By Aalia Khan
Bollywood’s action hero Akshay Kumar has certainly made a name for himself in the industry; whether it’s down to his blockbusters such as Houseful 2 and Rowdy Rathore, and his earlier fame makers with the Khiladi series, or his not so popular films such as Tashan and Chandi Chowk to China, Akshay will always be a household name and an actor to be remembered for a very long time.
After a string of failures and successes, Akshay is concentrating on doing a variety of projects. Of late Akshay has invested his money in strong subjects like OMG – Oh My God, The Shaukeens and his latest and said to be his landmark venture Baby. Baby sees Akshay Kumar reunited with director Neeraj Pandey, who teamed up on the critically acclaimed film Special 26. Akshay plays a Special Forces officer who would do whatever is necessary to keep his country safe.
We’ve caught up with the superstar many times on his movies and his controversies. In this special feature we take a look back at the journey of Bollywood’s favourite Khiladi.
Akshay’s career began in the 1990’s when he starred primarily in action films; Waqt Hamara Hai, Mohra, Elaan, Suhaag and Sapoot to name a few. As well as action he soon made his mark with his romance, drama and comedy films, starring in Namastey London, Hera Pheri, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Garam Masala and Dadhkhan.
Over the years Akshay has become well known not just for his acting but also for being a stunt actor and a black belt in Taekwondo, which earned him the title of the Indian Jackie Chan. As a result in 2008 he hosted Indian’s version of fear factor – Khatron Ki Khiladi, last year he launched TV realty show Dare to Dance and he also owns the team Khalsa Warriors in the World Kabbadi League.
Born and raised in Amritsar, Punjab Akshay’s journey took him from being a dancer to a chef, waiter, model and then finally delving into acting. Having missed his flight for an ad-shoot in Bangalore, he visited a film studio along with his portfolio. Fortunately that evening, Akshay was signed for a lead role by producer Pramod Chakravarthy for the movie Deedar. All of his films released during 1993, including Dil Ki Baazi, Kayda Kanoon, Waqt Hamara Hai and Sainik did not perform well commercially.
However Akshay was determined to do well and he got the opportunity to star in Yash Chopra-produced romance, Yeh Dillagi opposite Kajol. His role in the film earned him his first nomination for Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards and Star Screen award. During the same year, Akshay also had success with films like Suhaag and the low budget action film Elaan. All these achievements, promoted Akshay as one of the most successful actors of the year and in 1994 he was able to appear in eleven feature films.
In the years ahead Akshay proved himself as an actor and fared quite a few successes with Hera Pheri, Dadhkan, Khiladi 420, Ek Rishtaa, Ajnabee, Khakee, Mujhse Shaadi Karoji, Aitraaz, Waqt, Garam Masala, Phir Hera Pheri, Namastey London, Heyy Babyy, Bhool Bulaiya, Welcome, Singh Is Kinng, Houseful, Patiala house, Desi Boyz, Houseful 2, Rowdy Rathore, OMG, Khiladi 786, Special Chabbis and Holiday: A soldier is never off duty.
As well Akshay’s successful films, his film failures kept him grounded. Some of his movie downfalls included; Tashan, 8×10 Tasveer, Blue, Kambakht Ishq, De Dana Dan, Khatta Meetha, Action replayy, Tees Maar Khan, Once upon a time in Mumbai Doobara and Boss.
Akshay has won many awards and prizes over the years but his love and admiration for his family has been his greatest achievement and has always remained strong and visible to the public. Having been engaged to actress Twinkle Khanna twice he finally married her on 17 January 2001. Akshay and Twinkle have had a successful marriage and their first child was baby boy Aarav, they then welcomed daughter Nitara into the world on 25 September 2012. Akshay is known to be a protective father who tries to keep his children away from the media.
As many actors do, Akshay has also had his fair share of controversy. A few which sparked major outrage were when Akshay asked Twinkle to unbutton his jeans while performing at a show for Levis at Lakme Fashion Week; this led to a police case being filed against them. Another was when Akshay was reported for slapping a security guard in Mumbai when he reportedly pinched Aarav’s buttocks.
Akshay’s movie successes’, good looks, physique, marriage and bubbly personality have made him one of the most popular actors today and it’s no wonder he was named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine India in 2008.
His upcoming release Baby is supposed to be his most promising and biggest film of his career. Baby, deals with the serious issue of counter terrorism, “In today’s time, terrorism is a big issue. Every nation is facing this problem and we should all take this seriously and try to fight with it. The story of Baby is about that. There is a group of 27-28 people and their only mission is to finish terrorism from everywhere. And this group is still immature so the code name of their mission is Baby” says Akshay.
The actor adds that the subject is very close to his heart. “Every film I do that is special for me. My father was in the army. So I know many things about the services and I find myself quite close to the army men. I feel very proud whenever I do an army based film.”
Akshay says he always wants to be known as an actor and not a superstar, “I don’t want to be typecast in any particular genre. I think no one can ask me this question that why I only do the same kind of films because I have never done that in my career. I would like to be known as an actor and not a superstar. I don’t like the tag of superstar.”