Akshay Kumar (born Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia on 9 September 1967) is an Indian film actor, producer and martial artist who has appeared in over a hundred Hindi films. He has been nominated for Filmfare Awards several times, winning it two times. He has appeared in over 125 films. When he began his acting career in the 1990s, he primarily starred in action films and was particularly known for his appearances in feature films commonly called the "Khiladi series", which included Khiladi (1992), Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995), Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi (1997), International Khiladi (1999), Khiladi 420 (2000) and Khiladi 786 (2012), as well as other action films such as Waqt Hamara Hai (1993), Mohra (1994), Elaan (1994), Suhaag (1994), Sapoot (1996), Angaaray (1998), Keemat - They Are Back (1998) and Sangharsh (1999).
Later he also gained fame for his drama, romance and comic roles. He started becoming known for his performances in romance films like Yeh Dillagi (1994), Dhadkan (2000), Andaaz (2003) and Namastey London (2007), as well as drama films such as Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005) and Patiala House (2011). His comic performances in comedy films such as Hera Pheri (2000), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Garam Masala (2005), Bhagam Bhag (2006), Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), and Singh Is Kinng (2008) met with acclaim. His success had soared in 2007, when he starred in four consecutive commercial hits. Kumar hit a rough patch since 2009 to 2011 but came back with two successes, Housefull 2 (2012) and Rowdy Rathore (2012) with both of them grossing over 1 billion (US$17 million). His other films like OMG (2012) and Special 26 (2013) were highly successful critically and commercially. On 16 February 2013, many media outlets reported that the boxoffice collection of Kumar films has crossed 20 billion (US$330 million) and till date is the only Bollywood actor to do so. Having done so, he has established himself as a leading contemporary actor of Hindi cinema.
Apart from acting, Kumar has worked as a stunt actor; he has often performed many dangerous stunts in his films, which has earned him a reputation as the "Indian Jackie Chan". 2008 marked his television debut as the host of the show Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi. In 2009, Kumar founded the Hari Om Entertainment production company.
In 2008, the University of Windsor conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Law on Kumar in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema. The following year he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. In 2011 The Asian Awards honoured Kumar for his outstanding achievement in Cinema. In 2012 he founded another production company called Grazing Goats Productions.
In 2014, Kumar launched TV realty show Dare 2 Dance. He also owns the team Khalsa Warriors in the World Kabaddi League.
Early life and background:
Akshay Kumar was born in Amritsar, Punjab. His father served in the military. His mother's name is Aruna Bhatia. From a young age, Kumar was recognised as a performer, particularly as a dancer. Kumar was raised in Delhi's Chandni Chowk before moving to Mumbai. In Mumbai, he lived in Koliwada, a Punjabi dominated area. He received his school education from Don Bosco School and enrolled in Guru Nanak Khalsa College in Mumbai for higher education. Kumar also has a sister, Alka Bhatia.
After having obtained a black belt in Taekwondo while in India, he studied martial arts in Bangkok, Thailand, where he learned Muay Thai and worked as a chef and waiter. Upon his return to Mumbai, he commenced the teaching of martial arts. One of his students, an aspiring photographer, recommended Kumar into modelling which ultimately led to a modelling assignment. Kumar effectively made more money within the first two days of shooting, in comparison to his entire months salary, and therefore chose a modelling career path. One morning, he missed his flight for an ad-shoot in Bangalore. Disappointed with himself, he visited a film studio along with his portfolio. Fortunately that evening, Kumar was signed for a lead role by producer Pramod Chakravarthy for the movie Deedar.
See also: Khiladi (film series)
Kumar made his first appearance as the lead actor opposite Raakhee and Shantipriya in Saugandh (1991), though he had appeared in the uncredited role of a martial arts instructor in in the 1987 Mahesh Bhatt-directed film, Aaj. The following year he starred in Abbas Mustan-directed suspense thriller, Khiladi, widely considered his breakthrough role. In 1993, he had acted as one of the lead actors of the Super-Hit Kannada Language blockbuster film Vishnu-Vijaya directed by Keshu starring South Super Star Dr.Vishnuvardhan, Ashwini Bhave (his co-star in Sainik), Ashutosh Rana. In 1994, he played a police inspector in two films: Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Mohra which were among the highest grossing films of the year. Later that year, he starred in Yash Chopra-produced romance, Yeh Dillagi opposite Kajol. His role in the film earned Kumar his first nomination for Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards and Star Screen award. During the same year, Kumar also had success with films like Suhaag and the low budget action film Elaan. All these achievements, promoted Kumar as one of the most successful actors of the year. In 1994, he had 11 film releases in a with Elaan, Yeh Dillagi, Jai Kishan, Mohra, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Ikke Pe Ikka, Amaanat, Suhaag, Zakhmi Dil, Zaalim and Hum Hain Bemisaal.
