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  5. 31 Years of Akshay Kumar: Action star who moulded stereotypes to be poster boy of patriotism

31 Years of Akshay Kumar: Action star who moulded stereotypes to be poster boy of patriotism

31 Years of Akshay Kumar: The prolific Bollywood star, Akshay Kumar, who has appeared in over a hundred films till now, has given his audience a variety of tags to put on him but never once has he stuck to the mould.   

Vaishali Jain Written by: Vaishali Jain
New Delhi Published on: January 25, 2022 15:00 IST
Akshay Kumar
Image Source : TWITTER/ABHISHE49427474

Akshay Kumar

Highlights

  • Akshay made his debut in Hindi cinema in 1991 with Saugandh
  • With over 100 films, he has been an action hero and a rom-com star
  • Akshay has done at least one film since 2012 with nationalism or socially relevant theme

Initial film choices indicate the trail an actor will follow during their career. However, Akshay Kumar is a bore of the first water who operated on stereotypes at first and kept smashing them later. In a career spanning three decades till now, he has been Bollywood’s dependable star with rare slip at the box office. 

In the early '90s, he became an action star and earned the moniker 'Khiladi'. In the subsequent decade, he conquered the hearts of the fans as the romantic hero who could make you giggle with his toothy smile. Just when the industry was keen to position him on the pedestal of the quintessential romantic hero, he chose another route and started taking up movies with a patriotic spirit. The prolific star, who has appeared in over a hundred films till now, has given his audience a variety of tags to put on him but never once has he stuck to the mould.

Khiladi Kumar- The Action Hero

Akshay made his debut in Hindi cinema in 1991 with Saugandh. But it was his performance a year later in the suspense thriller Khiladi, which turned the tide for him. The superhit film gave him the tag - Khiladi of Bollywood. His swift moves, rough and ready appearance and meticulous action sequences won him laurels and justified that title. Subsequent releases like Deedar, Lahu Ke Do Rang, Insaaf, Daava, Tarazu, Angaaray, Barood, Zulmi and Jaanwar among many other titles brought his martial arts expertise to the forefront. 

Akshay's comical turn

While the audience was still relishing the action avatar of 'Khiladi', Akshay had clearly moved on. In an earlier media interaction, he spoke about the comedy genre as a tool to break away from the action hero image. Emphasising the importance of reinvention he had said, "I realised it (the need to reinvent) long back because in the initial days I used to do only action films. I was known as an action hero. In fact, when I used to get up every morning, I would know I had to go on the set and do action. I used to get bored and used to think ‘what am I doing by just doing action'." 

"I tried doing different things. At that time, people used to say ‘tu comedy nahi kar payega (you won't be able to do comedy)'. But Priyadarshanji and Rajkumar Santoshiji gave me my break in comedy, and they got me into it."

In 2000, he worked in the Priyadarshan directed comedy Hera Pheri and the Dharmesh Darshan directed love triangle Dhadkan. The following year he also portrayed a negative role in Ajnabee which won him the Filmfare Best Villain Award. He went on to feature in hits such as Aitraaz, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Singh Is Kinng, Garam Masala, Welcome, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Heyy Babyy and Namastey London.

Poster boy of patriotism in Bollywood

Today, Akshay readily takes up movies that showcase patriotism and nationalism, in addition to films with socially-relevant themes. Looking back at the past decade, Akshay has done at least one such film since 2012 including titles OMG- Oh My God!, Special 26, Holiday, Airlift, Rustom, Jolly LLB, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Padman, Gold, Kisari, Mission Mangal and more recently released Bell Bottom and Sooryavanshi. In all these films, he plays some interpretation of 'the son of the soil' executing the unattainable with the mere power of will and declaring India's superiority in one way or the other. These have gained him profits at the ticket window. 

With more than 50 films from Akshay Kumar's filmography standing as runaway hits, it's best to assume that he must have done something right. Well, he continues on the course of success with his upcoming releases. His calendar is spilling over with films lined up for release, notably Bachchan Pandey, Prithviraj, Ram Setu, Gorkha and Raksha Bandhan among others. He is also set to appear in his first web series The End for Amazon Prime Video.