Mumbai: Shirish Kunder has done it again. He has managed to irk the only actor who had supported him all throughout and had agreed to co-produce his new film ‘Joker’.
After the stupendous success of ‘Rowdy Rathore’, one would have expected Akshay Kumar going all out to promote his new venture ‘Joker’, which has been directed by Shirish Kunder and co produced by Kumar and Farah Khan. But the actor has been conspicuous with his absence. So what went wrong? Why did Akshay dissociate himself from a project which he initially was extremely gung-ho about?
Speaking to a daily, an insider revealed, “Joker was meant to be a kids` film and that too in 3D. Akshay was really excited about it. When shooting began, Shirish assured him that though they were not shooting in the format, it will be converted to 3D during post production.” The idea was eventually abandoned by Shirish.
Akshay also was keen on using his Hollywood contacts to do the special effects for the film. “It was while dubbing for ‘Transformers’ that he was introduced to the special effects team and wanted ‘Joker’ to benefit from his resources," added the source. But Shirish refused to comply to that as well.
"Akshay wanted some changes in the final edit. Shirish, who is an editor himself, does not like being told what to do. That`s when Akshay began to distance himself from the film," said the source.
A friend of the actor also revealed that by the end of it Akshay felt dissuaded by Farah and Shirish and decided to cut off. "He has never really tomtomed about the many little things he has done for them - not even the massive discount he got them on the sprawling penthouse they recently bought and moved into. Or turning a generous blind eye to the many budgeting issues that came up while they handled production," added the friend. “But when Shirish continued to dig in his heels, he had had enough.”
While the relation between Shirish and Akshay started crumbling, it was left to Farah to save the sinking ship. Farah tried to dub the entire episode by claiming it was a smart marketing strategy to involve only the women to promote the film. She had also asked SRK to be a part of a photo op to promote the film.
But Akshay`s obvious absence- after just a few TV interviews has affected the film.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, "When a producer/hero of the film disowns the film, it sends out wrong signals. Akshay has shifted his focus to his next home-production- ‘OMG: Oh My God.’ Whatever interest exhibitors had in the film has died down. UTV has not even prevailed upon the exhibitors or demand a minimum number of shows. It is clear that even the producers are not too interested."
Girish Wankhade, Deputy GM Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Cinemax India Ltd, said, "Joker had great prospects because the hit ‘Rowdy Rathore’ lead pair is in the film. But there is hardly any promotional buzz."
Other multiplex owners also point out that the interest should have been higher considering it is Akshay’s first release after ‘Rowdy Rathore’ but the response to advance booking has also been lukewarm.
So will Akshay’s absence from the pre-release events effect the Box Office collections of ‘Joker’ as well? Guess we will have to wait and watch for that!