A report in a leading trade magazine that Akshay Kumar is playing Bobby Deol's father in a film has amused and exasperated the former.
"It's not just a question of age," Akshay told IANS when asked if he was playing Bobby's father about Anil Sharma's "Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon".
"How can people write so irresponsibly? Am I so stupid as to play a colleague's father? And even if I did something so silly, why would I deny it? The fact is I'm not - repeat not - playing Bobby's father in 'Ab Tumhare...'
"In fact we aren't even related in the film! Bobby has a double role of father and son. So he plays his own father. Amitabh Bachchan plays his grandfather. I'm not a part of the family tree at all."
Incidentally, Akshay and Bachchan have been cast as son and father in several films, including Vipul Shah's forthcoming "Waqt".
"I wish he was my father in 'Ab Tumhare...' but he isn't," says Akshay.
For Bobby, Sharma is a family friend and has repeatedly worked with father Dharmendra and brother Sunny.
Akshay on the other hand is a newcomer in the Sharma fold. The actor's well-wishers warned him that Bobby would be given a better role in Sharma's war film "Ab Tumhare..."
"But I never paid any attention to all this loose talk. My only problem with this film was the anti-Pakistan dialogue. I told Sharma to clean the dialogues. That's it. Once that happened, I had no problem with anything, least of all Bobby's role.
"Bobby is one of my few friends from the film industry. Talk like this is meant to spoil our friendship."
Akshay says Bobby and he had a great time shooting for Abbas-Mustan's "Ajnabee" and "Ab Tumhare...". The two actors' wives recently held a joint interior-decoration exhibition.
"We're both Punjabis, simple souls. And we both dote on Dharmendra< and our respective wives," grins b>Akshay.
He adds: "Why are peopleimgalways trying to spoil friendships in this industry? Recently there were rumours that I had problems with Suneel Darshan. I can never have a problem with Suneel.
"I've done some of my best films with him. We're like family to each other. Yes, I did have date problems. But now it's been sorted out. And I'm now doing Suneel's next directorial venture," says Akshay.