Akshay Kumar brought more Bollywood star power to the Red Sea International Film Festival this week and the in-demand actor and producer sat down with Deadline where he revealed his long-awaited series with Amazon will commence shooting next year.
Kumar kept details of the project under wraps but told Deadline that the script was finished and the title (formally announced as The End) would change, with plans to begin shooting sometime next year.
The project marks Kumar’s first foray into the streaming series arena and, he said, “it’s more on the science fiction” side of things with “a lot of action in it, I can say that.”
Kumar, who is known for hit Indian titles such as Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Padman and Airlift, has recently finished shooting Selfiee, a remake of 2019 Malayalam-language comedy-drama Driving Licence as well as Startup, about the founder of Air Deccan, India’s first low-cost airline.
He also revealed at the festival this week that he’s working on a film about sex education, a topic he feels is important to talk about.
“I like doing social films which can make a difference, especially in my country and in anybody’s life,” he said. “I just pick up those topics and I make a film, but I make it in a very commercial way where obviously there are songs, there’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s tragedy. So, I take real stories and adapt it and cover it up with all the commercial things.”
Kumar, who said he “rarely produces a film that he doesn’t act in,” has produced 32 films across the last 15 years.
He noted that while both Bollywood and Hollywood’s theatrical businesses are feeling the pinch of the post-Covid world, it was up to the industry to be smarter and work harder to get audiences back into theaters.
“I think we have to try much harder than we used to do earlier, we have to try harder to get them out.”
He added, “It’s our fault. We need to know what they want and stop blaming [the audience] for everything because a lot of people have blamed the [audiences] and are saying they don’t want to come out, but I think it’s our turn to please them and bring them out.”
While he’s welcomed the streaming platforms in India, he stressed that India is still an untapped territory when it comes to growth in that area.
“We are 1.5 billion people there and still Netflix, Amazon, Disney, ZEE5, all of these digital platforms, they have only tapped no more than about 10 to 12% of the market…The market in India is huge.”