Kumar played a dual role in the 1995 action thriller, Sabse Bada Khiladi, which was a commercial success. He proved to have success with the Khiladi series, as in the next year he starred in the fourth successful film with Khiladi in the title, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi opposite Rekha and Raveena Tandon. The film became one of the highest grossing films of the year.
Kumar played a supporting role in Yash Chopra-directed romance, Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), co-starring Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor, for which he received his first nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award. In the same year, he attempted a comedy role with the fifth film in the Khiladi series, Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi. Unlike his previous films with Khiladi in the title, the film failed commercially. In the same way as this film, his next Khiladi releases in the following years went on to fail at the box office. After Mr. & Mrs. Khiladi, Akshay went through a rough patch not having much big hits. In 1999, Kumar received critical acclaim for his roles in the films Sangharsh and Jaanwar. Whilst the former did not make a profit at the box office, the latter turned out to be a success and marked his comeback.
In 2000, he starred in the Priyadarshan-directed comedy Hera Pheri alongside Paresh Rawal and Sunil Shetty. The film which was a remake of Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking, became a commercial success and proved to be a turning point in Kumar's career. He also starred in the Dharmesh Darshan-directed romantic drama Dhadkan later that same year. The film performed moderately at the box office but Kumar was praised for his acting. Rediff.com's review stated that he had proved that he is "director's actor" and that "he has worked hard on his role is apparent." In a review for Bollywood Hungama, Taran Adarsh wrote that "Akshay Kumar shows vast improvement as an actor. He is very controlled and handles this difficult role with sincerity." That same year, he performed some of his most dangerous stunts in Neeraj Vora-directed action thriller Khiladi 420, where he climbed a running plane, stood on top of the plane flying a thousand feet in the air, and jumped from the plane onto a hot air balloon. In a later scene, he is also seen being chased by a car, dodging bullets, jumping off buildings, and climbing walls. His character in the film had two names and his role received mixed reviews. In his review, Taran Adarsh wrote that "The actor does a great job in a role that has negative shades, but as a softie in the second half, he is just about okay. And that's mainly because he has been asked to do what he has been doing in film after film. Nevertheless, Khiladi 420 is amongst his finest performances." Sukanya Verma wrote "Negative roles and Akshay Kumar don't go hand-in-hand.... Akshay is ridiculously over the top and irritating to the core. However, he manages a decent performance as the sober and suave Anand." His first release in 2001 was Suneel Darshan-directed drama Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love. Kumar was praised for his performance in the film. Next, he played a negative role in the Abbas Mustan-directed film Ajnabee. While reviewing the film for Rediff.com, Sarita Tanwar termed Kumar the "surprise package" of the film. She added that he was "in total control as the bad guy." The film won him much acclaim as well as his first Filmfare Award for Best Villain and IIFA award 2002 for Performance in a Negative Role. His first release in 2002 was Dharmesh Darshan-directed romantic drama Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya. He played the role as a blind man in Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Shaarang Dev Pandit-directed heist film Aankhen. His performance in the film was critically acclaimed. Next, he starred in the Vikram Bhatt-directed comedy Awara Paagal Deewana. While reviewing the film for Bollywood Hungama, Taran Adarsh called Kumar "proficient." Rediff.com's review of the film mentioned that his sincerity and intensity seen in Hera Pheri, Ek Rishtaa -- The Bond Of Love and Aankhen "seems missing". His last film of the year was Rajkumar Kohli-directed supernatural horror film Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani alongside Manisha Koirala, Sunil Shetty, Sunny Deol, Aftab Shivdasani, Arshad Warsi, Aditya Pancholi and Armaan Kohli. The film was a remake of Kohli's former film Naagin and received mostly negative reviews from critics. Taran Adarsh wrote "only MunishArmaan Kohli and Akshay Kumar leave an impact."
In 2003 he starred in Suneel Darshan's action film Talaash: The Hunt Begins... opposite Kareena Kapoor. While reviewing the film, Taran Adarsh wrote "Akshay Kumar is plain mediocre. The role hardly offers him scope to try out anything different." Next, he starred in Raj Kanwar-directed romantic drama Andaaz alongside Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but turned out to be a commercial success at the box office and the first universal hit of 2003. In 2004 he starred in Rajkumar Santoshi's action drama thriller Khakee alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn and Aishwarya Rai. Kumar played the role of a police officer in the film. The film and Kumar's acting were positively reviewed by critics. He was nominated for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in the film. His other films included Dileep Shukla's crime film Police Force: An Inside Story. He starred alongside Raveena Tandon, Amrish Puri and Raj Babbar. The film's production was delayed following the break-up of the lead actors Tandon and Kumar. It received negative reviews from critics. Kumar played Hari Om Patnaik, an IPS officer in Madhur Bhandarkar-directed Aan: Men at Work. He starred in David Dhawan-directed romantic comedy Mujhse Shaadi Karogi alongside Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra. The film received positive reviews. Taran Adarsh praised Kumar and wrote "Akshay Kumar is a revelation ... he surpasses his previous work. His timing is fantastic and the conviction with which he carries off the evil streak in his personality is bound to be talked-about in days to come." His performance in the film earned him his third nomination for supporting actor at the Filmfare Awards as well as a nomination for best comic role. His other films included Abbas-Mustan directed Aitraaz and S M Iqbal's Meri Biwi Ka Jawaab Nahin. In the former, Kumar played against type as a worker wrongly accused of sexual harassment by his female boss played by Chopra. According to the directors, Aitraaz was inspired by National Basketball Association player Kobe Bryant (who was accused of rape by a fan): and the film's development began when they read about his sexual-assault case in the newspapers. Talking about the character Kumar said that it is realistic and could be described as a "new-age metrosexual" man. He added that Aitraaz was the boldest film he had done. The next year he starred in Dharmesh Darshan's Bewafaa, Vipul Amrutlal Shah's Waqt: The Race Against Time, another Priyadarshan-directed comedy Garam Masala. Waqt: The Race Against Time was a family drama film. The film and Kumar's acting received mixed reviews. "Akshay Kumar is getting better with every release. The actor handles his part with complete understanding of the character and scores" wrote Taran Adarsh in his review. Vishal D'Souza wrote "Akshay shoulders an author-backed role, carrying more of the film's emotional baggage though he is distinctly uncomfortable in the soppy-weepy scenes." The films succeeded at the box office and his performance in the latter earned him his second Filmfare Award, for Best Comedian. His other films included Vikram Bhatt's Deewane Huye Paagal and Suneel Darshan's Dosti: Friends Forever. His first release of 2006 was Rajkumar Santoshi-directed Family - Ties of Blood followed by Suneel Darshan's Mere Jeevan Saathi and Raj Kanwar's Humko Deewana Kar Gaye. Next, he starred in a sequel to Hera Pheri titled Phir Hera Pheri. As was the former, the sequel became a huge success at the box office. Later that year he starred alongside Salman Khan in the Shirish Kunder-directed romantic musical film Jaan-E-Mann. The film was a well anticipated release, and despite receiving positive reviews from critics, did not do as well as expected at the box office. Though the film under-performed, his role as a shy, lovable nerd was praised. He ended the year with Priyadarshan's comedy Bhagam Bhag, which was a success. In that same year, he led the Heat 2006 world tour along with fellow stars Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Sushmita Sen and Celina Jaitley.
2007 proved to be Kumar's most successful year during his career in the industry, and as described by box office analysts, "probably the best ever recorded by an actor, with four outright hits and no flops." His first release, Vipul Amrutlal Shah-directed Namastey London, was critically and commercially successful, and his performance earned him a Best Actor nomination at the Filmfare. Critic Taran Adarsh wrote of his performance in the film, "he's sure to win the hearts of millions of moviegoers with a terrific portrayal in this film." Kumar's chemistry with lead actress Katrina Kaif also generated immense appreciation, with Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India describing their pairing as "refreshing." His next two releases, Sajid Khan-directed Heyy Babyy and Priyadarshan's Bhool Bhulaiyaa, were box office successes as well. In both of these films he starred opposite Vidya Balan. Kumar's last release of the year, the Anees Bazmee-directed Welcome, did extremely well at the box office, receiving a blockbuster status and simultaneously becoming his fifth successive hit. All of Kumar's films which released that year did well in the overseas market as well. Kumar appeared in a cameo role in Farah Khan directed Om Shanti Om. His role was listed as no. 4 on the Top 10 Cameos In Bollywood list of MensXP.com.
