15th December 2010. Planet Bollywood reporter Supriya Davda has a tête-à-tête with the Conman of the year fondly known as Tees Maar Khan [Akshay Kumar] his lucky mascot and the leading lady of this film Katrina Kaif and the only woman in this industry to churn out blockbusters simultaneously. But her bravest move till date would be to be making her third production without King Khan – Shah Rukh Khan.
Farah: It actually means a funny conman. Historically it was a title given to a conman. We often use the phrase "Tum kya apne aap ko Tees Maar Khan samajhtey ho?” It’s a comic book type of a character. But in this context it means, someone who is really good at what they do.
Tell us a bit about your movie & what role you are playing?
Akshay: Well for now, I am ‘Tees Maar Khan’ & the Con is On… I am pretty much the complete opposite of the notorious ‘Robin Hood!!’ I ‘Love’ to, sorry I ‘Live’ to steal, but under no circumstances would I give it to anyone else, let alone the poor. I’m an un-educated Con-Artist who in the midst of trying to ‘Rob’ a train, I have to ‘Con’ an entire village into making an Oscar winning movie in order for the ‘Great Train Robbery’ to be successful. But wait, what happens when the stupid train doesn’t turn up, Ha! I’m left Directing the dumbest of villages & it’s two ‘highly dramatic enthusiastic’ leads ‘Katrina’ and Akshaye Khanna’ into making a movie that of course hasn’t been written. This is only half of it; Farah Khan has made an incredibly fast paced movie with a ‘masala’ of comedy, dance, envious romance, & scenes to die for.
Does the movie show off your comic actor or action hero skills?
Akshay: Well there is not much action in this film. It is more comic, because the way the character is written, if there is any action he doesn't want to fight he just wants to run away, and will come back when there are less people and he can handle then very easily. So the character is like that.
What was it like working with a female director for the first time?
Akshay: She is a very strict director, and if she was only allowed to have a cane in her hands. She loves beating up people.
Katrina: There are a few directors who you want to work with on the basis of their talent and their reputation. In this film it was definitely a case of that with Farah. Luckily for me there were a lot of things that I found challenging in this film, obviously the songs as the dancing part was perhaps the most challenging.
Congratulations on deciding to work with a fresh bunch of actors in your third film. How did you decide on the casting of Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif?
Farah: For me, it was the first time I was working with Akshay and Katrina both. I know they have been seen before but we have presented them in a different way. For a long time I resisted bringing the two of them together as I thought they had been together in too many movies. Both of them are not doing anything we have seen before, and they look like different actors. When they come together their chemistry is so special, and when the camera goes on, magic happens. You cannot explain two people's chemistry, but for them it is there in abundance. They are also both tall, good looking and they complement each other physically.
The music of TMK is doing exceptionally well. The film is already been touted as the biggest blockbuster of the year. What are you thoughts?
Farah: I think every producer or director wants one hit number in their film. And audiences want to come to the theatres to see that one song. But we have many such numbers, not only Sheila Ki Jawaani, but the title track of the film and Wallah Re Wallah. I have a reputation with the music in my films, I’m really glad that it’s doing so well.
There is this huge comparison and battle developed between Munni vs. Sheila? How do you feel?
Katrina: I don't think we ever realized it, as when we were shooting the song, DABANGG had not yet released. I don't think Farah and I want to compare or fight or anything like that. It is about doing the best that I can do for this song. In my opinion, it is very different to the songs in DABANGG, which coincidentally Farah has done anyway.
Diwali used to be the most popular time to release a film, and now the Christmas period seems to be the D Day, can you explain why?
Farah: I don’t know actually, I think it started with films like Welcome, Taare Zameen Par in 2007. And every since then there has been a huge Christmas hit. Thereafter we had Ghajani and 3 Idtiots. And some how the holiday period has been developed and been taken advantage off. Even in India now people enjoy the Christmas holidays, I can’t say it’s a big as the UK, but schools are off from the 22d right up to the 3rd January. And everyone is in that festive mood, then New Years Eve is fast approaching after Christmas, people want to have a nice time during these holidays, people party, they want t go to the theatres and the weather is nice. I am glad we are releasing Tees Mar Khan during Christmas.
And your strategy of releasing the film releasing earlier in the international market?
Farah: In the UK and US we are releasing earlier because the holidays begin on 22nd, this elongates our opening. We want to get the advantage of a bigger opening weekend and we get a five-day weekend this way. In the Middle East we release 23rd because all films release on a Thursday over there.
The film hasn’t even released yet, but rumour has it you’re already thinking of a sequel?
Farah: Yes that’s right. Shirish has already got a story. We want to develop this as a franchise like Pink Panther or Austin Powers. It lends itself to making ‘The Exploits of Tees Maar Khan’ or ‘The Adventures of Tees Maar Khan’.
Catch this Conman ‘Tees Maar Khan’ on the 21st December in the UK and USA.
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