Some years ago, Akshay Kumar after receiving the award for the Best Actor at an award show, quite modestly announced that Aamir Khan was more deserving. Don’t be surprised, if Akshay after being picked for the National Awards as the Best Actor (for Rustom) today, does a repeat. Well, his gesture in the past was lauded. But did that also reveal the suppressed anguish he had to suffer silently for years, for being written off as a non-actor ?
However, he is now set to receive the coveted National Award. It is now time that the so-called conservative critics gave a second thought to his acting skill. Should we say, Akshay, the actor has arrived? No way, he had arrived long time ago, but a certain stubborn mindset was preventing a few from giving him his due as a performer.
Yes, the journey of Akshay Kumar has been quite a tedious one, well nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. Initially, when he started his career in the early ‘90s and subsequently, for quite some time, his filmography ‘boasted’ films most of which were not only box-office duds, but they also failed to impress the critics. Yes, the Khiladi series was there, but he didn’t do enough to justify the actor in him. Even as a star, he lagged behind the Khans who had already cemented their place as bankable stars. During that phase of his career, he was regarded as a B-Grade star who could only punish the goons on screen.
Yet, Akki fought and fought and eventually left many of his contemporaries like Suniel Shetty behind. If we look at Akshay’s body of work, he is one actor who has explored much before the Khans (Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir) did. Probably, he understood the pulse of the audience and the example was Tanuja Chandra’s Sangharsh in 1999. Sangharsh was not a typical potboiler and Akki treaded a different path. Before that, we found the actor in this Delhi guy in Yeh Dillagi (1994). But in between, he did films that as a whole, failed to make critics stand up and acknowledge.
The year 2000 was a big turning point in his career and films like Hera Pheri and Dhadkan won acclaims at both the box-office and from critics. In 2001, he shared screen space with Amitabh Bachchan in Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love and stood his ground. There is no denying that since 2000, Akshay has found his true bearings and in films after films, he has been outstanding as a star and an actor. The list is endless: And during this period, he dabbled in a variety of genres that established him as a powerful actor –Ajnabee (2001), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005), Phir Hera Pheri (2006), Namastey London (2007) and others were profitable ventures at the box-office too. They should also go down as some of his landmark films. Akshay managed to prove that he was a combination of stardom and superb acting prowess. In terms of screen presence, Akshay held his own even in the presence of Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan and others.
Cut to the current decade, Akshay has reinvented himself as an actor with hits after hits. He has also learned the tricks of the trade and has never consciously tried to compete with the Khans. Yes, he may not be delivering a Rs 200-crore-film, but once we see the margin of profits of his hits, they are blockbusters in the true sense of the term.
Rustom (2016), the film that has won him his first National Award, was panned by some, yet it was a box-office success and was another feather in the illustrious cap of the actor. In fact, the last year was a productive one for Akshay with hits like Airlift, Housefull 3 and Rustom – films of different genres yet having the content to capture the imagination of the audiences. In 2017, he has already delivered a hit in Jolly LL.B 2 and has some interesting line up of films.
Honestly speaking, the National Award will motivate the Khiladi Kumar further and his fans can look forward to many a memorable film from him. Yes, he loves to experiment even if the budget is low, something which Shah Rukh and Salman usually avoid preferring to stay within their comfort zones. Aamir is an exception though. Kudos to Akki, you surely deserve this recognition which is second to none.
And to his hardcore critics, it’s time for some applause, guys, because this man has come a long way!
Congratulations Akshay Paaji!