Turn back the clock. It’s November 2011: Upset about a driver throwing an empty pack of cigarettes onto the busy Juhu Tara road, Akshay Kumar stops his car, steps out and confronts the man for littering.
Four months later, the actor has taken his social cause a step further. He is determined to keep Juhu beach — where the actor lives with wife Twinkle Khanna and son Aarav in a sea-facing bungalow — clean and hygienic. “I have all the people in my building on board, and we are watching for any happenings in our vicinity. Plus, I have trained all my staff members and security personnel to handle such circumstances (littering the beach),” says Akshay.
According to the Desi Boyz (2011) actor, he has worked his entire life to earn the privilege of living on the prime Mumbai real estate. “While growing up, I would see Juhu beach as a heaven. But since I live here now, I see it being abused and trashed on a daily basis, which is very painful to witness,” he says, adding, “If we can’t cherish our beaches, where else can we play safely with our children? The rest of the city is not exactly kid-friendly.”
Ask Akshay if his star status will help his cause, and he says, “Until our government gets on board and provides proper facilities to the needy, so that they don’t feel the need to use the beach as a toilet or garbage dump, there is only so much a one-man army can do.”
Khiladi Kumar has severe punishment in mind for those who don’t clean up their act, explaining, “Hopefully, I can make the people using the beach in my area aware that if they do disrespect the environment, I will personally drag them to the police station. Or have a guard do it while I’m not around.”
He adds, “I don’t want my son and his friends coming back from the beach saying they saw a guy peeing on the wall, or that someone spat on the sand where they were doing cartwheels, or that they were too embarrassed to climb our back wall for fear of disturbing couples that were being intimate right beside it.”