, Ready and Rowdy Rathore.
Do you think that today's audience is eager to watch over-the-top action movies as compared to family movies like in the past?
Yes. It is absolutely true that the audience today want action. Audience wants this from me. They want over-the-top action movies. These are their demands and we have to try and give it to them. The films are made for everybody. Not only masses but classes also love this.
Can you elucidate?
Nowadays the overseas audience wants to see one actor to be a master of all - whether it is action or comedy. The past formula of having a separate comedian alongside an actor in a film is long gone. Only action doesn't work in overseas. But when you join it with comedy, it works. People want their actors to do comedy too. They don't want any comedians next to the actor. They want one solo hero and want to see everything in him.
Did you miss action films during the seven years when you did not do them?
I left action but to tell you the truth, I wasn't away from action, because I have been a part and parcel of this industry. I left action only in front of the camera. Frankly, I was getting several offers to do action films but then deliberately I did not do those films. I'd say that the trend of action films actually had started long before films like DABANGG and SINGHAM were declared hits.