Amidst various things happening around us, Akhil Kumar is trying to be a happy man. It’s his birthday, and he’s releasing the most difficult short film that he made today on his birthday. We decided to have a nice candid chat with him.
Tell us a bit about this short film and why you decided to release it today?
Well, this is a story of 2 brothers, and I’ve played a double role in it. I can’t divulge much, but all I can say is that the role is extremely close to my heart and I felt releasing it on my birthday was gonna be special for me even though it’s a very short story.
Akhil, your transition from non-fiction to hosting to being on the digital platform Voot and finally acting has been quite different from the others, why did you decide to start making short films in the lockdown only?
Well, the lockdown has actually been quite the reverse for me, I’ve managed to make five short films during the various lockdowns that we’ve had, and it just made learn so much about myself and life in general that if we really want to do something we really can do it. I actually did an acting workshop with Mukesh Chhabra sir just before the Lockdown, and I think really boosted my morale to start making short films.
So what are your birthday plans this year?
Just like every year, I want to try and spend some time with kids which are a part of a social Cause I’ve been associated with and spend some time with family. My friends have been planning a virtual celebration so looking forward to that too.
What has been your giveaway from these lockdowns, and what is the change you hope in people after lockdown?
He was quick enough to respond on this one saying that, I’ve learnt that we have to be prepared to accept unexpected things and do the best we can around them. We really need to start respecting nature and stop disturbing and destroying it. In fact one of the films that I made during Lockdown, ” I Am Karma ” shows well that we certainly get back what we do so we should keep our Karma good.
The change I hope in people is that greed is replaced by empathy and ego is replaced by being grateful.
What motivated you to make short films in this Lockdown?
I realised I used to have a lot of ideas on scripts but didn’t really know how to execute it until I realised that it’s all in the mind and we create blockages for our self by having doubts. Hence I simply started writing and started solving all the problems that could come along finishing my project and once I realised that after doing my first short I was confident of making more and ended up making 5 of them and my family and friends also helped so very grateful to them. Plus not to miss about the Workshop I told you above.
We hear that many people have also been inspired by you due to this?
Well, I’m not aware but I’m grateful if that is the case. I feel inspiration and motivation is an ongoing process and if I’m able to inspire or motivate even 1 person to fulfil their passion even during the lockdown then there can’t be a better thing than that.
Tell us something about the other short films that you’ve made?
So I made this short film called, “Mai Hoon Kashmiri” for which I researched a lot and then wanted to show my version of a story of a Kashmiri which is away from caste, color, religion etc. and just story of a Kashmiri and nothing more.
Then I made this story for my mothers birthday called Corona Locked Birthday Unclocked which again is a very special film about the bond of a son with his mother and how mothers are the most beautiful and selfless people in the world and it was my attempt to make her feel special.
Then I did this poetic film where my name and my co-actors name was inspired from nature, I played Hawa and my friend and talented co-actor Himanee Bhatia Seth played the character of Khidki, it again was a beautifully written short film which we only wrote, directed and acted in.
Then finally I made this short film called, “I am Karma” where again I essayed a double role of a rich rude builder and a beggar and it showed how our Karma comes back to us which is relevant to our current scenario as well.
We also heard that your films have been distributed and shortlisted at some places?
Well, when I was making these short films I never knew how people would react but it was a quite a pleasant surprise that my film, Mai Kashmiri Hoon was shortlisted by FTC Talent for their short film competition and the film with Himanee that we jointly made, “Hawa Ki Khidki” not only got shortlisted by FTC Talent for their competition but was also taken over for digital distribution by Pocket Films which is a great feeling for any actor.
Coming back to your birthday, what gift are you expecting and if there are any return gifts we hope you remember us as well?
Laughs. Well, I’m not a person who expects any gifts out of anyone in fact my mother has been upset that I still haven’t told her what flavour cake do I want for my birthday. Laughs. However as far as a return gift is concerned, I’m giving it to most of our country, since the lockdown is being lifted today on my birthday only, he laughs. However, I really hope we follow all guidelines given by the Hon’ble Central and State Governments as well as WHO.
Are you also involved with any NGO during these tough times?
Well, I don’t speak much about these things because they are quite personal but I’ve been involved with Yuva which I think is doing a fantastic job and doing my best on my personal level to do whatever best I can.I’m also quite inspired by the way Mr Sonu Sood has been helping our fellow countrymen.
Tell us about how you started with hosting?
Well, you won’t believe but in school, I was one of the most non-talkative and shy guys you would come across. I remember when I was first giving a hosting opportunity there was a car brand I was hosting for inside a society and there was not even a single person who came out of the house to check out the car because it was so hot yet I kept at it and eventually in the evening people started coming out and I felt quite relieved and that day I learnt that whatever you do, you have to do it with complete love and passion for it.
Tell us something about hosting LaLiga in Spain and some of your other hosting projects?
Well, I think that probably is undoubtedly the biggest project I’ve done. It was nothing short of magical. I was invited by LaLiga in Spain to be their Fan Ambassador and got an opportunity to host a match of Real Madrid again Sevilla and it was a big dream come true. From learning culture to interacting with the players and getting to see my jersey in the dressing room and doing press conferences, I’ll never in my life forget that experience.
I’ve also hosted the prestigious Jagran Film Festival which really helped me connect with a lot of talented actors, writers, directors and gave me an opportunity to interact and interview many talented actors from the Hindi Film Industry.
How did the love for hosting convert into the passion for acting?
Well, honestly I felt I always had an actor in me. My strength ticks in the best when I’m natural and I thought acting came naturally to me. The ability to depict something and reach out to the masses is something so empowering. My theatre experience from college and then some workshops with the stalwarts of the industry like Mr Mukesh Chhabra and Mr Neeraj Kabi has been helpful too.
What is your take on this debate around Web Series on OTT platforms and films in Cinema Halls?
Don’t call me diplomatic but my honest opinion is that they are both equally important and here to stay. Both have a loyal base of followers who really wait for the content to release on both the mediums. I certainly do feel from the actor’s point of view, because of the rise of OTT we are really able to see some extremely talented actors making a mark in the minds and hearts of the audiences.
Which is your recent Binge watch web series that you liked?
Well, hands down Paatal Lok on Amazon Prime is one of the best series that has come out of India in a long time. Personally I feel the most important part of a script is the writing because that’s where the ball starts rolling from and I think Mr Sudip Sharma and his team have done a fantastic job in terms of writing and execution. Each and every actor has nailed their role and I’m the most impressed with the performances of Mr Jaideep Ahalawat and Mr Abhishek Banerjee. Jaideep Sir I feel have finally arrived and with regards to Abhishek sir, I feel I haven’t seen a better act where there were hardly any dialogues and he not just delivered but hammered his role just by his body language and expressions.
We wish you a very Happy Birthday Akhil, any final thoughts?
Firstly thank you so much for your wishes and making it a special day for me. I just want to hope and pray that everyone in our country stays safe and take care of people around them and if they’re in a position to support someone in need then I really request them to do to so and lastly if you can keep some food and water around us who are in need. 🙏
We at Youthistaan really had a great time talking to Akhil Kumar and hope he has a great birthday and wishing him all the success in the coming time.
Facebook – Akhil Kumar
Twitter – @akhilkofficial