Over the years, stunts and chase sequences in films have developed a bit of a bad rep. And Bollywood films are often blamed for reckless bikers’ riding habits and lack of regard for safety measures.
Now, a Bollywood star, and an action hero at that — Akshay Kumar — has stepped up to do his bit, and encourage people to ride safely. Mumbai Police has roped in Akshay to be the face for their campaign on the importance of wearing a helmet and following other safety measures while riding two-wheelers (this comes after last week, the actor reportedly invited some police officers to train in his personal gym).
Explaining his motivation, Akshay says, “Stars are considered icons. So we should all be socially responsible… Actors really aren’t qualified to preach, but we do have a sense of humanity; all of us do. If we can make something better, we try to.”
About this particular cause, he says, “This cause is about wearing a helmet. A lot of people wear a helmet not because it will save their lives; many wear them just so cops don’t pull them over. When I see youngsters riding recklessly, I personally feel like telling them that it’s not cool.”
He reveals that although he loves bikes, he mostly rides them when his son, Aarav, asks him to drop him to school, or when he takes his wife Twinkle out for an ice-cream.
And what about the accusation that Bollywood films wrongly influence youngsters? “I feel a certain amount of responsibility towards this campaign because I know how people see what I do in my films. But in all honesty, it’s not about our films influencing people; it’s the lack of punishment that makes them think they can get away with it. It’s easier for people to blame films for any nation’s recklessness, so they do,” he says.
As parents, how do he and wife Twinkle teach their their son to do the right thing? “We let him know that he is responsible for his own actions. We will always have his back, but he needs to be proud of what he says and does on a daily basis. He’s only 11, though, and Tina (Twinkle) and I have years to mould our children into good citizens. We look forward to the ride, with our crash helmets intact,” he says.