Akshay Kumar deserves National Award: Suniel Shetty

Panaji: Actor Suniel Shetty finds his Hera Pheri co-star Akshay Kumar a deserving winner of the Best Actor National Film Award this year.

Last month, Akshay was named the Best Actor for his performance in the crime thriller Rustom, loosely based on the commander K.M. Nanavati case. However, the choice by the jury — led by filmmaker Priyadarshan — was criticised by a cross-section of people.

Asked about the same, Suniel, who has worked closely with both Priyadarshan and Akshay, told IANS: “This is completely wrong. Akshay has given so many hits. Why are you looking at just one film? Look at his career. He has been there for more than 100 films. He deserves the honour.

“Maybe he has been given this honour looking at his graph and growth in films over the years. There are very few actors who give respect to the uniform when they get into it. Akshay is one of them.”

Akshay himself earlier said that if people don’t consider him worthy of the honour, then they should take it away from him.

The actor will be in the capital on Wednesday to receive the honour.

Suniel, who has worked with Akshay in films like Aan: Men At Work, Dhadkan, Hera Pheri and Sapoot, added: “When in the beginning his 13 films didn’t work, many said that Akshay is finished and his career is over. But, now he is giving Rs 100 crore films every time.

“Akshay needs to forget this and doesn’t need to feel bad about it. If not for Rustom, then think that he has got the award for Airlift.”

Suniel is currently gearing up for his TV show India’s Asli Champion… Hai Dum, which will be aired on &TV starting from Saturday.

The show will feature common people who will test their mental and physical fitness by performing various tasks.