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Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar is one of the most-loved actors in the film industry. He has a massive fan following and has been going strong at the movies for the past 29 years.

From starring in low-budget films to becoming one of the most sought-after actors of Bollywood, Akshay has come a long way. While he has always managed to keep his personal life away from the spotlight, here's a look at some of the lesser-known facts about the Khiladi of Bollywood as he turns 53 on Wednesday:
Meet Mr Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia
The man whom the world knows as Akshay Kumar today was originally named as Rajiv Bhatia by his parents Hari Om Bhatia and Aruna Bhatia. While he spent his early childhood in Chandni Chowk, the family later shifted to Mumbai, where Akshay pursued his education. He changed his name to Akshay Kumar only before entering into the film industry.

From waiter to superstar
Before venturing into Bollywood, Akshay worked as a waiter and also as a chef in Bangkok, from where he got his formal training in martial arts. Besides, he also learned the combat sport Muay Thai in Bangkok, while earning a livelihood by working at a restaurant.

Actor by chance
Before Bollywood, Akshay had decided to get into modelling after an Indian photographer clicked his picture while doing a stunt. Through some good pictures, he even got a handful of modelling projects. But right before an important advertisement shoot, Akshay missed his flight and ended up at a film studio with his portfolio, where he got picked up to play the lead in the film Deedar.
The reigning Khiladi
In 1992, Akshay starred in the Abbas-Mustan directorial Khiladi, which finally gave him the breakthrough he needed in the film industry. He went on to star in eight films with the title 'Khiladi' in his career -- KhiladiMain Khiladi Tu AnariSabse Bada KhiladiMr and Mrs KhiladiKhiladiyon Ka KhiladiInternational KhiladiKhiladi 420 and Khiladi 786.

Performs his own stunts
A black belt in Taekwondo, Akshay Kumar has always chosen to perform his own stunts during the shooting of his films and refuses to work with a body double till date. He even performed live stunts while hosting a season of adventure reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi.
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