Update: This super popular article on Akshay Kumar was first published on October 25 2012. With less than 24 hours for the release of Akshay’s latest films ‘Brothers’, which promises to take action to the next level, this article is a must read for our new visitors.
I still have vague impressions of me standing in scorching sun, with my younger brothers, in a long queue outside one of the premium single screen theatres at Kanpur. Most of those standing in line were kids like us who knew nothing about the film and had just come to watch an action hero from Bollywood battle WWE Legend ‘The UNDERTAKER’. 16 years later, today, that theatre has been transformed into a shopping mall, ‘The Dead Man’ is still unbeaten at WrestleMania (20-0) and ‘Akshay Kumar’ has become a ‘ROWDY Superstar’.
A thrilling screenplay in grandeur locale with sultry songs, hilarious sequences and death defying stunts a la the Bond series meets a Jackie Chan. That’s what Khiladi is. Recently, the teaser trailer of the eagerly anticipated Khiladi 786 was launched which declared Khiladi as “The Biggest Franchise of Indian Cinema”. We thought it can’t be a better time to peep into the past of Khiladi and analyze how true their claim is.
The Daredevil Khiladi
In an industry where action was always considered synonymous to muscular power (courtesy the Deol’s), Akshay Kumar made his own identity. He has made a huge contribution (particularly his Khiladi films) for the escalation of Martial Arts, Karate and Street Fighting in Bollywood. Whether his films were hit or flop, a tag which always remained with Akki was that of an Action Hero.
Today when almost all of his contemporaries (possibly barring Ajay Devgn) and even the gen-next stars depend upon harness, technology and body doubles for all action sequences, Akki takes an opposite route. In his own words at a recent press meet, Akshay said ‘The day I find myself unable to do my own stunts, I will stop doing action films’. I guess that statement says it all. The Khiladi series is deficient without its action sequences.
TOP 3 Khiladi Action Scenes
Khiladi 420 - Statutory Warning: This isn’t a computer game, but a living man made of bone and flesh just like us standing over a glider in air. Those with weak hearts can skip watching this.
Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi - This film is my most favorite from the Khiladi franchise. It boasts of countless jaw dropping stunts – Akki vs Undertaker fights (Kumar even broke his back while lifting ‘The Phenom’ during the pre-climax setting at the temple) ; Street Fight sequence which had Akshay playing with his favorite ‘Flying Kicks’ ; Roof blowing climax where Akki jumps from a bridge and gets crushed under an over craft . But my favorite is this martial art sequence where Akshay does a full split and kills Dang. Jai Mata Di!
Sabse Bada Khiladi – Akshay converted this airbase into his action playground during the climax of Sabse Bada Khiladi. Watch some never before seen stunts.
The Khiladi and his Seven Queens
Akshay has always been a ladies’ man. He had the privilege of working with a new heroine in each of the Khiladi films in the series. As Newton said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, even Akshay had to face the side-effects in the form of rumors and allegations of linkups with almost all his leading ladies. From Ayesha Jhulka to Shilpa Shetty, Mamta Kulkarni or Raveena Tandon, not to forget yesteryear queen Rekha, he was in a way crowned as Bollywood’s Playboy by the media in the 90s.
But, as they say, the trees that are slow to grow and bear most adversities are the ones that produce the best fruits. Akshay Kumar got the love of his life, Twinkle Khanna, who starred opposite him in International Khiladi and both are happily married today. Now, one waits to see what sort of chemistry Akshay shares with Asin in Khiladi 786. The fact that they were accepted positively by the audience as a pair in Housefull 2 only increases the excitement level of moviegoers.
Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi
In 2007-08, when Akshay was at the peak of his success, Colors Channel was launched. The TV Channel wanted to make an instant impact and thought of the Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi with the Khiladi himself. The show topped all TRP charts that year to provide a blockbuster launch for Colors and made it the No.1 TV Channel. Akki has hosted 3 out of 4 seasons of this tele-action series. Interestingly, the only unsuccessful season is the one where Akshay was excluded.
Khiladi: Box Office Scrutiny
The Khiladi series has a fair Success Rate of around 57% (4 Hits out of 7) but it is certainly behind Munnabhai, Krrish, Golmaal, Housefull, Don and Hera Pheri (each recording 100% Success). Though one can always argue my comparisons as all these franchises just have 2-3 films against 7 Khiladi movies. A key point which cannot be overlooked is that all of these films were released when Akshay was not a Superstar, but just an Action Hero. This very notion set the records pretty straight. If Khiladi 786 hits bull’s eye, it would undeniably take over the title of Numero Uno from Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi, which is the most successful film of the lot. Last word – Khiladi may not be the most successful but it’s definitely the biggest franchise in Bollywood.