‘I feel proud to be an Indian’

Akshay Kumar shares with HT what it means to play host to two Prime Ministers. Read on for more...

entertainment Updated: Jun 27, 2010 14:32 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times

Akshay Kumar

Today is a big day for Akshay Kumar. The Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who landed in Toronto on Saturday for the G-20 Summit, will be attending a formal dinner at 8 pm at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Cafe Hotel with the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

“Mr Kumar was personally invited by the office of the Canadian Prime Minister,” says spokesperson Pauline from Toronto. She refuses to divulge more details about the event “till a formal announcement from the PMO is made”, but says that the actor will be making a speech to introduce the heads of state.

Kumar was on a cruise with wife Tina and son Aarav when he received the invitation. He promptly air-dashed to Toronto and will be staying back in the country for a few days.

“It is a huge honour for me to be present at such a prestigious event. I feel like I’m a part of history. A time when I feel proud to be an Indian,” says Kumar, one of 14 international torchbearers at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

He has been roped in by the Canadian Tourism Commission that has just launched operations in Mumbai and Delhi, to promote Canada as a tourist destination in India. Several of his films have been shot there, including Anees Bazmee’s Thank You, that recently completed a schedule in Toronto and Vancouver.

On May 9, 2008, he was presented with an honourary doctorate of law by the University of Windsor, Ontario, for his work in cinema and social work. After losing his father, Hari Om Bhatia, to cancer, he sponsors a cancer ward at the Trillium Health Care Centre in Mississauga and has helped raise money for the Vancouver Children's Hospital.

First Published: Jun 27, 2010 13:12 IST