Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia (born 9 September 1967), known professionally as Akshay Kumar, is an Indian born Canadian actor, producer, television personality, martial artist, stuntman and philanthropist who works in Bollywood films.
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In a career spanning over twenty five years, Kumar has appeared in over a hundred films and has won several awards, including the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in Rustom (2016), and two Filmfare Awards for Ajnabee (2001) and Garam Masala (2005).Kumar is one of the most prolific actors of Indian cinema, having starred in 110 films,including 29 commercially successful films. He was the first Bollywood actor whose films' domestic net lifetime collectionscrossed ₹2,000 crore (US$280 million) by 2013, and ₹3,000 crore (US$420 million) by 2016. Having done so, he has established himself as one of the prominent actors of Hindi cinema. When he began his acting career in the 1990s, he primarily starred in action films. Later, Kumar also gained fame for his drama, romantic and comic roles.
Apart from acting, Kumar has worked as a stunt actor; he has often performed many dangerous stunts in his films, which has earned him the sobriquet "Indian Jackie Chan". In 2008, he hosted the show Fear Factor – Khatron Ke Khiladi. In 2009, he founded the Hari Om Entertainmentproduction company  and Grazing Goat Pictures production company in 2012. In 2014, Kumar launched the TV reality show Dare 2 Dance. He also owns the team Khalsa Warriors in the World Kabaddi League. As of August 2018, he is the seventh-highest-paid actor in the world, according to Forbes.
In 2008, the University of Windsor conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Kumar in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema. In 2009, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. In 2011, The Asian Awards honored Kumar for his outstanding achievement in cinema.
Early life and background
Kumar was born in Amritsar, India to Hari Om Bhatia and Aruna Bhatia in a Punjabifamily. His father was an army officer.From a young age, Kumar was very interested in sports. His father too enjoyed wrestling. He lived and grew up in Delhi's Chandni Chowkand later he moved to Mumbai when his father left Army to become an accountant with UNICEF. Soon, his sister was born and the family lived in Koliwada, a Punjabi dominated area of Central Mumbai. He received his school education from Don Bosco School, simultaneously learning Karate. He enrolled in Mumbai's Guru Nanak Khalsa College for higher education, but dropped out as he was not much interested in studies. He requested his father that he wanted to learn martial arts further, and his father somehow saved money to send him to Thailand. Kumar went to Bangkok to learn martial arts and lived in Thailand for five years learning Thai Boxing. Kumar also has a sister, Alka Bhatia. When Kumar was a teenager, his father asked him what he aspired to be. Kumar expressed his desire to become an actor.
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. After Thailand, Kumar went to work in Kolkata in a travel agency, in Dhaka in a hotel and Delhi where he sold Kundan jewellery. Upon his return to Mumbai, he commenced the teaching of martial arts.
During this time, the father of one of his students, himself a model co-ordinator, recommended Kumar into modelling which ultimately led to a modelling assignment for a furniture showroom. Kumar effectively made more money within the first two days of shooting than in his entire month's salary, and therefore chose a modelling career path. He worked as an assistant for photographer Jayesh Sheth for 18 months without payment to shoot his first portfolio. He also worked as a background dancer in various films. One morning, he missed his flight for an ad-shoot in Bangalore. Disappointed with himself, he visited a film studio along with his portfolio. 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). In the same year, he acted in Kishore Vyas-directed Dancer, which received poor reviews. The following year he starred in Abbas Mustan-directed suspense thriller, Khiladi, widely considered his breakthrough role. His next release was the Raj Sippy-directed detective film Mr. Bond, based on James Bond. His last release of 1992 was Deedar. It failed to perform well at the box office. In 1993, he acted in the Keshu Ramsay-directed bilingual film Ashaant (released in Kannada as Vishnu-Vijaya) and starring Dr. Vishnuvardhan, Ashwini Bhave and Ashutosh Rana. All of his films released during 1993, including Dil Ki Baazi, Kayda Kanoon, Waqt Hamara Hai and Sainik did not perform well commercially.In 1994, he played a police inspector in two films: Sameer Malkan-directed remake of Hollywood film The Hard Way, Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Rajiv Rai-directed Mohra which were among the highest-grossing films of the year. Later that year, he starred in Yash Chopra-produced romance, Yeh Dillagiopposite Kajol. His role in the film earned Kumar his first nomination for Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards and Star Screenaward. 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 appeared in 11 feature films.
