Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia aka Akshay Kumar is a film producer, actor and martial artist appeared in around a hundred Bollywood films. The Delhi-born actor was known as a dancer and performer. He was born on September 9, 1967 to Aruna Bhatia and Hari Om Bhatia, who was an army officer. He lived in Chandni Chowk till the age of 3 years before shifting to Mumbai. He lived in a Punjabi-occupied area Koliwada in Mumbai. He did his schooling in Don Bosco School and he enrolled for higher education in Guru Nanak Khalsa College Mumbai. He was a college drop-out. He moved to Bangkok for martial art training. When he was a teenager he told his father that he wants to become an actor.
After getting Black Belt in Taekwondo in India, he got martial art training in Bangkok where he also worked as a waiter and chef and learned Muay Thai. When he returned back, he started teaching martial arts. He was recommended to venture into modeling by one of his students, who was a wannabe photographer. Ultimately, he landed to modeling assignment. Within the first 2 days, he made a lot of money when compared to his monthly salary. Hence, he chose the path of modeling. He also became a background dancer in several films. One day, he had to go for an ad shoot in Bangalore. Unfortunately he missed the flight. While feeling disappointed, he visited a studio with portfolio. In evening, producer Promod Chakravarthy signed him for a lead role for Deedar.
He won Filmfare Awards two times and nominated for it several times. He initially started out with action films in the 1990s and became popular as Khiladi Kumar because of his lead roles in “Khiladi” series and other action films like Mohra (1994), Waqt Hamara Hai (1993), Elaan (1994), Sapoot (1996), Suhaag (1994) and Jaanwar (1999). Later on, he became famous for his romantic, drama, comic and action roles. He also performed well in romantic hits like Dhadkan (2000), Yeh Dillagi (1994), Namastey London (2007) and Andaaz (2003), drama films like Waqt: Race Against Time (2005), and comedy films like Mujhse Shadi Karogi (2004), Hera Pheri (2000), Garam Masala (2005), Phir Hera Pheri (2006), Bhagam Bhag (2006), Singh is King (2008), and Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007).
In 2007, he starred in 4 commercially successful films constantly. He had few unsuccessful films from 2009 to 2011 but came back with Rowdy Rathore (2012) and Housefull 2 (2012) and both of them collected around US $15 million. He did other commercially and critically successful films like Special 26 (2013), OMG (2012) and Holiday (2014). According to several media outlets, the net collection of his films in box office crossed over US $300 million. He was the only and first Bollywood actor who did it. He is listed among the most successful Bollywood actors by Box Office India. He has been established well as the topmost actor in Indian Cinema.
You may also like: Child Artists Who Became Bollywood Stars
Along with acting, he also was a stunt actor and performed several threatening stunts by himself in his films, for which he is titled as “Indian Jackie Chan”. He hosted Fear Factor – Khatron Ke Khiladi in 2008. He founded his own production house Hari Om Entertainment in 2009. He was conferred as an Honorary Doctorate of Law by the University of Windsor in 2008 for his contribution to industry. The Government of India awarded him with Padma Shri. He was honored for his amazing achievements in Indian Cinema by the Asian Awards in 2011. He founded Grazing Goat Pictures in 2012. He is ranked 9th in the list of highest paid actors worldwide by Forbes, with US $33.5 million, leaving behind Hollywood actors Johnny Depp, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.