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  Entertainment   Bollywood  21 Jan 2018  Best supporting role : Pad Man

Best supporting role : Pad Man

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 21, 2018, 12:06 am IST
Updated : Jan 21, 2018, 12:06 am IST

Despite the team’s profuse admiration for Akshay, the move isn’t as magnanimous as it may seem.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Akshay Kumar stand together and make the announcement. (Photo: Viral Bhayani)
 Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Akshay Kumar stand together and make the announcement. (Photo: Viral Bhayani)

While most quarters have good things to say about the Pad Man actor’s release decision, sources claim that it was marked by a little more than self-interest.

The Hindi film industry, always portrayed as a harsh and mean world, where each person looks out only for one’s own interest, witnessed a rare instance of solidarity on Friday. Akshay Kumar, whose biographical film Pad Man was to release at the same time as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial Padmaavat, deferred the release of his film at the latter’s request. Much to the Padmaavat team’s relief, the film is all set for a solo release on the most lucrative weekend of our Republic Day.

While Bhansali’s magnum opus has seen the lowest of lows what with the sets being vandalised, the lead actors being threatened and the release being postponed several times, the industry has backed Bhansali right from the start. And this is the most tangible example of Bollywood’s solidarity yet.

A still from Padmaavat.A still from Padmaavat.

In fact, Akshay’s entire team is with him on this decision. Says his co-producer Prernaa Arora of KriArj Films, “What Akshay sir did on Friday evening is unheard of. Just a week before our film’s release, without any prior intimation or warning, Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a legend in his own right, came to Akshay sir requesting that we postpone Pad Man. It takes a lot of humility for a man of Bhansaliji’s stature to come forward with such a request. It takes an equally great artiste to comply with such a startling request. It was a very unusual request considering we were just days away from release. But Akshay agreed immediately. It says a lot about his generous heart.”

Prernaa further states that this event sets a precedent for other actors, directors and producers who pit their films against each other in a bid to come out on top. “They should learn from this experience. By moving ahead by two weeks at the last minute, Akshay has shown there can be solidarity in the film fraternity. His gesture will be remembered for a very long time,” she says.

Prernaa’s partner, Arjun N. Kapoor also agrees that this unity is not just welcome but also needed in the industry. “Akshay has been a huge part of Prernaa and my beginning as producers what with the fact that he’s starred in the first three films that we’ve produced. But then, this just increases our respect for him all the more,” he gushes.

Arjun adds, “Before getting into production, I was an outsider in the industry. I would always hear stories that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. But a gesture like this one makes up for all the acts of self-interest that rule the industry.”

The other side of the coin
Despite the team’s profuse admiration for Akshay, the move isn’t as magnanimous as it may seem. While the entire industry is busy commending the actor-producer’s largesse, the generous gesture was not without a pinch of self-interest.    

A source in the know informs us, “It was a marvellous marketing manoeuvre. In one stroke, Akshay made himself out to be the hero rescuing Padmaavat from its crisis. But look closer. He actually did his own film a favour. His entire marketing team advised him to pull out of the January 25 release slot after Padmaavat came into the picture. With Padmaavat around, Pad Man would have lost at least 45 per cent of its intended viewership. Also, with all the threats of violence hovering over Padmaavat, the multiplex theatres screening both Padmaavat and Pad Man would have witnessed a reduction in visitors. Families wary of unrest would have stayed away from both films.”

Sources also claim that the actor was thinking of pulling Pad Man out of the Republic Day race anyway, but Bhansali’s request came at an opportune time.

Furthermore, it is believed Bhansali did not want to be the one to approach the Pad Man star. He’d wanted to send a Viacom18 representative to do the job. However, the team felt that the request would sound more genuine if it came from the director himself and Bhansali had to swallow his pride.

Whatever their motivations though, it seems that both the much-awaited films have got their share of positive response and limelight from their fans, who are geared up for a couple of power-packed weeks of cinema-going.

— With inputs from Dyuti Basu and Subhash K. Jha

Experts comment: Win-win for both films

Taran Adarsh: This is a great example of the solidarity within the industry — it goes to show you that in times of crisis, people in the industry will back each other no matter what differences they may otherwise have. It really is a magnanimous move on Akshay’s part. That’s not to say that Akshay won’t benefit from this move. His release will also be on a weekend with a holiday. So, it’s actually worked out for the best for both films.

Komal Nahta: This definitely helps Padmaavat and Pad Man both get releases free from clashes and means that both films will probably have a better run at the box office. While there is a chance that Pad Man will clash with Aiyaary, it definitely stands a better chance against it than Padmaavat. Since Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film has garnered so much curiosity from all quarters, people would probably have flocked to watch it and Akshay would have been left behind.

Tags: sanjay leela bhansali, pad man, padmaavat, akshay kumar