Obama’s advice to him and why he avoids humour in speeches: Here’s what PM Modi told Akshay Kumar

Actor Akshay Khanna with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File)

Though West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has emerged as his most vocal opponent, Prime Minister Narendra Modi counted her as ‘good friend in the Opposition’. Speaking to Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, PM Modi said Mamata gifts him personally-selected kurtas and sweets.

In this ‘non-political’ chat with Kumar, Modi said that he had never imagined himself as the Prime Minister and that his mother would have distributed sweets even if he would have settled with a "decent" job.

Here are the five takeaways from the interview telecast by news agency ANI.

‘Never thought I would be PM’

PM Modi said he had never imagined himself as the Prime Minister. "I never thought I would become the prime minister. If I would have got a good job, then also my mother would have been happy. She would have distributed sweets." He also said that his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister placed him in an advantageous position when he later became the Prime Minister. "When I became the Prime Minister, I had a benefit which no other Prime Minister had. I was the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat and this had given me the vast experience required to work for the betterment of the nation," he said.

‘Statements taken out of context for TRPs’

On why he avoids using humour in his speeches, the Prime Minister said, "For TRPs, people take your statements out of context, that is scary. In my personal life, however, I still try to be funny with friends." He also revealed that he never gets angry. "I do not express my anger as it leads to negativity. Over the years, I have trained myself in a way that I do not express anger, instead, I try to get best out of the situation by inspiring others. I am strict and disciplined but I do not get angry,'" he said.

‘Not comfortable with written speeches’

Speaking about his first international speech, Modi said, "When I reached America, I met Sushma Swaraj and she asked me about the speech. I told her that I don’t have a written speech and she told me that this is not how it is done. So I told her what I wanted to speak and I was given a written speech. But I am not comfortable with written speeches."

‘Mamata Di sends me gifts’

The Prime Minister also said he has many "good friends" in his opponents, adding that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gifts him personally-selected kurtas and sweets. "I should not be saying this in the election season. Mamata Di sends me gifts. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina used to send me sweets, now even Mamata Di sends me sweets," he said.

Besides Mamata, Modi said he shares good relations with senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. "I have many friends in the Opposition. We do eat food together once or twice a year. Long time back when I was not even the Chief Minister (of Gujarat), I had gone to Parliament for some work. There, Ghulam Nabi Azad and I were having a friendly conversation. When we came out, the media people asked, how can you be friends with Azad as you belong to the RSS. Ghulam Nabi Azad gave a good answer. Hum dono saath khade se, bola, dekho bhai, bahar jo aap log sochte ho, aisa nahi hai. Shayad ek family ke roop mein hum log jitne jude hue hain sabhi dal ke log, woh shayad bahar kalpana nahi kar sakte (While the two of us were standing together, we told reporters that it isn’t the way you think. You cannot imagine how much we are together as a family)," he told the actor.

Obama concerned over Modi’s sleep cycle

The Prime Minister said former US president Barack Obama had once expressed concerns over his sleep cycle due to his "addiction to work". "Even Obama, who is now a close friend of mine, asks me, ‘Why do you sleep so less? This is your addiction to work but you should not sleep so less.’ This has now become my body cycle. I sleep for 3-3.5 hours and I sleep well," he said.