He is one of the Bollywood’s leading stars. And with half-a-dozen upcoming films, he is also one of the busiest actors around. But, for Children’s Day, when we contacted Akshay Kumar to do a special shoot and spend some time with children from The Akanksha Foundation (an NGO that works to provide quality education to children from low-income communities), he agreed at once.
The actor juggled his shoot schedule for his upcoming film, Boss, to spend time with the children. He even went out of his way to invite the kids to come onto the set and see him perform the final action sequence of the day. As the excited kids kept clapping, Akshay wrapped up the shoot and then settled down for a chat. In between, he joked and played with them. And then, he answered all their questions, recalling childhood memories and talking about his film career. For the kids, it was a Children’s Day gift that they are never going to forget.
‘I thought I would be a martial arts teacher’
In an intimate conversation with a few kids from The Akanksha Foundation, Akshay Kumar talks about loving maths, the value of hard work and believing in oneself
“Before entering Bollywood, I worked as a waiter, and then I used to sell jewellery and greeting cards. Also, I would teach karate to kids.”
Kid: How did you initially join films?
Akshay: Are you a journalist (smiles)?
Kid: No (smiles).
Akshay: But you want to know generally, right? Okay, it’s a long story. It started in 1989-90. I remember having walked into one of the studios in search of work when someone spotted me. And then someone asked me if I would like to be an actor. And I said yes. From there on, I started getting work and it just came quickly to me. But I have had to work really hard in my career. Without hard work, you don’t get anything in life. Before entering Bollywood, I worked as a waiter, and then I used to sell jewellery and greeting cards. Also, I would teach karate to kids. Later, I slowly made my way into the film industry. I started earning money at the age of 14 or 15.
“My favourite subject was maths. I still love it, because it teaches you a lot about other things too. It is essential in day-to-day life ”
Kid: What was your favourite subject in school?
Akshay: My favourite subject in school was mathematics. I still love it, because it teaches you a lot about other things too. Maths is essential in day-to-day life because it helps you deal with money and keep a tab on your spending and savings. It’s an important subject and a must-learn for everyone.
Kid: When you were young, did you know that you would become an actor?
Akshay: No. I always thought I would become a martial arts teacher. But I feel that everyone has his or her destiny, so you can only work hard. You never know if any one of you goes on to become a doctor, a politician or the next football star. You can’t predict such things.
Kid: Can you tell us how you spend your day?
Akshay: I start my day early in morning, at 4.30 am. I work out before going and dropping my son Aarav to the school. And then, I go for my shoots. But I always sleep at nine in the night without fail.
“There’s only one message: believe in yourself. Apne upar vishwas rakho, about whatever you want to become in life.”
Kid: What’s your message for the youth to become successful in life?
Akshay: There’s only one message: believe in yourself. Apne upar vishwas rakho about whatever you want to become in life.
Akshay: What do you want to become (he asks a kid)?
Akshay: So, it’s simple. All you have to do is work hard towards your goals.
“The first hit of my career was Khiladi (1992). I have worked in about eight Khiladi films. So, I feel it (the title) is lucky for me.”
Kid: Why do most of your successful films have Khiladi in it (including your latest film Khiladi 786)?
Akshay: It’s simple. I love that name. It’s a name my audience has given me. The first hit of my career was also Khiladi (1992). I have worked in about eight Khiladi films. So, I feel it’s lucky for me. Plus, Khiladi means player, so it’s nice.
Kid: Which has been your most challenging role till date?
Akshay: It has to be Jaanwar (1999). That was really painstaking.
Kid: How many countries have you visited till date?
Akshay: I think I have traveled to all the countries in the world, except Brazil.
Kid: Which school did you go to?
Akshay: I went to Don Bosco School. Bahut paas mein yahan se, Matunga mein (very close, in Matunga).
— Transcribed by Prashant Singh