April 9, 2010

‘I want a National Award for Akshay’ - Twinkle


Wednesday night, and it’s dinner time at the sea-facing Juhu residence of Tina and Akshay Kumar. She’s eating elegantly with her fingers, Frank Sinatra is singing Strangers In The Night, but Akshay is in the kitchen ordering halwa. I know he’s also slyly checking on what’s happening at the Eden Gardens where Kolkata’s killing Delhi in the IPL. He’s crazy about cricket. And, being savvy about finance and figures and people, he knows instinctively when a match is being thrown. Bollywood’s action star is a different man at home. He’s just completed Housefull and Action Replayy, but is busy shooting for Khatta Meetha and Tees Maar Khan, and will soon begin Patiala House and Thank-You. Right now, he’s chilling out in between schedules.

The couple spend time walking their garden, hand-in-hand, sipping drinks. “When he thinks I’m not looking, he chucks the wine in the bushes,” Tina complains. And Akshay also makes a valiant attempt at taking son Aarav’s homework because Tina is busy with an exhibition that begins today. “I get a call at work, and Akshay wants to know what’s a noun and what’s an adjective,” Tina laughs, “then when I get home, I find the homework is all wrong!”

She talks about her exhibition, it’s of a holiday line at her designer store White Window in Bandra, and you can pick up everything you will need on a summer vacation here from kaftans, beachwear and glamorous night clothes to jewellery, makeup pouches and trendy business card holders. Only for women. “The men can help themselves elsewhere,” Tina says. Akshay knows what all is going up on the exhibition. “It all comes home, I have to see it once, whether I like it or not,” he says wryly. But actually, he’s hugely supportive of her work, he thinks she’s amazing at what she does, and is proud that she’s one of our leading interior designers. “She’s designed this whole place,” he says sweeping an arm around their tastefully decorated home, “my contribution has only been silence.”

What he’s not saying is that Tina, well, has also ‘designed’ him and given him a stylish edge, a touch of class that he never had. Like what Victoria did to David Beckham. “I did a normal wife thing... it was not a deliberate attempt to style Akshay, it’s like what I do for my son,” Tina protests, “but the principles were the same as at work, there was a good, clear-cut foundation, and it was well accessorised!” She herself, is one of India’s classiest women, faultless in her dress sense, stylish in her ways, impeccable in her manners. She shops everywhere, from designers to high street and vintage stores to flea markets. “Again, my principles of dressing up are the same as at business, I prefer clear-cut silhouettes with an infusion of colours and an Indianness introduced in western clothes,” she explains.

Dinner is over, Sinatra has retired for the night, and we are sipping coffee. Aarav breezes through the room and waves to us. “What are you, the Prime Minister,” Akshay calls out to his son. I ask her how she rates him as an actor, husband and father on a scale of 1 to 10. Without hesitation Tina replies, “Seven as an actor, 9 as a husband and 11 as a father.” Akshay preens himself, but he would rather the after-dinner conversation be on his wife. He is a wise man, he will not rate her, but he loves talking about how she designs people’s homes, does hotels, boutiques, restaurants, stores, for Bollywood’s most famous, for celebs, industrialists. Her clients could be anybody. “They come to me because they like my work, or because of who I am, and sometimes they just walk into the store to pick up something and then end up getting me to do their whole house,” Tina says.

She meets clients personally, demands to see their plans, because for her the structure of the place is most important. “My ability is to divide and cut space to maximise,” she reveals, “but it’s not my way or the highway, I try to make the client happy, but not to a degree where I compromise on my sense of aesthetics. If I don’t believe in a client’s plan, and I can’t convince them to change, then I will give up their work.” Akshay leans over to whisper, “She’s clear and straightforward, Hafeez Contractor says good things about her work, look at the way she keeps the house, takes care of our son, manages her business, deals with the staff... I don’t think a man can ask for more.”

Clearly, Akshay Kumar is a content man, he’s at the top of his career, one of Bollywood’s most saleable stars and highest earners, he’s got a beautiful and successful wife, an adorable son, and a cosy and comfortable home, he may not want more. But Tina does. For herself, a White Window store in Delhi, one internationally, she has a clear picture of where she wants to be at different phases of her life. “At 60, dressed in jeans and short white kurtas, making and selling things, maybe with a restaurant to keep Akshay who will be in rocking chair occupied,” she laughs. And for him, she only wants a National Award. “He’s a simple, hard-working guy, very focussed in his work, incredibly smart, but he’ll never pretend to be more than what he is. It’s my ambition that he gets the National Award. I have a shelf ready for it,” she says. And he gives her the killer Khiladi smile.


Rajiv said...

I want a pizza for dinner.

Pardesi said...

I want instant teleportation, when can I have that?

Anonymous said...

yeah after Arjun Rampal won national award , everybody in bw will want National award .

Pardesi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pardesi said...

Arjun won for supporting actor for Rock on! in a role that all praised highly. People should realize that National award is for a specific role, and NOT some lifetime achievement thing. On both counts what justification is there for Akshay? BUT after getting a PadmaShree can a National be far behind?

Rajiv said...


Actually the PadmaShree is given for various reasons. Normally when a film star whose acting credentials are questionable is still given this award. Its more to do with his influece in society as a superstar. But even that is questionable - what positive change do stars like Akki bring to society? - none, imo.

The most laughable award given to a celebrity in recent times has to be Aamir´s Padma Bushan. LOL!

If the criteria to award a citizen with a Padma Bhushan is making socially relevant films ( TZP ) and getting a movie nominated for an Oscar ( not winning lol just nomination ) then I guess if someday an Indian director wins an Oscar or a politican reforms the education system he should win the Bharat Ratna.

Pardesi said...

Read on Twitter:


Dear @anupamachopra: If Akshay Kumar gets the National Award, I'm marrying Shoaib and moving to Pakistan.
about 13 hours ago via web

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