In a recent survey, Akshay Kumar was voted the second-most trusted Indian celebrity after Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan. The actor has always taken up taboo projects, albeit, in the past few years, these projects have come with a nationalistic edge.

“Every decision you make in the film industry is risky, be it with the biggest of banners or with the biggest of stars, no one is guaranteed success. That’s why I have no fear of committing to newcomers. I’ve always believed it’s the strugglers that work the hardest, they have the most to prove, the biggest passion, and a sense of fight that big names may not necessarily carry like they did once upon a time. One must always remember we were all an unwanted newcomer once; if people didn’t give the likes of me a chance, I’d still be a martial arts coach. It’s the least I can do to help start as many people’s careers as I can, for we all deserve a chance to fight for our dreams,” he says, in an interview with Hindustan Times.

He’s not just explored new terrain with his films, he’s also endorsed various startups and brought them to the limelight.

“The business of endorsements has changed a lot as has the business of films. While there are routine paid partnerships, the start-up craze has now spurred on new opportunities — for the brand as well as the celebrity — worldwide. There might be some fee upfront, but there’s a larger value to be made when the business grows, and you get to hold the hands of someone who’s just starting on their way up,” he adds.

Kumar speaks about endorsing GOQii, CarDekho, Pagar Book, and FAU-G, four brands that nobody would have known about, had they not had Kumar’s stamp of approval.

“For me, GOQii is something that has a larger fitness goal for the entire nation. Pagar Book is two young boys trying to put accounts for a small business firm on their phone. CarDekho has opened up the car sales market multifold. FAU-G is trying to create a world-class gaming experience on your phone or tablet. Yes, given the success rates of startups, you’re taking the risk of no value getting created for the brand at all after all, but that’s the challenge. In the end, you’ve at least partnered or helped someone on their way, who dreamed of doing something big,” he says.