New Delhi: After courting controversy for his Canadian citizenship, it has now emerged that Hindi film actor Akshay Kumar owns a mansion in that country.
Canadian daily National Post Monday wrote in an article that Akshay has a mansion in Oakville, Ontario.
Akshay’s Canadian connection, however, goes deeper than just owning a mansion or a holding a passport.
In 2011, Akshay had campaigned for then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He had even dedicated his film Thank You to Harper as the movie was slotted for release around the same time in April that year. Images of him dancing with Harper’s wife Maureen added glitz to the election campaign.
“Canada and India are much closer today, not just business-wise, but also culturally, and this is all because of your leadership and commitment,” Akshay had told Harper and dozens of screaming fans at an event.
‘Toronto is my home’
Akshay was also heard saying in a video that after he retires from Bollywood, he would go back to Canada.
“Toronto is my home. After I retire from this industry, I’m going to come back here and stay here,” he is heard saying in the clip that was uploaded on YouTube in 2018, but it is unclear when and where Akshay made the statements.
“He had made a similar comment in a 2008 CBC interview where he talked of having his father treated for prostate cancer at Mississauga Trillium Hospital, and raising $1.5 million for the facility,” read the article in the National Post.
Akshay was also the “ambassador” in India for the Canadian Tourism Commission from 2010 to 2012.
“It’s unclear on what basis or when Kumar became a Canadian. An immigrant must have a permanent-resident status and have lived here for three of the previous five years to be eligible,” the article said.
“A 2005 Toronto Star story says he became a permanent resident in 2001, while Postmedia News reported in 2011 he was not a citizen. If, as he says, he’s been away from Canada for several years, that suggests he obtained the passport while Harper was prime minister,” says the article.
Akshay’s Canadian citizenship became a topic of debate after he conducted a ‘non-political’ interview of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.
Akshay even dodged questions about not voting in the Lok Sabha elections. But, a 2017 interview of him claiming to be an honorary citizen of Canada soon surfaced.
“I am an honorary (Canadian) citizen. I’ve been given an honorary thing. It’s a thing that people should be proud about,” he said in that interview.
However, his claim was exposed after it was found out that Ottawa has only named six individuals in the world so far as honorary Canadians.
Seeking to end the controversy over his citizenship, Akshay had put out a sternly-worded statement on Twitter on 3 May in which he called out the “unwarranted interest and negativity” over his citizenship. While he admitted to having a Canadian passport, he also asserted that he paid taxes in India.
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) May 3, 2019
Chinnaiah Jangam, a history professor of Carleton University, told the National Post: “As a Hindi-speaking hunk of sorts, he fits well with the BJP’s messaging, which includes both Hindu nationalism and a muscular Indian patriotism”.
“Akshay Kumar represents that sort of high-caste, Hindu male power,” said Jangam.