The journey of this ordinary boy from Chandni Chowk — who has worked as a waiter at a restaurant in Bangkok — to becoming one of the most successful actors in Bollywood has been a roller-coaster ride. In his over 20-year-long career, Akshay Kumar has evolved from being an action star in the khiladi series, graduating to comedy, and then to full-blown family drama/romance.
Fondly called Khiladi Kumar or Akki, the 45-year-old gave hits such as Khiladi, Mohra, and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi early in his career, but made a comeback of sorts with Jaanwar in 1999. He sailed through till 2004, but saw a slight dip in his career in 2005-2006. “In 2007, Akshay swept the box office with four hits: Namastey London, Heyy Babyy, Bhul Bhulaiya and Welcome. But his glory moment came in 2008 with Singh Is Kinng. This was his peak and Akshay emerged as the new king. But his career dipped yet again with films such as Blue, Action Replayy and Tees Maar Khan. However, his recent back-to-back hits, Housefull 2 and Rowdy Rathore, made him a proud member of the Rs. 100 crore film club,” says trade analyst Atul Mohan. “Akshay is perhaps the only star to have done so many movies in a few years. Though some films may be called mistakes of his career, he survived by delivering surprise hits every now and then,” adds Mohan.
Not just the silver screen, Akshay became a hit on TV as well with his stint as the host of adventure-based reality show Khatron ke Khiladi (2008). He then showed off his old bond with food when he hosted the first season of cookery-based show MasterChef India in 2010.
The actor’s upcoming projects include films such as Oh My God, Khiladi 786, Once Upon a Time Again and Special Chabbis.
Akshay Kumar in his current avatar
1991: Mr long locks
Akshay’s hairstyle in the 90s was as static as his dressing style.
Long hair, loose shirts and denims defined his style for many years.
2002: Short ‘n’ sweet
A refreshing change was Akshay’s cropped hair. Even his fashion choices improved and the actor’s rugged look caught on.
2007: A touch of gold
Getting experimental, Akshay shed his nonchalant look for golden hair in Namaste London. He continued to flaunt the look later as well.
2008: Cool crew
The actor rocked the crew cut that he sported during the first season
of TV show, Khatron ke Khiladi. It added to his rough and tough image.
2010: Akki, the geek
For his role in Action Replayy, Akshay began wearing geek glasses and colourful clothes.
During the early phase of his career, Akshay was known as a ladies’ man. He was in relationship with many of his co-stars. The one that got maximum headlines was his affair and subsequent engagement to actor Raveena Tandon. The two met during the shoot of Mohra. After Raveena, Shilpa Shetty came in Akki’s life in 2000. But their affair came to an end after Shilpa discovered that Akshay was cheating on her with actor Twinkle Khanna. Akshay eventually married Twinkle in 2001.
Post marriage, Akshay is known as a family man. However, his marriage hit a rough patch when his alleged affair with Priyanka Chopra hit gossip magazines. However, since then Akshay has had a controversy-free family life. Akki and Twinkle, who have a 10-year-old son Aarav, are expecting a second child anytime soon.
During the early phase of his career, Akshay was known as a ladies’ man
2009: During a show for denim brand Levis at the Lakme Fashion Week, Akshay landed himself in a soup after he asked wife Twinkle Khanna to unbutton his jeans. An obscenity case was registered against the two under IPC Section 294.
2011: Akshay reportedly slapped a security guard of Mumbai’s The Grand Eastern Shores apartments, after the guard reportedly pinched Akshay son Aarav’s buttocks. The guard went by the name Bhandari. This incident led to Bhandari’s dismissal.
2012: Akshay grabbed headlines recently after he decided not to promote his co-production, Joker. The actor was apparently unhappy with way the project had finally shaped up. “I’ll let Joker speak for itself,” Akki had said in his defence. The film was directed by Shirish Kunder.
During a show for denim brand Levis at the Lakme Fashion Week, Akshay landed himself in a soup after he asked wife Twinkle Khanna to unbutton his jeans
The filmy story
Singh is Kinng: This film labelled Akki as ‘Crore Kumar’ as he apparently started asking for extremely high fee after this flick’s success
Hera Pheri: This film, which released in 2000, helped Akshay in consolidating his position as a comic actor in the industry
Khiladi: The ‘Khiladi’ tag got associated with Akshay thanks to his 1992 hit, Khiladi. Akki recently acknowledged that he never really went away from the Khiladi tag despite so many years.
Ad-ing to it
1997: He did an ad for Pepsi, much before every top star jumped the cola wagon.
2007: His endorsement career really kicked off with Thumbs Up.
2010: He became the face of brands like Dollar Club, Micromax and Manappuram Gold Loan. Manappuram was perhaps the first brand to use Akshay’s equity for a high-end product like gold loan.
2012: His endorsements boasts of brands such as Red Label, LG Electronics, Honda, Canadian Tourism and Sparx from Relaxo. He charges around Rs. 2-2.5 crore per endorsement.
Akshay Kumar in a still from Singh is Kinng, Khiladi and Hera Pheri
“In the last 15 years, Akshay has become the preferred choice for mass brands. But 2010 onwards, he has been seen endorsing less known brands as well. Strangely, given his association with health and fitness, a glaring gap in his endorsement portfolio is that of a fitness brand,” says Nandini Bhupat of Alchemist Talent Solutions.
He did an ad for Pepsi, much before every top star started endorsing cola.
Controversies are a package deal in this industry. You just have to understand that and accept it
I have never believed in being part of any one group or camp
Look at what destiny had in store for me. I married my idol’s daughter! I still can’t believe it
Real name: Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia
Born on: September 9, 1967, in Amritsar
First Film: Saugandh (1991)
Father: Hari Om Bhatia Mother: Aruna Bhatia
Spouse: Twinkle Khanna
His handle @akshaykumar has 17,82,000 followers at
So far he’s done seven films with the title Khiladi in them — Khiladi, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Sabse Bada Khiladi, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, International Khiladi, Mr Aur Mrs Khiladi and Khiladi 420