Recently, Sylvester Stallone was the subject of tweets by both Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar.
Salman Khan , Thank you for your compliment about our new movie CREED! Look forward to meeting you soon ... Keep Punching, Sly— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) September 28, 2015
It was great working with Mr. Sylvester Stallone, as an actor I'd be greedy & want that opportunity again https://t.co/dTu6YNiwWp— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) October 3, 2015
It may be a surprise to some fans that Sylvester Stallone appeared in a Bollywood film.
The 2009 Sabbir Khan action comedy Kambakkht Ishq ("Damned Love") - which takes you into the world of the Hollywood stuntman - includes extended cameos by no less than four Hollywood celebrities: Holly Valance, Denise Richards, Brandon Routh, and Sylvester Stallone.
The film centers around the on-going battle between stuntman Viraj Shergill (Akshay Kumar) and hospital surgeon and former model Simrita Rai (Kareena Kapoor). When Viraj's brother Lucky (Aftab Shivdasani) falls in love with and marries Simrita's best friend Kamini (Amrita Arora), Viraj and Simrita do everything in their power to prove the marriage was a bad idea.
As Viraj and Simrita come to loggerheads again and again, Viraj is the first to accept that their impact on Lucky and Kamini is not a good thing. But Simrita continues to aggressively hold to her course. As luck would have it, a missing watch forces Simrita to interact with Viraj. At the same time Viraj sets in motion a plan to tame this shrew. Each of their schemes lead to more complications for the dysfunctional duo.
In one of Sylvester Stallone's appearances in the film, he delivers the following short speech as he presents an award to stuntman Viraj Shergill:
"Good evening everyone. My name is John Rambo. But tonight, it's not about me. It's about the real heroes behind the action. And it's my real privilege to give this award to someone who is my real life hero. To the man who takes the fall as the director yells 'action!' and the good looking hero rolls up in continuity and dusts himself off and says, 'I'm your worst nightmare.' It's my absolute pleasure and honor to give this award to a man without whom many of my recent films would have never been what they are. The incredible Viraj Shergill."
Stallone then turns the microphone over to Akshay Kumar who, as Viraj Shergill, delivers the following acceptance speech:
"When I was a young boy in Punjab I used to tell my mom, 'Ma, when I grow up I would like to be Sylvester Stallone.' I will never be Sylvester. Nobody can. But this middle class Indian boy has worked every day of his life to be able to stand next to him on the same studio floor ... to be able to take the fall for him ... to be able to say, 'Look Ma. Your son has become Sylvester. Look. He may be a duplicate, but he has become Sylvester.' In India, whenever something big like this happens we take blessing of our elders, our parents or our guru. Tonight, I would like to take the blessing of the guru of action."
As you listen to Akshay Kumar's heartfelt and emotional delivery, you can't help but feel that these words are true for the actor himself.
Kambakkht Ishq action coordinator Spiro Razatos - who also worked on the Bollywood films Kaante (2002), Kurbaan (2009), My Name is Khan (2010), Kites (2010), Ra.One (2011) and Jazbaa (2015) - appreciated the fact that Akshay Kumar could do his own stunts:
"We're lucky we have a great action star that does his own stunts and we don't have to hide his face like we normally do. We're lucky in that aspect that we can use him in a lot of his own stunts which we don't get to do here in a lot of American movies."
While the involvement of Akshay Kumar and Sajid Nadiadwala got Sylvester Stallone interested in the film, he really appreciated the story. He explained:
"It deals with a subject that I like which is about heart, it's about giving, it's about spirituality, it's about the physical manifestation of love because in the end that's really all that really counts. There's been many action films where people are just beating each other up and you go,'who cares'. But when it really is about something that's soulful, I'm interested and that's what this film is about."
Stallone was reportedly very impressed with Akshay Kumar's muscular physique, physical prowess, and fitness routine. Akshay Kumar reportedly got the Rocky star interested in yoga and introduced him to the benefits of bhurji (scrambled egg) and buttermilk in his diet. Stallone later passed along Kumar's healthy life advice to Arnold Schwarzenegger during their filming of Escape Plan.
Kambakkht Ishq producer Sajid Nadiadwala was delighted to be able to sign-on Sylvester Stallone and according to a rediff.com interview, the actor showed his appreciation by gifting Nadiadwala his Rocky boxing gloves:
"Yes, that was a momento. I will always cherish that. He was so impressed with us that he gave his boxing gloves to me. India has come up in a big way off late and people look up to India. Cinema in India is growing big time and people abroad have started recognising us. It is a matter of pride to get boxing gloves from Stallone himself."
Kambakkht Ishq offers an interesting mix of film styles from both Bollywood and Hollywood - making it a fairly unique offering. While a few of the scenes may be contrived (e.g., Stallone appearing in a sketchy back alley) or uncomfortably ridiculous (e.g., airport security search), the premise of the story and interaction between the lead actors keeps your attention. As the tough and opinionated Viraj, Akshay Kumar turns in a memorable performance.
The following playlist features the trailer for the film Kambakkht Ishq as well as a featurette on the stunts and a conversation with Akshay Kumar and Sylvester Stallone.
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