Akshay Kumar and his box-office success

His roles and story lines are inane; He serves over the top humor in the name of commercial cinema; He’s becoming repetitive; His choice of scripts is awful; His box office performance is inconsistent.. Well, with the characterization in the words of critics, let me introduce you to the Khiladi of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar. A lot has been said and written over his career and his decisions. No doubt, some of these suggestions/allegations are indeed debatable, there is a larger side of this Rowdy’s career which is still lesser known. We would try to uncover all those facts and figures in this write up.

Among his contemporaries, Akshay Kumar is the only actor who made it on his own, without the help of any ‘godfather’. It’s worth mentioning that except Akki, all the top stars of today kicked off their careers with superhits, winning Filmfare Award for Best Male Debutant each – Aamir Khan (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak – 1988); Salman Khan (Maine Pyar Kiya – 1989); Ajay Devgn (Phool Aur Kaante – 1991); Shahrukh Khan (Deewana – 1992); Hrithik Roshan (Kaho Na Pyaar Hai – 2000).

Moreover, Hrithik also won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for his debut film. On the contrary, Akshay’s debut film Saugandh (1991) was a box office dud and he had to wait till his 4th film to get his first success in Khiladi (1992). Every actor has to work hard, but Akki has seen that struggle for success very closely.

To earn the Superstar tag which he enjoys today, he had to climb up the ladder of 16 successive flops until he rediscovered himself with Jaanwar (1999), which is considered to be his comeback film and is one of the biggest hits in Bihar of those times. Although, this was a high point in his career, it won’t be wrong to term 2007 as the year of his rebirth at the box office. Frankly speaking, he is not a star with the best acting skills, but he is definitely the one who is complete and versatile. Action and Comedy are his forte and he’s league ahead of his competitors in these genres.

Below is a graphical analysis of his his career since 2007. Let the numbers speak for themselves.

Akshay Kumar Hits and Flops

Akshay Kumar Last few Films

The success-ratio of Akshay Kumar comes out to be 38% (8 Hits from 21 films) which is not very impressive when compared to other superstars. But, what is interesting is, he still manages to leave all his contemporaries behind and holds the numero uno spot in terms of sheer number of hits (Shahrukh – 6; Salman – 6; Ajay – 5; Aamir – 3; Hrithik – 3).

Another notable fact that can be figured out is the timing of his flop films. Out of total 6 flops, 3 came when he tried to experiment (8*10 Tasveer, Patiala House and Joker), 2 were overhyped as compared to their content leading to negative word of mouth (Tashan and Chandni Chowk To China) and one was the result of clash with a brand (Action Replayy – released with Golmaal 3).

Akshay Kumar is the 2nd actor after Rajendra Kumar to have given 4 successive Hits in the same year (2007: Namastey London; Heyy Babyy; Bhool Bhulaiya; Welcome). He still holds this record. Akki is also the only superstar to risk his stardom 3-4 times in a year. While at times he got paid off for this courageous attitude (2007 and 2012), mostly large number of releases have adversely impacted his success rate. In fact he couldn’t capitalize on his 2007 success, mainly because of this. But with back-to-back hits this year, he seems to have once again struck box-office gold in 2012.

It’s also worth mentioning that he hasn’t got any extended weekend releases in his entire career and that’s what makes the difference today when it comes to making/breaking records. I believe this is one of the major loopholes in his career decisions which need to be worked upon.

Anyone who has even a slight idea about box office can never doubt Akshay’s star power to generate excellent openings and pre release buzz. During 2008-2010, even his average films got bumper openings. It is a fact that has to be accepted that 2011 saw lukewarm openings for his films but quite unexpectedly he came back with a bang making Rowdy Rathore and Housefull 2 amongst the Biggest non-holiday Openers of all time.

Akshay’s box office potential may largely be attributed to his huge fan following. And the major reason behind this loyal fan backing is his self-made-man image with no filmy background which appeals radically to the common man. His journey from being a waiter in Bangkok to becoming the Highest Paid Actor is really an inspiration for all youngsters. He has even done some ads to justify this image – Grasim Suiting’s Self Made Man, Honda’s Dream Yuga and Mannapuram Gold Loan.

Another vital aspect of his career has been working with inexperienced directors. Sajid Khan (Heyy Babyy, Housefull Series) and Vipul Shah (Aankhen, Waqt and Namastey London) – both directors who don’t need an introduction today were newcomers when they first worked with Akshay. Sometimes, blind faith may back fire as it has been in the case of Shirish Kunder (Jaaneman, Joker) and Nikhil Advani (CC2C, Patiala House). Akki has worked on two films each with these directors and all have been flops.

Poll: Select your TOP 3 favorite Akshay Kumar Hit. Also share your feedback/comments.

Article by Archit Mishra – Senior software engineer by profession and typical movie buff at heart. Always in search of good bollywood reads and use them in analysing Boxoffice uniquely.

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Akshay Kumar Movies



  • @pavan. . That ‘l never ever hppn s dude . . Bcoz khan s rule al over d world . . I accept akshay is a great actor but over ruling khan s its just impossible. . .

  • all- india critics association just announced in IBN.LIVE they are nominating OMG oh my god..for the best film category for national award 2013!!!just check out…or is it just commonsense that who’ll win it. if i take point by point reviewing akshay kumar..sallu n and all khans will commit suicide, because they know akki will beat them at any given genre. thats what we call RANGE OF AN ACTOR!!! to act in 4 or 5 movies in a year with different shades, in just few months of preparation..and majority to convert into blockbusters…you need to have balls!!!aamir khan r u listening???

