Fans of Akshay Kumar’s daredevil stunts are in for a disappointment. The actor, who recently did five death-defying stunts, including jumping off an airplane and swimming with sharks in his superhit film, Rowdy Rathore, will not host the fifth season of the popular action-reality show, Khatron Ke Khiladi, the desi version of Fear Factor.
In all likelihood, actor Ajay Devgn will replace Akshay as the new host. While the channel, Colours, refuses to issue a statement yet, sources say it was Akshay who turned down the show, as wife Twinkle Khanna, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, is due to deliver around the same time that the TV show goes on floors.
Devgn, meanwhile, confirms having been approached. “Yes, I’m in talks to host Khatron Ke Khiladi. I would love to be a part of it if things work out,” he said on a visit to HT House on Wednesday. His last tryst with TV, as the judge of the 2008 dance reality show, Rock N Roll Family, along with wife Kajol and mother-in-law Tanuja, had got an average response from the viewers.
Akshay Kumar, 44, has been a constant factor with Khatron Ke Khiladi that sees 13 celebrity contestants perform deadly stunts. He hosted the first two seasons of the show and then returned for the fourth, after actor Priyanka Chopra, who replaced him in the third season, failed to leave an impact.
The news comes at a time when riding high on the success of Rowdy Rathore, Akshay is once again being hailed as the original action star. Ex-contestants say that the show will lose its energy without Khiladi Kumar. “Akshay and Khatron Ke Khiladi are synonymous with each other. People love his style and energy as the host,” says actor Pooja Bedi, a contestant on season one. Actor Aashka Goradia, who was on season 4, adds, “There can’t be Khatron Ke Khiladi without Akshay. It’s incredible how he motivates contestants.” , too, are disappointed. Ishita Sharma, 25, says, “Akshay is a great host. He should not be replaced.” Amrit Bindra, a DU student says, “The show won’t be the same. When Priyanka hosted the show, it wasn’t good. But if Akshay has to go, maybe Ajay Devgn is a good substitute.”