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Akshay Kumar: The Undisputed King of Indian Cinema

Friday June 21 2013    |     Views: 5651    |     Comments: 0   |     Print    Bookmark and Share





As Hollywood players such as Warner Bros. Pictures, Lionsgate and more recently Dreamworks venture East for a stake in Indian cinema’s multi-billion dollar industry, one actor who repeatedly conquers the Indian and international box offices is Akshay Kumar. India’s leading man and Bollywood hero continues to solidify his position as the undisputed, global brand ambassador for the world’s largest film industry.
Akshay is in a league of his own. In 2012, his first two blockbuster releases of the year - Housefull 2: The Dirty Dozen and Rowdy Rathore both reached the coveted Rs100 Crore (£11 million) mark in their respective opening weekends at the box office. Annually, a staggering 40 percent of the lucrative Bollywood Box Office comprises Akshay’s cinematic hits. Out of the myriad Bollywood films made every year, on average nine involve Akshay; he has either starred in or produced the projects. Furthermore, Akshay Kumar is also the highest tax payer in the Bollywood fraternity highlighting his earning and box office power.
The talented actor and producer has had a long and illustrious career spanning over 20 years, and has over 120 films to his credit. With no film dynasty behind him, Akshay stumbled across acting inadvertently. He had left India to work as a chef in Bangkok where he was also training in martial arts – one of his primary passions. He started performing martial arts at the age of seven, pursuing it professionally for five years in Thailand with Master Kim-Ling Chang, before returning to India.
Akshay’s popular movies have crossed shores and are mega hits in India as well as internationally. He has become the global face for Indian cinema, and is instantly known by the 3.6 billion global Bollywood fan base.  Fondly known as the ‘hit machine’, Akshay has a unique talent for delivering comedy and raw action roles with ease and skill. This makes him the most bankable Indian actor in the world.
A pioneer in the film industry, Akshay is widely credited with bridging the gap between Bollywood and Hollywood with a series of ingenious collaborations and interactions with mainstream players. 2008 saw the world’s most successful Indian film to date, Singh is Kinng, which re-wrote Indian film history. The film, which starred Akshay as the lead and marked the launch of his home production banner Hari Om Productions, brought in Rs18 Crore in the first two days, smashing previous records set in the past 10 years in India, the UK, the USA and the Middle East. The film also featured a unique collaboration between Akshay and hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg, for the title track and music video. Singh is Kinng also received a gala presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2008.
Akshay followed his success with the 2009 hit Kambakkht Ishq, in which he starred with Sylvester Stallone, Bond Girl Denise Richards and Superman actor Brandon Routh. Kambakkht Ishqis the first Indian movie to be shot at Hollywood’s Universal Studios, and boasts being one of the highest budgeted Indian films (approximate US$20 million) in history. Akshay’s other collaborations include a singing and acting tie-up with international popstar Kylie Minogue in the 2009 underwater thriller Blue. Kylie recorded her scenes as well as the music video for the title track with Akshay in Mumbai. The music was composed by double Oscar winner A.R. Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire fame. Also in 2009, Akshay’s film Chandni Chowk To China marked Warner Bros. Pictures’ first foray into Indian cinema
Akshay was also the first major Bollywood star to produce a Hollywood film with the Indo-Canadian film Breakaway, which saw him collaborate with the Grammy Award winning American rap artist Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
Away from the big screen, Akshay has a strong background in Martial Arts, a sport which he regularly practices and performs in his films. He is one of the few Indian actors to perform his own film stunts. His most dangerous stunt involved standing atop a plane that was flying at 1,000ft and jumping mid-air onto a flying hot air balloon in the film Khiladi 420.
 
His diverse acting capabilities have been recognised by a lengthy list of esteemed film accolades, including a string of Filmfare Awards, Zee Cine Awards, IIFA Awards, Apsara Academy Awards and Star Screen Awards, for roles ranging from action hero and anti-hero to comedian and lover.
 As well as his award-winning film work, Akshay is one of the most renowned social activists and humanitarians in the Indian film industry, supporting initiatives such as the Asian Heart Institute, and the United Nations campaign to curb global human trafficking. Akshay’s global social and charity work includes his role as Worldwide Ambassador for the Special Olympics, promoting the cause of the physically disabled engaging in competitive sports; his role as an HIV/AIDS activist, working as Global Ambassador for Population Solutions International (PSI), which recently involved a trip to the north Indian state of Rajasthan with Hollywood actress Ashley Judd, to promote what is being propounded as EC (Emergency Contraception), to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
As an active campaigner against human trafficking, he has joined the United Nations in their efforts to curb this global phenomenon. This included featuring in a two-minute video called One Life, No Price, which brought together the United Nations’ Office on Drug Control (UNODC) with key members from Indian cinema, as part of a broader programme called UN GIFT (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking). Akshay is also an active fundraiser for charities and institutions across the world, including recent fundraising work for the Trillium Health Care Centre in Mississauga and the Vancouver Children’s Hospital.
In 2010, Akshay was made a Canadian Tourism Commission Ambassador for India to promote Canada - a country in which he has a huge fan base and critical acclaim – as a travel destination. "Canada is a beautiful country and I often recommend it as a shooting destination to directors. Bollywood has a huge fan following there and it is a charming place," He said. He was the international torchbearer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. He has also been honoured with a doctorate degree from The University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada for his outstanding contribution to the Indian film industry and for the social work he has rendered to the people of Canada.
 Akshay has hit out at the negative connotation and use of the 'R-word' (retard) by Jennifer Aniston on the 'Live with Regis and Kelly' show, accumulating 9 million votes of support in a matter of days.
 A family man and loving father to his young son, Aarav, Akshay also engages in work to help disadvantaged children across the globe. In February 2008, he introduced singing child prodigy, Tejaswani, to the world on Zee TV’s popular show, Little Champs. A gifted singer, Tejaswani is aged 21, but has the mind of a three-year-old, barely communicating in sentences, but with the singing ability of an angel. On meeting this extraordinary and gifted child, Akshay was deeply moved, propelling him to use his position as one of India’s most respected stars to give a voice to Tejaswani’s unsung talents. The superstar brought Tejaswani to the forefront of public awareness to influence other parents to encourage their own children, who may suffer from various disorders.

Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar


Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar



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