Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has always been a vocal advocate of PM Narendra Modi and the BJP govt. And things took a whole new turn when he agreed to interview the honourable Prime Minister at his official residence in 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. One of the most popular actors in the country, Kumar’s timing for the interview in the midst of the 2019 general elections, is suspect at best. But even before the interview began, Kumar clarified that this was going to be an ‘non-political’ interview, and it was the actor’s way of getting to know someone he truly admired.
While the whole country is talking elections and politics, here’s a breather. Privileged to have done this candid and COMPLETELY NON POLITICAL freewheeling conversation with our PM @narendramodi . Watch it at 9AM tomorrow via @ANI for some lesser known facts about him! pic.twitter.com/Owji9xL9zn
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) April 23, 2019
The honourable Prime Minister didn’t waste any opportunity with the questions, most of which came from a place of deep reverence and awe. Here are 12 instances when Modi’s comments and Akhay’s questions, stunned us into silence:
1. AK: Do you ‘ever’ get angry? What do you do when you get angry?
PM Modi: Many people are surprised to find out that I don’t ever get angry. I’ve been both a CM and now a PM, and I want to say that I’ve never had the opportunity to express my anger.
2. AK: But you have this image of an intimidating, strict leader?
PM Modi: I’ve never belittled anyone, especially in public. I inspire others to do better.
3. AK: Don’t you wish to bring your mother and other family members and live with them in the PM’s residence?
PM Modi: I left my home at a very young age. And I became very detached from the material pleasures/desires of life, so that’s how I’ve trained myself.
4. AK: Is your sense of humour intact after becoming PM? There’s this image of a strict headmaster with a cane, who goes around assigning a lot of work to his subordinates. Do you still crack jokes, once in a while?
PM Modi: This is an incorrect image that has manifested by itself. I’ve never forced anyone to do anything. But then they look at me how I’m working from dawn to dusk, and it helps build a ‘team spirit’. Sometimes I call people at 11pm asking them about the progress about a certain job, and they’re surprised to see that I’m still working. That’s how you develop a work culture. I don’t allow mobile phones during meetings, I don’t even use my own phone during appointments.
5. PM Modi: I used to enjoy wordplay a lot, but in times like these where anything gets twisted and misquoted, I’m careful about what I say. But I keep cracking jokes in front of my subordinates.
6. PM Modi: It might even hurt me in the election, but the political fraternity is a lot closer and tight-knit than it seems. Ghulam Nabi Azad and I are great friends, Mamata didi still sends me one or two handpicked kurtas every year. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina still sends me Bengali sweets 3-4 times every year.
7. PM Modi: I gave away Rs 21 lacs to the sons/daughters of my secretariat’s driver and peon. I even pledged my land to the party (BJP).
8. PM Modi: I haven’t thought about my post-retirement plans. I’m not capable of anything else, I only know how to embrace my responsibilities.
9. AK: What is the most valuable thing you brought to the PM’s residence?
PM Modi: My experience as Gujarat’s longest-serving chief minister. As a CM, you’re required to get into the nitty-gritty of many things, and that experience has invaluable in helping me serve the country in the best possible manner.
10. PM Modi: My doctors, junior advisors and all well-wishers keep asking me to sleep more than 3.5 hours every night. When Obama (former US President) came down to India, the first thing he asked me was why I was so intoxicated by my work.
Discussing Modi’s fashion sense that comprises a nicely trimmed white beard, designer jackets and kurtas, Modi explained the more practical reason behind his fascination with half-sleeved kurtas.
11. PM Modi: I used to wash my own clothes till I became a CM. I prefer half-sleeve kurtas because they would easily fit into my jhola.
12. PM Modi: Both as CM and PM, I’ve never burdened the government with even a penny spent for the upkeep of my family.
Kumar even discussed Modi’s love for mangoes, during which the PM took a slight detour to talk about India’s ‘generous farmers’. He underlined his status as an ‘ordinary man’, prompting Kumar to call him a ‘saintly vagabond’. Modi also didn’t fail to mention how he didn’t have the backing of his family to enter politics, which some might infer as passive attack on the Gandhi family.
The opposition has constantly attacked the Prime Minister for not holding a single press conference during his tenure of close to five years, something that is being ‘corrected’ with a flurry of Modi interviews on several news channels. Will this interview have a tangible effect in the upcoming polling days? It’s hard to tell. But it’s good to know that Akshay Kumar can do what most journalists can’t: get an interview with the Prime Minister of the country.
You can watch the whole interview here: