Some people have it fairly easy in life. They’re born in decently well to-do families if not the opulently luxurious ones, stroll through school and college with quite an ease, find their calling early on in life and land up their dream jobs only to march their way to super success. Yes, they work hard but life doesn’t really present too many hurdles in their path. These people have what you call an easy life.
However, Akshay Kumar is NOT one of those people.
He may be a National Award-winning actor and recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri along with being one of the most profitable actors in Bollywood but life for Akshay has been anything but easy.
Born in a typical Punjabi middle-class family, Akshay’s early years weren’t spent dreaming about the arc-lights or trying to find a way to enter Bollywood.
Just like any other regular kid, he too was encouraged to focus on academics though he was quite popular as a dancer. Leading an ordinary life, it would’ve never occurred to him to even try acting a serious shot. Passionate about martial arts, a young Rajiv Bhatia was simply going about life like most people around.
However, it was in college when he decided to give his life a different turn. He decided to halt his studies and went to Bangkok, Thailand to pursue Martial Arts. It was a gamble, especially for a young guy who didn’t belong to an influential family and had little financial backing to pay for his risks.
But his heart was stuck on learning Muay Thai and that was exactly what he did. Though chasing his dreams did come at a hefty price for Akshay as he went about doing all kinds of odd jobs to support his training. From working as a waiter to then graduating to a chef, Akshay did whatever he could to earn money in a country that was as alien to him as its language.
Thankfully, he came back to India with the now-famous black belt in Taekwondo. But did that pave an easier path for him? Not at all.
In our country, especially back in the late 80s and early 90s, alternate careers weren’t exactly encouraged. He may have been a black belt-holder but Akshay had to go through a major rigmarole of juggling different jobs before he finally found something substantial to do.
He first worked as a peon in Calcutta and later, moved to Dhaka for a salesman’s position. Next, he came back to Delhi to work as a jewellery trader. And after a couple of years of doing things he wasn’t interested in, he managed to get a job as a martial arts teacher in Mumbai.
It wasn’t the career trajectory he desired but at that point in time, he was willing to take up whatever came his way. When you’ve got bills to pay, there’s little scope for being selective with work.
However, destiny had something big planned for Akshay. And moving to Mumbai was just the first step in that direction.
In no time, he started getting suggestions to try his hand at modeling. He had the looks and the physique and his students suggested he get a portfolio shot. Ever willing to try something new if that could help him better his financial condition, Akshay went forth. But like most professions, he had to slog it out. Not many know this but Akshay worked as an assistant to photographer Jayesh Sheth for 18 months for free just to get his portfolio shot!
Once he had his portfolio, he went about giving auditions and before he knew, assignments started pouring in. Around that time, he also worked as a background dancer in Hindi films. Soon, he was making enough and more money to afford a better lifestyle for himself. But this was just a stepping stone for something bigger. Only Akshay didn’t know it at that time!
In an interesting twist of fate, he missed his flight to Bangalore for a modeling assignment and feeling majorly dissapointed, he went on a round of film studios with his portfolio hoping to make the most of his day and time.
That something turned out to be film offer from producer Pramod Chakravarthy who signed Akshay as the leading man for his film Deedar.
Making his film debut in 1991, Akshay has been successfully working in Bollywood for over 25 years now.
Dismissed as a ‘wooden’ actor in the beginning, Akshay was relegated to doing action roles in masala films. Though he gave hit-after-hit, somehow, the media only spoke about his rumoured relationships with the actresses of that time. He may have earned the tag of Khiladi Kumar from his fans but no A-list producer was willing to offer him a role.
But despite all the naysayers, Akshay continued to work hard and focus on his work. And in the early 2000s, turned into a funnyman with an impeccable comic timing proving even his fiercest critics wrong.
In the past few years, Akshay has shown a serious interest in experimentation. Gone are the days of doing typically mainstream films; he now wants to do a variety of subjects that either bring out the desh-bhakht in you or promote a relevant social cause. It’s an interesting move for an actor once considered not credible enough.
From a rank outsider who didn’t belong to an illustrious family to one of the most successful actors of his time, Akshay’s journey has been all about hard work, dedication and lots of ups and downs.
He’s also one of the most socially-responsible celebrities in the country, voicing his opinions and concerns on every important issue and going all out to his bit for the causes he believes in.
Having worked as a waiter in Thailand to now entering the list of the world’s 10 highest paid actors for 2017, as per Forbes magazine, Akshay has certainly achieved extraordinary success in his life.
Not bad for a man who once did odd jobs just to make ends meet, right? As they say, hard work can take any one a long, long way in life!