Akshay Kumar goes all out when he’s doing stunts for his movies, when he’s promoting them, and when he’s giving time to a good cause. He doesn’t like to mix them, though, as was apparent yesterday morning when the Khiladi Kumar was in Delhi. He carried the torch for the Special Olympics World Winter Games from Red Fort to Chandni Chowk, and, as it happens, the torch was to travel from Delhi to Shanghai in China on the next leg of its journey towards Idaho, USA. Akshay’s forthcoming movie is called Chandni Chowk To China, but Akki had refused to use his visit to talk about the film. However, there were apparently posters of the movie put up all over the venue by the production house, and Akki was reportedly upset with them over it. “He was very upset. He called Warner Bros and told them how he felt about it. He told them that he had come to Delhi for the Special Olympics and not for the promotion of his movie,” a source close to Akki said. A lot of posters of the movie were removed in the morning when the event was supposed to take place, but because of a shortage of time, not all of them could be removed.
Akki’s association with the Special Olympics goes back a while. “I had joined the Special Olympics as a brand ambassador in 2005. Then, we had only one lakh athletes, but today, we have 5,50,000 athletes. China has 6,00,000, a bit more than us, but we have made a promise to ourselves that we’ll have one million athletes in another two years. I hope that, in my own way, I can help create awareness about this,” he says. He narrates an incident that, he says, turned him into a fan of these special people. “There were these athletes from China, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and many other countries running together. One of them fell down. You won’t believe it – all the athletes went back to him, picked him up, dusted him off him, formed a line next to him, said, ‘On you marks, set, go!’ and then they ran to continue the race,” he shares.
He says that the torch going from Chandni Chowk to Shanghai is a coincidence. “I did not call up the officials of the Special Olympics and tell them to take the torch from Chandni Chowk to Shanghai. It’s only a coincidence – let’s treat it as one,” he says. However, he says he’s always happy to be in Chandni Chowk. “My roots are here. I would jog till Red Fort every morning. This place has given me more than I can ever give it back,” he smiles.