The Passionate Khiladi - Akshay Kumar : Passion to Paycheck
Someone once told him that — He would never make it big!
However, today he is the beloved Khiladi of B-Town, one of the highest paid actors who according to the Forbes list is earning more than some of the Hollywood actors like Dwayne Johnson, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Wow!!!
No brownie points for guessing who are we talking about. Of course, it is the kickass Kumar fella, Bollywood’s one and only — Akshay Kumar, who can jump off a chopper with as much ease as diving in a pool, not to forget to mention his irresistible charm that has captivated women of all ages.
Well, tinsel town can boast of several success stories, but Akki’s meteoric rise to stardom is not only inspiring but also remarkable.
From waiting tables in Thailand to donning the chef’s hat, from being a peon to trading in kudan jewellery, from being a martial arts instructor to a model, from being a background dancer to finally owning the center stage as a lead actor – our Akki boy has done it all, before he made a mark for himself in Bollywood.
The actor once said, “I’m like the Bollywood version of actor Channing Tatum, a background dancer-turned-front line performer. Who would have imagined that?” True, it is unimaginable, but as they say, nothing is impossible if you are powered by passion.
And if there is one thing that drives this action hero, it is his zeal to keep working. It undoubtedly has paid off. "If your work becomes your passion, you automatically get success," he quoted in an interview once.
Interestingly, the Airlift actor didn’t really harbor the dreams of becoming an actor initially.
After a brief stint at Bangkok, Akshay returned to India and started doing odd jobs for survival, which included working as a peon in a travel agency for a year and a half, followed by a six-month job in Dhaka and then trading in jewellery in Dehli. He even used to go door-to-door selling UNICEF cards and earned fifty paise per card at one point. And finally, he landed in the city of dreams – Bombay, and thus began his roller coaster affair with the glam world.
“I started teaching martial arts to school children. At that time, I didn´t have any clear picture of my future. I expected I would continue in the same way all through my life. I knew I was capable of doing any kind of work. I followed a simple principle: whichever offer promised a little more money than my current job, I jumped at it,” revealed the Singh Is Bliing actor in an interview. “One day I was offered a modeling assignment. I was made to sit in an air-conditioned room, and pose and make few faces. It was then that I realized that the world of glamour was amazing!”
The acting bug obviously bit him and there was no escape. He decided to turn his passion into a paycheck. But there was one tiny problem he was not connected to anyone in the film industry nor did he know of anyone who could help him get a break. However, Akshay Kumar who is currently working on his film Rustom had a simple mantra, which he believes in till date — “If you want to get somewhere in life, then do something about it. Don’t wait for someone to hold your hand and do it for you. Create your own path.”
So instead of hunting for godfathers, the Gabbar Is Back star, who is also one of the biggest producers of the industry today, became an assistant to photographer Jayesh Sheth. After working with him for eight months, in place of remuneration, he asked him to shoot his portfolio.
Once he had his pictures ready, he began dropping them in producers’ offices and simultaneously picked up random modeling assignments.
He narrated the incident that is responsible for the star he has become today at one of the talk shows, “I remember I was chosen to go to Bangalore to do an ad shoot. I was told to come to the airport at 5:30 and was signed for Rs. 11,000, which at that time was a big amount. It was an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I was very excited.” But things were not destined to work out the way Akshay had planned. The actor added, “Suddenly, early morning next day, I got a call asking, ‘kahan hai tu bewakoof, we are all waiting at the airport. Where are you?' Actually, there was some confusion. They told me to report at the airport at 5:30 in the morning and I misunderstood it. I thought I had to reach there in the evening. They told me that people like me who are so unprofessional in life can never make it big. I cried a lot, I felt all my dreams had shattered."
However, the Housefull star was not the types to give up so easily. After crying his heart out, he pulled himself up and went about his usual round of distributing pictures at production houses. That day he chose to go to Natraj studio, where his destiny was waiting for him. He was spotted by producer Pramod Chakravarthy and signed for a lead role for the movie Deedar instantly. He missed the 6 am flight but boarded his first flight to filmdom at 6 pm in the evening that very day.
Well, the journey had begun but success was still a far cry. All his initial films bombed at the box office and the critiques wrote him off as a failed actor. But Akki was determined and passionate about acting, he kept at it, took all the criticism in his stride and worked harder. And then the Khiladi series happened, which not only earned him the title of Khiladi Kumar but also proved to be a game changer.
It established him as the new action hero of Bollywood, who had his signature style of action stamped all over his films. Slowly but steadily he rose, cementing his foothold in the industry with each film and today Akshay Kumar is regarded as one of the most bankable actors in the industry who is also honored with a Padma Shri.
Well, following your passion is indeed worth all the time and effort. What say?