From debuting in 1991 as an action hero to interviewing Prime Minister Narendra Modi on all things \u2018apolitical\u2019 right in the middle of the general elections, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has certainly come a long way. Consider how the actor, who ranked 76th in the global Forbes Top Earning 100 Celebrities 2018 list, also secured the third spot in the Duff & Phelps Celebrity Valuation Report 2018, with a total brand valuation of $67.3 million, behind only Virat Kohli and Deepika Padukone. This was one rank up from 2017 for Kumar, when he featured at number four. The 51-year-old actor started his career as an action figure in the early 1990s, with movies like \u2018Mohra\u2019 and the \u2018Khiladi\u2019 franchise. \u201cEven the kind of brand endorsements he did at that point, like Thums Up, reflected his stuntman-ship and action imagery,\u201d says brand consultant Harish Bijoor. When the action space became cluttered with a clutch of heroes vying for the top spot, Kumar segmented himself around the turn of the millennium with comic movies or more holistic, family-oriented cinema, with titles like \u2018Hera Pheri\u2019, \u2018Namastey London\u2019 and \u2018Singh is Kinng\u2019. His marriage to fellow actor Twinkle Khanna also lent to his family imagery, making him the \u2018bankable\u2019 star for brands. Also read:\u00a0Reliance Jio inching closer to Airtel, still not the 2nd largest telecom operator in India \u201cHis latest avatar, though, is like today\u2019s Manoj Kumar,\u201d muses Samit Sinha, managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting. \u201cWith his current selection of movies, you can see signs of a nationalistic urge within him.\u201d While Kumar is currently trending online for his light-hearted camaraderie with PM Modi over an interview released to the media by news agency ANI, one can\u2019t ignore the timing: This is just days after the Election Commission issued a ban on the Prime Minister\u2019s biopic, while the general elections are also underway. Add to that, Kumar\u2019s recent alignment with socially-relevant\/patriotic, mature movie plots, like 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha', 'Padman', 'Airlift', 'Jolly LLB 2' and 'Gold', and you have a celebrity that is slowly but surely carving out a new avatar for himself, that of a \u2018responsible\u2019 actor, brand endorser and personality. At 22 brands as of November 2018, Kumar scores the second highest when it comes to the number of brands endorsed by any celebrity (cricketer Virat Kohli tops the list at 24). Some of Kumar\u2019s associations include HUL's Ayush, RB's Harpic, Tata Motors\u2019 commercial vehicles, Honda Motorcycles, Prince Pipes, RR Kables, Revital H, Relaxo Sparx Footwear, Fortune Oil, Policybazzar.com, Dollar, Eveready, Liv Guard, Lodha Developers and Svarn Saathi. He is known to charge an endorsement fee of around Rs 2-3 crore per day. Kumar\u2019s interview with Modi isn\u2019t his first tryst with matters of community or socialism. In the past, he was the face of a social campaign in 2018 before the launch of his movie 'Padman' to create awareness about sanitary napkins. Titled #PadManChallenge, the campaign had celebrities posing with sanitary napkins on social media to break taboos. Kumar also collaborated with the ministry of road transport and highways around Road Safety Week to spread awareness about traffic rules and road safety, with the theme, Sadak Suraksha Jeevan Raksha. With the Modi interview, though, Kumar has \u201ccemented his image as someone who can converse with people who matter, much like Aamir Khan did by chatting people up on his TV show, 'Satyamev Jayate'\u201d, according to Bijoor. So, the actor is now even more likely to attract socially responsible, inclusive brands to his endorsement kitty. But there\u2019s a flipside. \u201cAlthough nuanced, Akshay Kumar has shown through the interview that he seems to be subtly aligned with Modi. So if a brand picks up such a celebrity, it risks polarising its audiences,\u201d cautions Sinha. This may hold true, even though a brand is typically influenced by commercial motives more than ideological ones when hiring a celebrity. As the country is polarised at the moment, those in support of the current dispensation may view Kumar in a positive light but those not in favour of it may find \u201cAkshay\u2019s credibility a bit suspect\u201d, Sinha points out.