Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna
Twinkle Khanna and Akshay Kumar

Akshay Kumar rang in his 50th birthday on September 9 with family in the scenic vistas of Switzerland. Almost a week later, celebrations continue for the actor — this time around, on a set. Yesterday, Kumar was shooting for the TV show, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge at Yash Raj Studios, Andheri. We caught up with the star in his vanity van, which was adorned with pink balloons and strewn with gifts — Fendi, Louis Vuitton, you name it.

"It's not that I am telling everyone 'It's my birthday, let's celebrate'," he laughs before adding, "The channel and production folk have put up all this. This was their way of wishing me a belated birthday."

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Among the numerous gifts that he received for his big day, he says the best gift expectedly came from wife Twinkle Khanna. "She presented me two paintings she had commissioned – one, a portrait of me with my daughter [Nitara] and the other with my son [Aarav]. This is what I cherish the most," he says, being true to the family man that he is.

With the new television show, Akshay Kumar returns to the small screen after three years. His last outing was the reality show Dare 2 Dance (2014). Kumar says that his choice of shows is driven by the need to explore different forms of creative expression. "When I came in the industry [in the early '90s], I did only action films for eight years. But, after that, I decided that I did not want to have a fixed image. I kept taking on newer projects that were distinct from each other. I have followed a similar pattern on television."

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It is this very instinct to experiment that has prompted him to come on board as a judge for the reality comedy show. Having headlined shows such as Seven Deadly Arts (2004), Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi (2008-9 and 2011) and MasterChef India (2010), Kumar thought it was time to delve into comedy. "I have great respect for comedy. I love the genre and have been part of several laugh riots, but I do not believe in cracking jokes to hurt anyone. If you do, then you should have the b***s to poke fun at yourself."

One can't help but point out to him that he is treading in his wife's territory — Khanna aka Mrs Funnybones has a way with wit and words. "When I told her I was judging stand-up comedians, she warily told me, 'Now you are taking up this also,'" he laughs before quipping, "I told her chaar paise ghar mein aayenge." 

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These photos from Akshay Kumar's family album are pure 'gold'