Akshay Kumar (born Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia on September 9, 1967) is an Indian Bollywood film actor. He has appeared in over 80 Hindi language films.
During the 90s, Kumar was primarily described as the action hero of Bollywood, starring in hit action films such as Khiladi (1992), Mohra (1994) and Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995), and being particularly known for his "Khiladi Series". However, he was simultaneously recognised for his performances in romantic films like Yeh Dillagi (1994) and Dhadkan (2000) as well as dramatic films such as Ek Rishtaa (2001), showing his versatility to perform a range of roles.
In 2002, he won his first Filmfare Award under the Best Villain category, for his performance in Ajnabee (2001). Willing to change his intransigent image, Kumar later ventured mostly into comedy films. His comic performances in films such as Hera Pheri (2000), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Garam Masala (2005) and Jaan-E-Mann (2006) met with critical acclaim. His success further rose in 2007, when he starred in four consecutive commercial hits. Having done so, he has established himself as one of the prominent actors of the Hindi film industry.
Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia was born to a middle class Punjabi family in Amritsar (Punjab). His father was a government worker. From a very young age, he was recognised as a performer, particularly as a dancer. Kumar was raised in Delhi's Chandni Chowk neighbourhood before moving to Mumbai. In Mumbai, he lived in Koliwada, which was another Punjabi dominated area.] He studied at Don Bosco School and then Khalsa College, where he took an interest in sports.
He studied martial arts in Bangkok and worked as a chef. He then came back to Mumbai, where he started teaching martial arts. One of his students happened to be a photographer and recommended him to do modelling. The student gave him a modelling assignment for a small company. For his two hours posing in front of the camera, he got Rs. 5,000, compared to his previous salary of Rs. 4,000 in one month. That was one of the main reasons why he chose to be a model. After a couple of months of modelling, Kumar was finally offered a lead role by producer Pramod Chakravarthy for the movie Deedar.