Actor Akshay Kumar turned 44 on Friday. Born as Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia on Sept 9, 1967, Akshay has appeared in over a hundred Hindi films.
Starting his career in 1990s with action films, he gained more fame for his comedy roles. He was tagged as Khiladi Kumar of Bollywood after he acted in a series of films with KHILADI in their titles, including KHILADI (1992), SABSE BADA KHILADI (1995), KHILADIYON KA KHILADI (1996), INTERNATIONAL KHILADI (1999), and KHILADI 420 (2000).
Akshay earlier dated several of his co-stars, including Shilpa Shetty and Raveena Tandon. After being engaged twice to actress Twinkle Khanna he married her on 14 January 2001.
Our correspondent caught up with the actor in recent times. Excerpts from the interview:
On race for No. 1 spot in Bollywood: I have never participated in this competition for No 1, 2 or 3. We are not horses at Mahalaxmi race course. Every year over 150 films are made in Bollywood and there are only seven or eight heroes. And for any of us, it is not humanly possible to do more than 3-4 films a year.
On his ever-increasing signing amount: I do four-five films a year. And now I have my own production company as well. Obviously, being the producer, I can't charge money from myself. So, that way, my rate is zero. But when the films do well, my money comes back to me only.
On being known as an 'Action Star': When I started, action was not considered acting. But action is also a form of art. And when an action hero does a comedy film, he is nominated in comic category at the awards functions and he becomes a comedian.Agar aisa hi hai toh, the one who plays a romantic hero should get nominated in 'Best Romantic Hero' category. Why should he be given 'Best Actor Award'?
What I want to say is there shouldn't be any category for anything. I understand, when an actor does a particular genre well, people remember that particular image. It's hard to erase that image, harder to replace that image with another one, hardest to make the audience accept it. I started out as an action hero...the KHILADI series and what not. Then I switched to a romantic image with films like DHADKAN, and then did comedy like HEYY BABY and HOUSEFULL. It's tough, but you can do it with hard work.
On investing his money: I do a lot of investments in insurances, bonds, fixed deposits...I invest in properties. These are the four-five things that I majorly do by default. Besides, I have my own production house. And then, I invest in my wife's jewellery. That's all.
On getting gifts for Twinkle: I am an intelligent man. I don't get her earrings, or bangles or rings, or necklaces. I give her cash and Tina (Twinkle) helps herself with whatever she likes.