The following year, Kumar played dual role in Umesh Mehra-directed 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 film of the Khiladi series, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi opposite Rekha and Raveena Tandon. The film was a commercial success. During the film's shooting Kumar was injured. He received treatment in United States.
Kumar played a supporting role in Yash Chopra-directed romance, Dil To Pagal Hai(1997), co-starring Shah Rukh 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 starred opposite Juhi Chawla in David Dhawan-directed comedy Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi, fifth instalment of the Khiladi series. Unlike his previous films of the series, it failed commercially. His following releases failed commercial and this caused a setback to his film career. In 1999, Kumar played opposite Twinkle Khanna in International Khiladi. The film turned out to be an average grosser at the box office. He 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 commercial success and marked his comeback.
In 2000, Kumar 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." 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 critical 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, co-starring Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, Aditya Pancholi, Sushmita Sen and Paresh Rawal. His performance in the film was critically acclaimed. Next, he starred in the Vikram Bhatt-directed comedy Awara Paagal Deewana. 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 Munish[Armaan] 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 Kumar starred in Rajkumar Santoshi's action drama thriller Khakee alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn and Aishwarya Rai. Kumar played the role of Inspector Shekhar Verma, a corrupt, morally bankrupt cop who changes himself during a mission to transfer an accused Pakistani spyDr. Iqbal Ansari (played by Atul Kulkarni) from a remote town in Maharashtra to Mumbai. 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 releases 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. Upon release it received negative reviews from critics.Next, Kumar played Hari Om Patnaik, an IPSofficer 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. He played the role of Sunny, Sameer (played by Khan)'s roommate who pursuits Rani (played by Chopra)-Sameer's love interest. 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, Aitraazwas 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 Aitraazwas the boldest film he had done. In the latter he starred opposite Sridevi. The film was shot in 1994 but was released in 2004 after a delay of 10 years.
The next year Kumar starred in Dharmesh Darshan-directed romantic drama musical film Bewafaa opposite Kareena Kapoor. He played the role of Raja, an aspiring musician who pursues his love interest Anjali (played by Kareena Kapoor) even after she is married to Aditya Sahai (played by Anil Kapoor). The film received mixed reviews from film critic but Kumar was praised for his acting. Anupama Chopra of India Today wrote that "Kareena Kapoor and Kumar stand out." Taran Adarsh wrote "Akshay Kumar does well in a role that fits him like a glove." Later that year he acted in Vipul Amrutlal Shah's family drama Waqt: The Race Against Time alongside Amitabh Bachchan, another Priyadarshan-directed comedy Garam Masala alongside John Abraham. Waqt: The Race Against Timewas a family drama film. The film and Kumar's acting received mixed reviews. 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 officeand his performance in the latter earned him his second Filmfare Award, for Best Comedian. His other films included Vikram Bhatt-directed action comedy romance film Deewane Huye Paagal and Suneel Darshan directed romantic drama Dosti: Friends Forever. In the former he starred alongside Shahid Kapoor, Sunil Shetty and Rimi Senwhile in the latter he starred alongside Kareena Kapoor and Bobby Deol. Both of these films received positive reviews.
Kumar's first release of 2006 was Rajkumar Santoshi-directed drama 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 and Preity Zinta 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. The film received mostly negatively reviews. Vidya Pradhan of Rediff.com called it a "bizarre movie." Though the film under-performed, his role as a shy, lovable nerd was praised.He ended the year with Priyadarshan's comedy murder mystery film Bhagam Bhag. He starred alongside Lara Dutta, Govinda and Paresh Rawal and played the character of a theatre actor. The film received mixed reviews and Rediff.com called Kumar the real hero of the film. The film was commercially successful. The same year, he led the Heat 2006 world tour along with fellow stars Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Sushmita Sen and Celina Jaitley