Akshay Kumar has spent three decades in Bollywood, maneuvering different kinds of films and roles. From action films like the Khiladi series to comedies like Housefull and Hera Pheri, and in more recent years, films that have a social message or a purpose attached like Good News, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Pad Man. Over the years, the actor has collaborated with several actors and filmmakers, including quite a few debutants, but was rarely at fraternal gatherings and parties.
When asked if he has really made friends in the business, Akshay says, “Yes, I have friends here, but the ones I really hang out with are my old buddies from school, college and the building where I once stayed. I cherish their presence in my life. Pre-lockdown, we would meet once a month; it was a ritual. They’re huge cinema buffs and they would watch almost every film that released in theatres. The best part is that they don’t and they never have sugarcoated their thoughts. They’re such pure critics! I respect all the critics and what they have to say, but the analysis my friends give me is bang on. For them, I’m Rajiv or Bhatia. They call me after a film is over, and tell me, “Bhatia, picture bekaar hai!” or “Mazaa aaya” or “Bhatia, theek hai…” When they say bekaar hai, I know it’s not good news. They continue to amaze me with the kind of observations they make about cinema. I value them immensely.”