x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Bond-like aquatic thriller takes Indian cinema 'to the next level'

The aquatic Bollywood extravaganza, co-starring Sanjay Dutt and Lara Dutta, is said to be the most expensive Indian film ever.

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar is in Abu Dhabi for the Middle East International Film Festival at the Emirates Palace hotel.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar is in Abu Dhabi for the Middle East International Film Festival at the Emirates Palace hotel.

ABU DHABI // "I would have been dead in this film, actually," Akshay Kumar said airily. "I got hurt on my forehead while shooting underwater. I got hit by this shipwreck." The Indian film actor had flown to Abu Dhabi to talk about his new action movie, Blue. The aquatic Bollywood extravaganza, co-starring Sanjay Dutt and Lara Dutta, is said to be the most expensive Indian film ever.

It made its Middle Eastern premiere at the Emirates Palace hotel last night, although according to Kumar, the project was lucky not to die along with its star beneath the waves of the Bahamas. The actor, who plays the movie's villain, was shooting an underwater fight scene in a shipwreck and had to kick another actor. Easier said than done while 50 metres underwater. "When you kick a person, you don't realise and you just float up," Kumar, 42, said. "And the ceiling hit me, and it was absolutely rusted, so it hit me and blood started coming out.

"There were about 40 or 50 sharks around. All I could see was the one guy just running to the other side and baiting the sharks on that side so the sharks wouldn't come this way." As difficult moments go, it was the stuff of nightmares. But Kumar was full of praise for Blue's creator, Anthony D'Souza, an advertising director who was making his feature debut. "I wouldn't take any credit," he said. "I would just say it's because of the director- This movie is going to take Indian cinema to the next level, for sure."

Blue is an action-driven treasure-hunt, a Bollywood riposte to the James Bond franchise. "It's not a typical Bollywood film," Kumar said. "It's just absolutely a Bond flick." It combines the traditional Hindi film elements of comedy and song with glamorous locations, well-paced plotting and lots of sharks. "They were very professional," Kumar said of his aquatic co-stars. "They were there early morning, at seven o'clock on the dot."

The actor has made about 120 films in his 20-year career. He has played heroes and villains, taken comedy and romantic parts, and done enough action movies to satisfy anyone. "So many films I've done," he said. "About 40 films of action I've done. But I've never done an underwater kind of thing. So every time there's something new coming out, that affects me." Despite his storied career, the kind of film he really likes to make is one he has only tried once.

"I love doing horror films," Kumar said enthusiastically. "Horror with comedy. It's a very deadly combination. In my life I only got one script which was like that. It was called Bhool Bhulaiyaa. I'd love to do that kind of film if I ever get a script like that. "You make your audience scared at the same time that they are laughing. It's a very different kind of expression you get to see," he said.

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