The actor says he will play a gangster in the sequel to “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai” but it will not be based on India’s most wanted criminal
It seems Akshay Kumar and his publicty firm are not communicating much these days.
Why else would the Bollywood actor shout from the rooftops that he isn’t playing wanted gangster Dawood in the sequel to “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai”, while his publicist issues staments saying: “Akshay Kumar has been signed to play the lead role of notorious underworld don ‘Dawood’…”
While the confusion continues, the actor however has gone on record with “Times of India”, saying: “I play a gangster of the ’80s and it would be unwise to say that I’m playing Dawood even though the world is saying so.”
The first film, produced by TV Tsarina Ekta Kapoor, saw Emraan Hashmi essay the same role of Shoaib, who ousts his mentor and fellow gang member Sultan (Ajay Devgn) to become the kingpin of Mumbai. The sequel will move the story forward.
However, roping in Kumar has been a shrewd move by director Milan Luthria, who allegedly plans to bring in lots of high-octane action sequences, which is Kumar’s forte.
Kumar is alleged to sport three distinct looks in the film, which will see the actor age from 25 to 30 and then 35 years. Reportedly, prosthetics will be used to give the thespian an altered appearance in the film.
With the actors of the original film not returning, needless to say, the leading ladies will also witness a change. The industry buzz is that Kareena Kapoor and Vidya Balan are top contenders, but no name has been served up as yet.
Who is Dawood?
The first film saw Hashmi’s character have an uncanny resemblance to dreaded Don Dawood Ibrahim, the ringleader of D-Company and is wanted by Interpol and India for the alleged organising and financing of the 1993 bombings in Mumbai.
According to the United States, Ibrahim also has links with Al Qaeda head honch, Osama Bin Laden.
While Ibrahim’s whereabouts are unknown, it has been alleged by Indian intelligence agencies such as Research and Analysis Wing (Raw) that the gangster is hiding away in Pakistan. The neighbouring ountrydenies any knowledge of Ibrahim’s whereabouts.
Needless to say, it is understandable why Kumar would deny portraying the wanted criminal on the silverscreen.
While this off-screen drama continues, Kumar, however, also has his plate full these days as the Canadian Tourism Commission’s Ambassador for India for second year running.
The actor is expected to leverage his celebrity status in India to promote Canada as a four-season destination in his continued role.
In this capacity, he will be expected to make several promotional appearances in India and Canada, as well as familiarisation trips across Canada to be reported and extensively documented by the media.
The actor said: “I am truly proud to encourage and promote Canadian tourism in India”, describing the country as his “second home”.