- Birthday: 09. September 1967
- Birthplace: Amritsar, Punjab, India
Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia (born 9 September 1967), better known by his stage name 'Akshay Kumar', is a Canadian actor, producer and martial artist who has appeared in over a hundred Hindi films. He has been nominated for Filmfare Awards several times, winning it two times. When he began his acting career in the 1990s, he primarily starred in action films and was known for his appearances in films of the "Khiladi series" as well as other action films such as Waqt Hamara Hai (1993), Mohra (1994), Elaan (1994), Suhaag (1994), Sapoot (1996), Jaanwar (1999).
Later, Kumar also gained fame for his drama, romance, action and comic roles. His performances in romance films like Yeh Dillagi (1994), Dhadkan (2000), Andaaz (2003) and Namastey London (2007), as well as drama films such as Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005). His comic performances in comedy films such as Hera Pheri (2000), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Garam Masala (2005), Bhagam Bhag (2006), Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), and Singh Is Kinng (2008) met with acclaim. In 2007, he starred in four consecutive commercially successful films. Kumar hit a rough patch since 2009 to 2011 but came back with two successes, Housefull 2 (2012) and Rowdy Rathore (2012) with both of them grossing over ₹1 billion (US$15 million). His other films like OMG (2012), Special 26 (2013), Holiday (2014), Gabbar Is Back (2015) and Airlift (2016) were highly successful critically and commercially. In February 2013, many media outlets reported that the net box-office collection of Kumar's films had crossed ₹20 billion (US$300 million) and he was the first and the only Bollywood actor to do so. Box Office India listed Kumar as one of the most successful actors in the history of Indian Cinema. Having done so, he has established himself as a leading contemporary actor of Hindi cinema.
Apart from acting, Kumar has also worked as a stunt actor; he has often performed many dangerous stunts in his films, which has earned him the sobriquet "Indian Jackie Chan". In 2008, he hosted the show Fear Factor – Khatron Ke Khiladi. The next year, he founded the Hari Om Entertainment production company. In 2008, the University of Windsor conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Law on Kumar in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema. The following year he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. In 2011 The Asian Awards honoured Kumar for his outstanding achievement in Cinema. In 2012 he founded another production company called Grazing Goat Pictures. In 2014, Kumar launched TV realty show Dare 2 Dance. He also owns the team Khalsa Warriors in the World Kabaddi League. In 2015, Kumar was ranked 9th in Forbes's first global list of highest-paid actors in the world with USD 33.5 million, earning more than Hollywood actors like Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Kumar was born in Amritsar, India to Hari Om Bhatia and Aruna Bhatia. His father Hari Om Bhatia was a military officer. From a young age, Kumar was recognised as a performer, particularly as a dancer. He lived and grew up in Delhi's Chandni Chowk and later he moved to Mumbai where he lived in Koliwada, a Punjabi dominated area. He received his school education from Don Bosco School and enrolled in Mumbai's Guru Nanak Khalsa College for higher education, but dropped out after an year and went to Bangkok to learn martial arts. Kumar also has a sister, Alka Bhatia. When Kumar was a teenager, his father asked him what he aspired to be. Kumar expressed his desire to become an actor.
After having obtained a black belt in Taekwondo while in India, he studied martial arts in Bangkok, Thailand, where he learned Muay Thai and worked as a chef and waiter. Upon his return to Mumbai, he commenced the teaching of martial arts. One of his students, an aspiring photographer, recommended Kumar into modelling which ultimately led to a modelling assignment. Kumar effectively made more money within the first two days of shooting, in comparison to his entire months salary, and therefore chose a modelling career path. He worked as an assistant for photographer Jayesh Sheth for 18 months without payment to shoot his first portfolio. He also worked as a background dancer in various films. One morning, he missed his flight for an ad-shoot in Bangalore. Disappointed with himself, he visited a film studio along with his portfolio. That evening, Kumar was signed for a lead role by producer Pramod Chakravarthy for the movie Deedar.