Akshay Kumar says he has applied for Indian passport following citizenship row

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The row over the actor's citizenship came into light at the time of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which he did not cast his vote. (Express File Photo by Varinder Chawla)

Following a controversy over his citizenship, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar Friday said that he would replace his Canadian passport with an Indian one.

"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," the 52-year-old actor said while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

"My wife (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.

Responding to a question about his Canadian citizenship, Kumar said, "There was a time when 14 films of mine flopped and I thought that I might have to take up something else to support myself. One of my closest friend stays in Canada and he asked me 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. I won't get work here anymore. It was just that 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."

The row over the actor's citizenship erupted at the time of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which he did not cast his vote in Mumbai.

At that time, he had written on Twitter, "I really don’t understand the unwarranted interest and negativity about my citizenship. I have never hidden or denied that I hold a Canadian passport. It is also equally true that I have not visited Canada in the last seven years. I work in India, and pay all my taxes in India. While all these years, I have never needed to prove my love for India to anyone, I find it disappointing that my citizenship issue is constantly dragged into needless controversy, a matter that is personal, legal, non-political, and of no consequence to others. I would like to continue contributing in my small way to the causes that I believe in and make India stronger and stronger."

Kumar also opened up about his interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April this year.

"I got the opportunity to do that interview and I'm sure that anyone would have grabbed that chance. I was one of those lucky who got that opportunity to do an interview with the PM. I went without any kind of preparation. I just went in and asked him questions as a common person. It was about whatever came in my head," Akshay said.

"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 bit 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. And he was sweet enough to answer everything. He could have easily said that 'throw him out'," he added.

With PTI inputs