Akshay Kumar on Tuesday said films don't perpetuate negativity in society and as an actor, his responsibility is limited to the role he is performing. The treatment of women in pop culture came under scanner again after a young woman veterinarian in Hyderabad was raped and murdered.
Many were quick to point how Bollywood has normalised stalking, lack of consent and general ill-treatment of women on screen. When asked about this, Akshay said in a group interview, "A film should be taken as a film. You come there, enjoy, pay for ticket and don't take it so seriously. We show 'no smoking' but have people stopped smoking? Everybody is doing their job, I'm trying to do mine. We are all making a film."
The actor said a film's trailer gives the audience enough idea if they'd be comfortable watching the movie. "Yes, obviously there's a person playing a negative character, sometimes I play that, but that doesn't mean I'm trying to teach you negative. I'm just playing a character. I'm an actor, that's it. If you have a problem after watching the trailer, then don't see the film, don't take your family, tell your friends that they shouldn't watch the film...
"Just like how you have the freedom of speech and writing, the person also has the freedom of acting, whatever he wants to. It is being passed by the censor. If it is passed by the censor, then what's the problem?"
When pointed out that the responsibility as an artiste should remain the same when he's doing a slapstick comedy like "Housefull" and a message-oriented "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha", Akshay said, "My responsibility with 'Housefull' is that I'm doing a slapstick comedy."
When said that a slapstick comedy doesn't have to be sexist, the actor said, "That's your point of view. I have my own perspective. This is a film where this is a comic kind of character. It's just a character. I'm again telling you, don't take it so seriously. It's just a character, when we have to speak, we do. Where it's just a comedy, I take it like that. When I see someone else's films also, be it Inder Kumar or anyone else who makes comedy films, I go in that kind of a mood."
When pointed out about the normalisation of a culture where women are made fun of, the actor said there are many other films where men are being made fun of. Giving the example of his latest, Good Newwz, the 52-year-old actor said people might take offence over how the issue of IVF and sperm exchange has been dealt with humour.
"It's just a character, watch it as a film. I can't be like 'today I need to teach this lesson.' I'm not a teacher. I am making films, in some I'm having fun, in others I'm giving a message. This film is on IVF, a serious matter, we are talking about exchange of semen. Now, someone can say it's such a serious matter how can you show it in this (comic) way? But I'm playing a character!"
The film, backed by Karan Johar and directed by Raj Mehta, features Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kiara Advani and Diljit Dosanjh. It's scheduled to release on December 27.