  • Akki, the self-made actor.
    Only actor who had learnt combat karatte and martial arts.
    He worked in hotel as chef to pay his martial arts fee.
    What an amazing actor.
    All other actors came to acting due to their family.

  • If clash happens between salman and akki on eid 2012, akshay is gonna win that, i bet.
    Becoz both movies (sher khan, ouatim2) will be action and akki is gonna win and sallu is gonna suffer.

  • Hi Archit

    Very good article. My favourite Akshay Kumar movie in the last 10 years or so has been Aitraaz, Hera Pheri and Namastey London. Considering the numbers of films he has acted in, just 3 ‘good’ movies is outrageously bad.

    My big problem with Akshay is his choice of scripts is outrageous. What did he see in films like Kambakht Ishq and Chandni Chowk is beyond me. Even some of his hit films like Singh Is King and Housefull 2, while entertaining, haven’t been classics.

    He is a good actor, but if he has to be taken seriously, Akshay has to do films that are good quality-wise.

  • good article but you missed out on his supporting role OMG, agree it is paresh rawal as lead but akki deserves credit producing it, promoting and bonus part being part of a significant role that stretched to more than 45 to 50 minutes. it’s like erasing damini or deewana or tzp from aamir, sunny and srk’s list due to late appearance and playing small supporting role.

  • i appreciate what ever Akshay achieved in his career and congrats him and his fans without any big banner houses and godfather
    but i don’t like that akshay doing 4-5 films per year what is the meaning to do many films in a year and provided dumb product like housefull2, joker,thank you, tess maar khan kinda movies so there is no need to do movies like all these bad movies ad his fans saying that it is a big heart to do 4-5 movies in a year and a fan question of Aamir’s credibility
    so i want to say atleast aamir made a movie in a yaer some time his movies coming in 2-3 ears gap but what ever movies he does takes bollywood to new hight so no need to compare Aamir to any other actor as he is way ahead of anybody

    akshay should try to concentrate 1-2 movies per year and take some lesson from new generation actors like hritik,ranbir who doing one movie each year and max time movie zoner is different and commercially successful too.
    and one more thing i m not a fan of hritik or ranbir but like their script knowledge

  • i don’t believe in the thing that self made or help of other people because every body need someone to help him/her in his initial phase of career as per indicine comment that akshay had given 14 consecutive hits so those 14 filmmaker should be appreciate to give role to Akshay who is non filmy background actor, so whatever he acieved is a much difficult task but same thing i have to say the person who belongs to filmy background their start of career is easy but to survive in this industry a person should be talented and dedicated only than he can achieve the height which Amitabh Aamir,Srk,Salman,Akshay,Ajay and Hritik achieved .
    so make good movies because we indian loves to support good movies that’s why movies like Pan Singh Tomer,Kahaani,Barfi,Vicky donor become huge hits….
    so Akshay should make good movies and now he is following Salman Path by doing remakes one after another so those who saying that Salman push backward bollywood now appreciate for akshay by saying that he will rule in next 2 year by doing remakes and sequels.grow up guys

  • I totally agree with what AKS has said. While it is very difficult for an outsider to make it big in Bollywood, it’s equally hard (if not harder) for a star son.

    Let’s talk two examples. 1. Abhishek Bachchan – Father is the biggest legend that the industry has seen and arguably the best actor too. But Abhishek has always struggled. The expectations were high right from his debut and when he didn’t live upto it, he was criticised, called names. What was his fault?

    2. Uday Chopra – Owns the biggest production house in the country, still couldn’t make it big as an actor. Not even supporting roles, apart from Dhoom films.

    There are many other names like Esha Deol, Bobby Deol, Zayed Khan, Fardeen Khan and many more.

    If a actor is not talented enough, it doesn’t really matter if he is a star-kid or an outsider. Apart from talent, right choice of script and directors is important. Shahid Kapoor is an immensely talented actor, but due to poor script sense, look where he is today. Even non-actors like John Abraham and Imran Khan are ahead.

  • @ indicine khatta meetha must b included. namastey london and bhoolbholaiya – there is content and performance too. and in khatta meetha akshay’s performance was outstanding(sachin tichkoole )

  • @vinod, flop movie doesn’t mean that is bad or performance is weak. after yuva abhishek bachchan’s performance is weak in only some movies (dhoom2 , drona, umrao jaan,game,), in players and ravan(avg. not noticable performance) but other movies have gud performance (with some gud content movie and some lack of avg content movie). in movies like guru, yuva, kabhi alvida na kehena, sarkar, sarkar raaj, khelein hum jee jaan sey , dum maro dum r just outstanding.

  • @indicine-Good research guys.im srk fan but its gud 2 c those things abt akki.both of them are without godfasther

  • It is well pointed that Akki puts his stardom to risk 3-4 tym…..Sallu has given 4 hits in last 3 years ask him to bring all of them in 1 year and then i’ll see who’s the real tiger…….also aamir wil cum back after 3 yrs with talaash/////m not against anybody but cummon yaar how can u compare a person doing 4 films per year with 1 who does 1 film in 4 year…..Akki is HIT machine

  • Also sallu’s credebility to give a blockbuster on nonholiday release is still questionable.Give Akshay a big holiday then we’ll c/./…if OUATIM releases in Eid 2013 it breaks 3 Idiot easily

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