In Into The Wild with Bear Grylls on Discovery, we see Akshay Kumar channel his inner ‘Khiladi Kumar’. He’s scaling trees, crossing crocodile-infested rivers and dodging wild elephants. The show introduces him as an actor ‘known for his martial arts skills and his action and adventure movies’. But some of the best moments of the show are the bits where he’s not playing action hero – like when he talks about his son not wanting to tell anyone he has a famous dad. There’s little that we don’t already know about the actor. The show makes him revisit stories of his early days and also reveals a few new things about him. Here’s what we learnt:
1. Let’s begin with what we probably would have never known about Akshay Kumar if it wasn’t for this show. For starters, he has a high tolerance for strange food. The actor seemed like he had the most fun when he was picking fresh elephant dung strewn across the forest. Bear Grylls, who said he’s often had to drink his own pee when in the wild, lit a fire and brewed a fresh pot of elephant poo tea for the both of them. The recipe was simple – some river water, pee from the moist elephant dung, and a few bits of grass from the dung that hadn’t been digested. Kumar chugged it with great delight. Even Grylls had to say, “No…it’s not great.”
2. Before the elephant poo tea was had, Akshay revealed more about his super tolerant taste buds. He whipped out a dabba of laddoos (they looked like gond ke laddoo) which he said were made of apricot tree gum – something that his Ayurvedic doctor recommends. He warns that this must be judiciously consumed. He reveals that one of his directors had too many of them and “shat blood” the next day. During an Instagram chat with Grylls he reportedly confessed to drinking cow urine everyday as well – again suggested by his Ayurvedic doctor.
3. One of the nicer moments of the show was Kumar talking about about his pre-superstar days. He tells Grylls about growing up in a house with 24 people in old Delhi. Later he went to Bangkok to learn martial arts and worked there as a waiter. The high point of that job was getting a peck on the cheek from women as a tip! “I know I have lots of money. But that life is something different. I had so much of freedom,” he says.
4. Kumar tells Grylls about his ‘luck by chance’ moment with the movies. He was teaching martial arts in Mumbai when a student’s father suggested he try his hand at modelling. Akshay went for an ad shoot, clicked a few pictures with a beautiful model, and in two hours was handed a cheque for Rs 21,000. “I said this is brilliant. I thought, the whole month I struggle and teach people and get Rs 5000,” he says.
5. I think it’s fair to say we spotted a little bit of fear, if only fleetingly, in ‘Khiladi Kumar’. It was a relief to know he’s only human! When the actor had to cross a crocodile-infested river, we could see him sweat a little when he came too close to the water. He admitted as much at the end of the episode, but in true action hero style added – I would do this everyday.