Akshay Kumar on kids Aarav, Nitara being trolled online: ‘Trash talking anyone under 21 should be illegal’
On his 52nd birthday today, Akshay Kumar opens up about treating his body like a temple, his birthday plans and how he finds haters targeting children Aarav and Nitara online abhorrent.Updated: Sep 09, 2019 12:41 IST
Fitter than ever before and raring to go, Akshay Kumar continues to defy age like no other in Bollywood. As the actor turns 52 today, he gets talking about the driving force in his life, message for the youth and why he feels there’s a need to protect his kids — Aarav (16) and Nitara (6), from paparazzi culture. Excerpts:
Even at 52, what is it that keeps you going strong?
I wish I could defy age (laughs), but I’m only human. Honestly, the secret is to just not do anything to speed up the process, live as clean as you did when you were small enough to fit in your mother’s arms, literally, if your mom wouldn’t want you to eat it/smoke it/drink it, then DON’T DO IT. I’m not going to fool everyone by saying I feel like a spring chicken; I obviously crack a little bit more than I used to, but the only way I can still do what I did in my ‘20s is because I still live, eat, work, sleep and train like I did then. Training with my son is my biggest booster these days; I’ve just finished building our new functional gym and both Aarav and I have lost a few kilos and it feels great that no amount of work or education can keep us from what we love most #Games&Gains.
Any message for the fitness-crazy youth?
You need nothing but water and home cooked food to become anything you want. [Athlete] Hima Das as well as myself are living proof that you don’t need supplements and steroids or any performance enhancing drugs to look good or be a winner. Please don’t fall for short cuts and temporary fake bodies. The only true way is the hard way. If you look for short cuts, expect your life to be cut short. Treat your body as pure as a temple and it’ll worship you in return.
You’ve always made it a point to spend birthdays with your family. What are the plans this year?
This year I’ll be celebrating mine and Aarav’s birthday (September 15) cycling round London and taking my wife (Twinkle Khanna) and kids for a picnic in the park. It’s important that no matter what we have going on in our lives, work, movies, school, if we can’t stand still and celebrate our birthdays together, I don’t know what life is about, because the only thing I ever want to do is be with my family on my birthday.
You’re not considered much of a party person; is that the reason you don’t really throw big birthday bashes for your industry friends?
My friends don’t need me to throw them parties, they’re just happy I make it to any of theirs for five minutes before I fall asleep, or throw my drink in a bush (laughs). But I do make sure to throw wrap parties, attend anniversaries, celebrate Diwali, that kind of thing, I’m not a complete hermit (laughs again). I just can’t spend my days working like I do and partying like they do — it’s not a bad thing. I commend them for their stamina; I just need to reserve my fuel tank if I want to release four films a year and not look 52 yet, apparently.
Aarav’s pictures on social media often get subjected to nasty comments by trolls. How do you protect your kids and make them immune to such negativity?
I think anyone that tries to exploit kids without permission for their own gain might need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves ‘would they want anyone to do this to their own children’? As for those that troll toddlers and teens, I have no words for that kind of behavior. Trash talking anyone under 21 publicly should be illegal. It’s sad that such a great and powerful technology such as social media, is tainted by people wanting to hurt, mock, humiliate or just insist on throwing opinions with no fear of the damage such hate can cause the youth. All we can do as parents is, teach our kids to be thick skinned and pity those that have the time to hurt others. Star kids have enough pressure in life; the world doesn’t need to increase it by trolling innocent children.
Are you otherwise comfortable when your kids get clicked in public and their pictures go online without your consent?
It breaks my heart to hear my six-year-old daughter says she doesn’t want to come out to dinner with her family because the paparazzi will be there and she doesn’t like the flashing lights. Or Aarav not wanting to come for a movie because he just finished training and he doesn’t want to have to deal with people saying he looks tired or sweaty on Instagram and I really don’t blame them. Us as stars may have signed up for this but until our kids decide to be in any form of limelight after college years, then I don’t think they should be publicly followed or scrutinised, out of safety for them physically and mentally. Again, that’s my opinion and like I teach my kids, it’s your choice whether or not you choose to be offended by what others say.
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