AKSHAY KUMAR, JOURNEY SO FAR
Worth $273 million or 1870 crore Indian rupees, Akshay Kumar is one of the biggest and highest-paid entertainers of Bollywood and more. The 52-year-old artist is also a successful businessman and one of the fittest celebrities in India.
The actor who will be soon seen on Into the Wild with Bear Grylls, a survival skills reality television series starring Bear Grylls, has had various adventures in his life. So, before we get into what the episode that awaits us brings in terms of adventures, let us give you a heads up on Akshay Kumar’s journey so far.
BORN PUNJABI, RAISED FIGHTER
Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, better known as Akshay Kumar, was born to parents Hari Om Bhatia and Aruna Bhatia and raised in a Punjabi family. The actor’s father, an army officer enjoyed wrestling and Kumar also loved sports. He grew up learning Karate with his studies and eventually dropped out of the school and requested his father to let him learn martial arts further.
He went to Bangkok and learned Thai Boxing while staying in Thailand for five years. He learned Muay Thai, worked as a chef and waiter. He is a Black Belt in Taekwondo, while began training for in-class VIII.
TEACHER TURNED MODEL
Post returning to India, he did many jobs in the country and finally went to Mumbai to teach martial arts. The opportunity knocked on his door when one of the student’s father, a model co-ordinator recommended Kumar into modelling. Two days of the modelling assignment for a furniture showroom made Kumar earn more than his entire monthly salary.
MISSING ONE FLIGHT AND TICKET TO BOLLYWOOD, ALL IN ONE DAY
While the actor started struggling in the industry back then as he worked as an assistant for photographer Jayesh Sheth for 18 months without payment to shoot his first portfolio and as a background dancer. Once he was disappointed as he missed a flight to an ad-shoot and went to a film studio with his portfolio, Little did he knew, he was signed for his first Bollywood movie Deedar in a lead role.
A SLOW START AND BECOMING SUCCESSFUL
His initial films like Saugandh, Dancer (1991) received poor reviews, although he got his breakthrough role in Khiladi the following year, his films like Deedar, Dil Ki Baazi, Kayda Kanoon, Waqt Hamara Hai and Sainik did not perform well commercially. He overcame fast with Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Rajiv Rai-directed Mohra which were among the highest-grossing films of the year. This was followed by successful films like, Yeh Dillagi opposite Kajol which was Yash Chopra produced romance that earned his first nomination for Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards, Suhaag and many others.
BECOMING KHILADI KUMAR WITH THE KHILADI SERIES
Akshay Kumar has Khiladi series which were the action thriller movies he did with Khiladi (player) in the title including Khiladi, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Sabse Bada Khiladi in a double role, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Mr and Mrs Khiladi, International Khiladi, Khiladi 420, and Khiladi 786.
BUILDING AN EMPIRE
Some of the very famous movies by Akshay Kumar includes Hera Pheri, Namastey London, Chandni Chowk To China, Rowdy Rathore, Khiladi Tu Anari, Omg Oh My God, Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Sabse Bada Khiladi, Garam Masala, Phir Hera Pheri, Waqt: The Race Against Time, Deewane Huye Paagal, Andaaz, Bewafaa, Heyy Baby, many more that are included in 100 plus movies he has starred in the showcase the versatility of the artist while some of them are a great commercial success and critically acclaimed.
CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP AND GIVING IT UP
The Canadian naturalised Indian actor was awarded the citizenship in return for Kumar’s offer of putting his “star power to use to advance Canada-Indian relations,” and Canada’s “trade relations, commercial relations, in the movie sector, in the tourism sector according to a former Conservative Party Minister. In 2008, the University of Windsor conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Law on Akshay Kumar in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema.
In December 2019, the actor applied for Indian Passport and planned to give up his Canadian citizenship. He got the Canadian citizenship back when he faced 14 flops in a row but his 15th film worked and he never looked back and also never thought of changing his passport. He decided as he said it ‘hurts’ when he has to prove that he is Indian every time.
JOURNEY ON INDIAN TV
In 2004, the actor launched a seven-part television mini-series Deadly Arts With Akshay which aired on National Geographic Channel. He has appeared on television as a host for Khatron Ke Khiladi 1 or Fear Factor India, judged shows like The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, the fourth season of Masterchef India.
A PROFITABLE PRODUCTION COMPANY
In his real name, Rajeev Hari Om Bhatia, the actor used Hari Om, his father’s name as his middle name and started his production house (Hari Om Productions) after his father’s name as well, who was a military officer. The actor has earned well on various blockbusters produced under his production house.
DISCIPLINED, HUMBLE AND GENEROUS
He was engaged twice to actress Twinkle Khanna, the daughter of actors Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia before he married her on 17 January 2001. Akshay is a protective dad and a disciplinary in life He wakes up at 5 AM, reportedly begins with his work and interviews at 6 AM, and finishes his dinner before sunset. He is also very generous at heart as he donated the profits made through the album in which he sang Pujanbi devotional song ‘Nirgun Raakh Liya’, to victims of the train bombings in Mumbai.