Mumbai, June 19 (IANS) Bollywood star Akshay Kumar credits the film industry for all the name, fame, accolades, adulation, lifestyle and luxury that he has garnered in over two decades, saying filmdom "means a lot" to him.
Ever since he started with "Saugandh" in 1991, he has never looked back and the career graph of the 45-year-old has always spiralled up.
"This is my bread and butter. This is where I started... I am very thankful to the industry. It means a lot to me. In fact, it means everything to me," Akshay told IANS in an exclusive interview.
Tagged as "one of the most profitable actors", he delivered mega hits "Housefull 2" and "Rowdy Rathore" last year, with both the films entering the Rs.100-crore club.
Asked about the new title, pat came the reply: "Who wouldn't want to be an actor who gives profits to all his producers and exhibitors?"
In the same breath, he added: "I feel honoured with this compliment. Thank you very much for it."
There is a lot of talk about the quality of content in films, but box office numbers are important for survival, he said.
"It is important for you to survive. It is important for the distributors and exhibitors to be happy. At the end of the day, these are the people who matter to you. The box office does matter, no matter what everyone says," he explained.
As a beginner, he earned the tag of an action star after the hit "Khiladi" series including "Khiladi" and "Main Khiladi Tu Anari". Subsequently he moved to drama and comedy with "Waqt - Race Against Time" and "Hera Pheri".
With "Khiladi 786" and "Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Dobara", he is back to the action genre and confesses: "I enjoy action with comedy."
"But this film ('Once Upon...') is about romance and action. It is a deadly combination. I have enjoyed working in it. It is a different kind of genre. I am looking forward to the release," he said.
Milan Luthria-directed underworld drama "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara" , would release Aug 15 to take advantage of the Independence Day holiday. It also stars Imran Khan and Sonakshi Sinha.
Asked about the box-office prospects of the film, he said: "I have worked hard in the film. I don't know whether I will achieve it or not, but I am very confident that people will like it and that is more important. I have been very honest with my work."
He attended the India-Pakistan Champions Trophy match in London on Saturday to promote his film.
"I don't know if it will help or not. It surely helped me to have fun and that is what I went for," he said.
Hectic shooting schedules and endorsements keep Akshay, who is married to actress Twinkle Khanna, on his toes. Therefore, he keeps his free time for his children - Aarav and Nitara.
"I play with my children in my free time," he said.
(Anjuri Nayar can be contacted at email@example.com)