He may be one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, but Kumar (47) is refreshingly humble. Having made over 125 movies, he’s also passionate about martial arts – but it’s his love for his family that keeps him grounded.
It was completely by chance that I entered the film industry. On returning from Bangkok, where I trained in martial arts, a student of mine put me forward for some modelling. Through that, I was noticed by a filmmaker who cast me in my debut movie, Saugandh. The response I got was unanticipated and my film career catapulted from there. It’s all been a blessing and I’ve never looked back.
As an actor, you have to be like a sponge, absorbing everything you can. Through my extensive travels, I’ve seen some astounding places and experienced many different cultures and ways of life; it’s impossible not to be changed by them. Seeing the very best and worst of a place really puts life into perspective and I often try to bring these influences and sights into my acting. I’ve played a wide variety of characters and I try to emulate people I’ve met along the way.
I want to use martial arts for the greater good. At the Akshay Kumar Kudo Tournament [the biggest martial arts movement in Indian karate], kids are allowed to participate free of charge. I believe every child should have the opportunity to do something they love. We’ve also started free self-defence classes for women, to counter the threats they face in India.
KUMAR’S FAVOURITE DESTINATIONS
“Goa’s one of the best places I’ve holidayed in – the ideal destination for family time. We also love New York, London, Rome and many other cities. However, there’s one very special place for me: Cape Town. I’ll use any excuse to shoot a film or TV show there, because it’s one of the most beautiful and vibrant places on the planet, especially for a family.”