Kumar's first film of 2008, Vijay Krishna Acharya-directed action thriller Tashan, marked his comeback to the Yash Raj Films banner after 11 years. Although a poll (conducted by Bollywood Hungama) named it the most anticipated release of the year, the film under-performed at the box office grossing 279 million (US$4.6 million) in India. His second film, Bazmee-directedSingh Is Kinng in which he starred opposite Kaif was a huge success at the box office and broke the first-week worldwide record of Om Shanti Om, the previous highest figure. His next film was the animated film Jumbo, directed by Kompin Kemgumnird. The year also saw Kumar making his small screen debut as the host of the successful show Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi. He later returned to host the show's second season in 2009.
In 2009, Kumar featured opposite Deepika Padukone in the Warner Bros. and Rohan Sippy production Chandni Chowk to China. Directed by Nikhil Advani, the film was a critical and commercial failure at the box office. Kumar's next release was 8 x 10 Tasveer. Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, the film was a commercially failure however Akshay Kumar won the Stardust Best Actor Award for his controlled and restrained performance . His next release was Sabbir Khan's battle-of-the-sexes comedy Kambakkht Ishq. Set in Los Angeles, it was the first Indian film to be shot at Universal Studios and featured cameo appearances by Hollywood actors. The film was poorly received by critics but became an economic success, earning over 840 million (US$14 million) worldwide. Kumar's film Blue was released on 16 October 2009. Blue collected about Rs. 420 million at the box-office. His last release in 2009 was Priyadarshan's De Dana Dan.
He then appeared in the 2010 comedy, Housefull, directed by Sajid Khan which garnered the second-highest opening weekend collection of all time. Kumar's next release was Khatta Meetha, directed by Priyadarshan which was an average grosser. He also appeared in Vipul Shah's Action Replayy, which was a box office failure. His last film of 2010 was Tees Maar Khan. Directed by Farah Khan, the film received poor critical reviews and turned out to be a commercial failure.
In 2011 he starred in Patiala House and Thank You. His last film of 2011 was Rohit Dhawan-directed Desi Boyz (2011), which co-starred John Abraham, Chitrangada Singh and Deepika Padukone. He also co-produced a film with Russell Peters titled Breakaway (dubbed into Hindi as Speedy Singhs) which is reminiscent of his own Patiala House.Breakaway became the highest-grossing cross-cultural movie of 2011 in Canada. Kumar dubbed for the role of Optimus Prime in the Hindi version of Hollywood, action blockbuster, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. He took the dubbing role for his son, Aarav, and did so for free.
His first release of 2012 was Housefull 2, a sequel to his film, Housefull. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was very successful at the box office. It was also a huge hit in overseas and the biggest Bollywood grosser in New Zealand. Kumar's Rowdy Rathore released on 1 June 2012. It marks the returns of him in action genre after 7 years. The film earned more than 1.3 billion (US$22 million) in India and was a huge box office success, being declared a "blockbuster". Both of these films grossed over 100 crore (US$17 million) at the box office. Although the former film received mixed reviews; Kumar's performance in it was praised. In 2012, he founded another production company called Grazing Goat Pictures Pvt Ltd.Joker was reportedly promoted as Kumar's 100th film, but later Akshay Kumar clarified that the 100th film landmark had been crossed long before he even signed up for Joker. "It was a miscalculation on Shirish's part. OMG is my 116th film,"he said. Kumar kept himself away from the film's promotion due to differences with Kunder. Reacting to Kumar's backing out from the film's promotion Kunder tweeted "A true leader takes responsibility for his team and leads them through thick and thin. Never abandons them and runs away." However, he later deleted the tweet. His later release Oh My God which he produced and starred along with Paresh Rawal. It had a slow opening but because of word of mouth it picked up and then was declared a super hit.
