Megastar Akshay Kumar has done several different roles in Bollywood during a successful career spanning nearly 25 years so far.
Megastar Akshay Kumar has done several different roles in Bollywood during a successful career spanning nearly 25 years so far. But on his recent visit to the capital, he turned life guru for entrepreneurs at EO Delhi’s RIE —ZindaDilli 2016. He spoke about his life, his parents, his principles, his wife, martial arts and more. Excerpts:
Body is like a temple “I am going to turn 50 soon and I can tell you with all surety that I have never taken fitness too seriously, unlike what people may perceive of me. I am not a fitness freak. I spare only about 45 minutes to one hour in a day to work out. That’s all. My life’s mantra stands something like this: if you cannot spare one hour from your 24-hour schedule to work on your health, then kill your body right now because you are disrespecting it in a huge way. If you wish to be healthy, you must learn to interpret and reinterpret your body’s messages, needs and most importantly learn to respect it. I don’t believe in dieting either. I eat whatever my mother cooks for me. Ma ke haath ke khaane se behtar is duniya mein kuch bhi nahin hai; koi product nahin hai; koi company nahin hai aur koi restaurant nahin hai,” he affirms. But it’s the era of eight-packs. Does he admire any of the hot bodies from his own fraternity and consider them his competitors “I like naturally-built bodies,” he says.
Akshay adds, “I don’t dig eight-packs. They are unhealthy, unnatural, unreasonable, unnecessary and fake. They have become a fashionable commodity these days with every second person flaunting them, but trust me when I say that they are useless. One punch and you are out. My makeup man, who is also an Ayurvedic doctor, is my guide to fitness besides my mother. I consume all things natural and herbal. I don’t understand steroids or pills or diet plans to build a body. Instead, take your inspiration from wrestlers and kabbadi players or martial artists...look at their natural bodies if you want a body idol. I personally like their strong, natural and real bodies.”
The combat king Akshay, as we know, had immersed himself in learning several different forms of martial arts even before he started his career in acting. So, how has it changed his attitude or affected his temperament, mentality and perspective “Martial arts have changed my outlook towards life by 360 degrees. I actually want to appeal to the government to make it a compulsory subject in each and every school with each and every student learning the art. Countries like Israel, Malaysia, Singapore and many more have made it a point to teach martial arts compulsorily in schools. Unfortunately, we are a step behind in this matter. Yes, history, geography and mathematics are important. But so is the art of defending oneself or self-defence. Learning it will make a lot of difference to a child’s attitude and outlook towards life,” he asserts.
Have they (martial arts) affected his energy in different ways too Was he a gunda before he learnt the art of discipline “Oh, well I don’t know about all that stuff. But it has definitely made me an even bigger gunda from the time when I didn’t know the tradition of combat practice. Jokes apart, let me tell you my own personal experience about what exactly martial arts can do to you — you see, when a child has just begun to learn the art, for at least 2-3 years expect him to become aggressive or violent. Why Because it (martial arts) is powerful, interesting and fascinating; it’s a tool that will open up a lot of boundaries or barriers from within and outside — physically and mentally. However, do you know what happens after that initial period of 2-3 years The child starts to become calm; he becomes like a monk, an enlightened being. That’s the real power of martial arts. It improves the child’s general health, and likewise improves his/her emotional health with increased self-esteem and self-confidence as well as decreased tension, stress, anxiety and depression,” proudly shares the black belt action hero, who is also a self-proclaimed Parkour enthusiast. “Parkour is a holistic way of crossing obstacles by running, climbing, swinging, rolling and other bodily movements. It is a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. If your child ever conveys his desire to learn it, please encourage him/her,” he adds.
Party nahi chalegi “I am not saying parties are wrong or attending parties will make you a bad person,” avers Akki who in his starlit Bollywood life has only attended 6-7 Bollywood parties and is known to avoid all talked-about Bolly bashes. He explains, “It’s just that I have been brought up by my parents in a way that theories and concepts regarding family, close friends, etc. are entirely different and not to be taken lightly or be given a secondary status. Kya karunga party karke I’d rather spend time with my family. I get up in the morning around 4-4.30 and sleep by 8.30-9.”
Falling and rising The actor shares, “I have done 100 plus movies now. However, there was a time when I had given 14 flops in a row. But believe it or not, even after those 14 flops falling down with a domino effect, I still had work. I had never gotten into a situation where I was compelled to sit idle. I had four movies under production and producers further gave me work. You know why I’ll let you in on the secret behind that: punctuality. This word will stay with me forever. I don’t consider myself a good actor. But it is only because of my punctuality, packed with determination and hard work, that has done wonders to my life and career. Determination pushes you to go higher in life. Never lose hope and follow your dreams.”
Daddy’s young boy “My father has been the biggest influence on my life,” he recalls while talking about his dad, whom he lost about 14 years ago. “He was the best father. And I am not saying this because we as children are supposed to say that about our parents, but he was genuinely the best human being I have ever come across. He was one of those people who stand by you no matter what. When I wanted to pursue sports, he used to be my waterman. He used to come to my practice, bring water/juice/milk, etc. not only for me but also for my teammates as well as for the players from the opposing team. He was that kind of a man. And that’s one of the biggest reasons that I had opened my own company in his name. I always tell my son Aarav that whatever I am today is solely because of my father,” he shares.
Mrs Funnybones and being the butt of her jokes Akshay got married to Twinkle Khanna, former actress, interior designer, author and newspaper columnist, who in her columns writes about or refers to Akki as the man of the house and regularly takes digs at him. What are the real dynamics between Mrs. Funnybones and action-star Mr. Khiladi
He laughs, “She is quite the opposite of what I am. She is a bookworm whereas I steer clear of reading. Yaar mere aansu aa jate hain book dekh ke. I can only read scripts and agreements. I am good at that. The only similarity between both of us is that we get up really early in the morning.” Any relationship advice for a healthy marriage “Do what she says, listen to her carefully and give her what she wants. I am no different than a common man when it comes to dealing with the woman of the house. Bhai, I am quite a disciplined, obedient and domesticated husband,” he laughs again and adds, “These are the best tips one can follow. Follow all of them and you will have a happy house.” Does he struggle with coming up with anniversary, birthday, Valentine’s Day gifts, etc. too “Oh well, women are difficult to please. And they are difficult to decode. Once, I remember, I surprised Twinkle with a beautiful Bentley but she point blank said that she doesn’t like it. I mean it’s crazy. Ladies are hard to please. I keep on asking everyone I know for gifting ideas,” he signs off.