Akshay Kumar’s citizenship status has been the subject of controversy, with many claiming that he holds a Canadian citizenship rather than an Indian one. The debate was amplified by his conspicuous absence from polling booths when Mumbai went to polls on 29 April, the “completely non-political” interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he conducted a few days prior, and his penchant for signing films with a patriotic sentiment such as Gold, Airlift and Kesari.
At an event hosted by Hindustan Times, the actor said that he had now applied for an Indian passport and opened up about the circumstances that led him to acquire a Canadian one.
He said that he considered applying for Canadian citizenship on the suggestion of a close friend. He explained that he had had 14 consecutive flops and this was a last-ditch attempt to start over. He said,
"“This was a while ago, when my 14th film flopped. I spoke to one of my closest friends who stays in Canada. He suggested that I move there to work with him. I began the process of applying for a passport and to work there (in Canada) because I thought that my career was over. I eventually got my [Canadian] passport. It’s a different story that my next film worked; from then on, I never looked back. But I never thought of changing my passport; and I want to tell you all that I’ve actually applied for an Indian passport.”" - Akshay Kumar, Actor
He went on to clarify that he still pays taxes in India adding, “It saddens me that so many people are harping on this one issue and are demanding that I show them this small document to prove that ’m an Indian. It hurts me. I don’t want to give people a chance to say this any more. I could have chosen to give my wife Canadian citizenship but I didn’t. She is Indian, my son is Indian, everyone in my family is Indian. I pay my taxes in India and my life is in India.”
Amidst the speculation over his citizenship which escalated during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Akshay issued a statement saying that he had “never hidden or denied” the fact that he held a Canadian passport. “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,” he said.
Earlier, while promoting his film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha in a 2017 interview with Times Now, Akshay had clearly claimed that his Canadian citizenship is purely honorary.
“About the Canadian thing, I am an honorary citizen. I’ve been given an honorary thing. I think it’s a thing that people should be proud about. I have an honorary doctorate also but I am not a Doctor. So this is what people have to understand,” he claimed.
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