His last release in 2012 was Khiladi 786, the eighth installment in his famous Khiladi series as well as the comeback of the series after 12 years. Although film was panned by critics it was a Semihit at the box office grossing 70 cr at domestic box office. His first release in 2013 was Special Chabbis which earned a positive critical reception and was moderately successful at the box office. Although the movie earned him positive reviews and commercial success, trade analysts noted that the movie could have done much better business due to its good content and Kumar's superstar status. Kumar's next release Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai Dobara proved to be a below average at the box office, grossing domestically 65 crore nett. It got mixed reviews however Kumar's acting was praised by the majority of critics. His next release was Anthony D Souza's Boss alongside Shiv Pandit and Aditi Rao Hydari. The movie received average to good reviews however turned out to be a failure at Box office grossing 54 crore nett domestically . Kumar came back strongly with Holiday. This action drama earned both critical and commercial success entering the 100 crore elite club and became the highest grosser of 2014 beating jai ho. The film received critical acclaim and is Kumar's third film to gross over 1 billion (US$17 million) at the box office. Kumar has sung a song for his recent film Its Entertainment. Making of the song has been uploaded on YouTube. Kumar is set to act in the Prabhudeva-directed Singh is Bling. The film is a sequel of his former film Singh is Kinng. This would be Kumar's second collaboration with Prabhudeva. This film will be co-produced by Grazing Goats Entertainments. Another project Brothers, which would be Kumar's first collaboration with Karan Johar has been announced.
Kumar has starred as the lead actor in many director's debut films. Examples include Sajid-Farhad's Its Entertainment, Sajid Khan's Heyy Babyy. They also collaborated for Housefull and its sequel. Sabbir Khan's Kambakkht Ishq, Rohit Dhawan's Desi Boyz, Anthony D'Souza's Blue, Vijay Krishna Acharya's Tashan, Shirish Kunder's Jaan-e-Mann, Vipul Shah's Aankhen, Waqt, Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng, Action Replayy and Holiday. Neeraj Vora's Khiladi 420, Naresh Malhotra's Yeh Dillagi and Guddu Dhanoa's Elaan. Kumar has starred opposite Katrina Kaif in Namastey London, Humko Deewana Kar Gaye, Tees Maar Khan, Singh is Kinng, Welcome, Blue and De Dana Dan and alongside Sonakshi Sinha in Rowdy Rathore, Joker, Once Upon ay Timr in Mumbai Dobaara! and Holiday:A Soldier is Never off Duty.
After being engaged twice to actress Twinkle Khanna, the daughter of actors Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia, Kumar married her on 17 January 2001. Their first child was a boy, whom they named Aarav. Twinkle gave birth to their second child, daughter Nitara, on 25 September 2012. He is known as a protective father and keeps his children away from the media. He stated that he wants to "give them a normal childhood." In 2009, while performing at a show for Levis at Lakme Fashion Week, Kumar asked Twinkle to unbutton his jeans. This incident sparked a controversy which led to a police case being filed against them. In 2011 Kumar was reported for slapping a security guard at The Grand Eastern Shores apartments in Mumbai after the guard reportedly pinched Aarav's buttocks.
Kumar stays in shape with a combination of kickboxing, basketball, swimming and Parkour as well as working out. While in standard eighth he had started practising Karate. He intended to open a martial arts school and the state government of Maharashtra allotted land for the school in Bhayandar.
In 2004, he was honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Award for his outstanding achievements in Bollywood. In 2008, the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada awarded Kumar with an Honorary Doctrate of Law for his outstanding work in the film industry and contribution to social work. The same year he was named the "Sexiest Man Alive" by People (India) magazine. The following year Kumar was awarded the highest Japanese honour of "Katana" and a sixth degree black belt in Kuyukai Gōjū-ryū karate. He was one of the 15 international celebrities invited for the Olympics torch-bearer rally to Canada. He became responsible to endorse the Canadian Tourism by sharing the duty of Brand Ambassador till the summer of 2012.
In 1997 Kumar endorsed for Pepsi. He previously endorsed for Thumbs Up for several years. He had also endorsed for Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India, footwear brand Relaxo, Dollar Club, Micromax, Red Label, LG Electronics and Manappuram Gold Loan On 9 August 2014 Kumar performed at his 500th live show. The show was held in O2 Arena in London as part of the inaugural function of the World Kabbadi League. His first live show was held in 1991 in Delhi. Kumar owns a team in the Kabbadi League.
Awards and nominations: