New Delhi: Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, who has often been criticised for having Canadian citizenship despite claiming to be an ardent patriot, has said he has applied for an Indian passport.
Speaking at the ‘Hindustan Times Leadership Summit’ Friday, the 52-year-old actor claimed he never thought he would need a document to prove his “Indian-ness”.
Kumar’s citizenship had come under intense scrutiny after he did not vote during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The matter also became a topic of debate after he conducted a “non-political” interview of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April during the elections.
Kumar had said at the time that he had never denied having a Canadian passport.
‘Feel sad that I have to show a passport to prove I’m an Indian’
Talking about the circumstances under which he applied for Canadian passport, Kumar said: “There was a time when 14 films of mine had flopped and I thought that I might have to take up something else to support myself.”
The actor said, at that point, one of his closest friends, who stays in Canada, asked him to come there. “He said we will work together on something. He is also Indian but stays there. Then I started my process, got my passport and other stuff because I thought my career has ended,” he added.
“…My 15th film worked and after that, I never looked back. I kept going on and on. But I never thought of getting my passport replaced,” he added.
But after his citizenship became a matter of controversy, the actor said, he decided to replace his passport. “I have now applied for it because I feel sad that people have stuck to this point that I have to show my passport to prove that I’m an Indian. It hurts me. So I don’t want to give anyone an opportunity and so I have applied for it,” he said.
“My wife (actor-turned-writer Twinkle Khanna) is Indian and my son (Aarav) is Indian. Everyone in my family is Indian. I pay all my taxes here. My life is here but some people want to say something, so it’s ok,” he added.
‘PM Modi was taken aback by the questions I asked’
The actor also opened up about his controversial interview with PM Modi.
“I was one of the lucky people to have got the opportunity to do an interview with the PM,” he said. “I went without any kind of preparation. I just went in and asked him questions as a common person. It was about whatever came into my head.”
Kumar said even the PM was “taken aback” by the questions he asked, insisting that the interview wasn’t scripted.
“Would they brief me that I ask the PM about mangoes? Do you believe that they would brief me like this? Even he was a little taken aback when I asked him all this. I just asked him normal questions and not anything related to policies and other stuff because a lot of journalists have done that,” Kumar added. “And he was sweet enough to answer everything. He could have easily said ‘throw him out’.”
(Edited by Debalina Dey)