Actor Akshay Kumar must have never thought that his national award win will become a hot topic of debate for all the wrong reasons. The actor was highly criticized for bagging the prestigious award earlier this month and all the controversy about him not being a deserving candidate for the award has now miffed Akshay.

Akshay was named the Best Actor for his performance in the crime thriller Rustom, loosely based on the commander K.M. Nanavati case. Asked about criticism he faced after receiving the award, the actor told media here on Monday: “I have been working in the film industry for the last 25 years and I have noticed that every time whoever wins a National Award, the debate starts on who is deserving to win the award. I got it after 25 years. If you think I don’t deserve it, you can take it away.”

The actor was present at the event by Movie Stunt Artistes Association for the insurance of all the stunt artistes who work in Hindi films. Introducing a special insurance scheme for all stunt artistes, he said: “I am a stuntman first before an actor. For 10 years, I worked as a stuntman in Hindi film industry before getting the opportunity of acting. So I know how stuntmen risk their lives to earn their bread. I know what it takes to risk their lives to entertain us. So I think they should get equal respect even at the award shows for their work.”

Also read: Karan Johar doesn’t agree that Akshay Kumar’s National award win was without merit

Akshay Kumar along with renowned cardiac surgeon, Dr Ramakanta Panda of Asia Heart Institute, announced the insurance scheme that covers around 380 stunt artists between the age of 18 to 55 with a death compensation of Rs 10 lakhs.

Also read: Watch: Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar relive ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’ moment but where’s Priyanka Chopra?

Known for his action films like Khiladi and Mohra, he is now being associated with movies that have a patriotic theme. Apart from Rustom, he also wore patriotism on his sleeves in films like Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, Baby and Airlift.

Also read: Akshay Kumar calls box-office clash with Shah Rukh Khan an occupational hazard, not affected by it

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