Often dismissed as the man who makes way too many movies, almost at a “Mithun-da Ooty production” pace, and also one of the highest money making machines of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar’s long acting career spans across many flops, hits, superhits and 25 years. Yes, it is Akshay Kumar’s Silver Jubilee year in Bollywood, as he started his career with a little known film called Aag, back in 1987 as a Karate Instructor. Through the most part of 90’s that was what the Akshay Kumar image was – the Bangkok returned, hairy-chested, and bushy eyebrowed guy, who does not look like a superstar, has Deepak Tijori as his sidekick, but can definitely kick some serious ass. He was the 90’s action superstar, trying to sneak in an Abbas Mustan hit here, and a Rajiv Rai hit there. Serenading “Mast Mast” ladies , and simultaneously beating the crap out of one-eyed villains, Akshay Kumar emerged as the Khiladi, a bankable movie hero.
But even so, he never emerged as the one with the most fangirls, or the one getting nominated at any movie awards show. He’d make an appearance and charge a hefty sum, but would hardly make it to the nominees list even. Even though he is one of the busiest of movie stars, churning out 4-5 movies a year, it took me a while to actually remember the last Akshay Kumar movie I really liked. With 4 movies set to release in 2012 – Rowdy Rathore, Joker, Housefull 2, and Once Upon A Time Again, we can only wish Akshay Kumar the best for 2012. And here is our favourite 10 from his strong 100 movie filmography.
TOP 10 AKSHAY KUMAR MOVIES
10. Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)
Yes, much of this movies’ liking does not owe it to Akshay Kumar directly. It is a Yash Raj musical, with Lolo and Mads doing the dancing honours to the insanely foot thumping music of Uttam Singh. And of course, there’s SRK to provide the fluff, in abundance. But Akshay Kumar’s “special cameo appearance” was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. His portrayal of the confused lover, turned down by his best friend, and yet being the bigger man to give her away in the climax, is one of the many things that makes this soppy rom-fest such a fresh movie even now. And you have to agree that his short guest appearance is far better than any of his works in the last few years. Speaks a lot, doesn’t it?
9. Aankhen (2002)
Adapted from a Gujrati play Andhalo Pato, Vipul Shah’s crime thriller was unlike any other we had seen. It was smart, edgy and crisply edited. And while Paresh Rawal managed the comic corner, it was left to Akshay to be the psychic one. And he did deliver with his bit. As for Arjun Rampal, he was more of the third wheel – remember, he almost screwed up the plan by falling in love with Sush. Special mention to Mr.Big B for his delicious dialogue delivery replete with words such as – Avishwasniya, Advitiya…y’know!
From the pen of legendary commercial masala writer Honey Irani, comes this awesomely spicy 90’s dishoom-dishoom flick, which has masala in all the layers that it unveils. It features the dynamic double hero – double heroine combo of Akshay-Nagma, Ajay-Lolo, and a mindfucking organ-smuggling racket as the backdrop. There’s romance, thrills, actions, patakha songs like – Tana nana Nana nana, Shaava ye Nakhra Ladki ka,,..and more. By more, I mean Akshay Kumar’s unwaxed, completely hairy-self in a blue speedo shower scene. Aah, the 90’s! This also comes from the era where Ajay Devgan’s comedy did not involve crotch kicks and racist slaps. Hang on, that’s not true. But they were funny back then. (Yes, they were funny in the 90’s, not anymore.. take a note Mr.Rohit Shetty and Madhur Bhandarkar).
Last but not the least, special mention to the legendary track – Gore Gore Mukhde Pe Kaala Kaala Chashma.. which lasted on Philips Top 10 for, what seemed like a decade. *Tauba khuda khair kare, khoob hai karishma…*
7. Dhadkan (2000)
Remember the golden age of Nadeem Shravan’s music. Remember when Shilpa Shetty used to be a lead heroine. Remember those days when Suniel Shetty used to get the chance to sing songs and romance not one, but two ladies. Apparently, it has been 12 years since that. Dharmesh Darshan’s re-take on Woh Saat Din, has Suniel Shetty playing a douchebag version of Anil Kapoor’s loveable sangeetkar – Prem Pratap (apparently, Suneil Shetty won the Filmfare Best Villain for that role. #facepalm). Akshay Kumar’s version of the Mr.Goody Goody husband, and everready to sacrifice his wife, but selflessly love her, was a pleasantly surprising image change for the Khiladi man, who was more known for roundhouse kicks than romancing lovey-duvey. The movie was a hit, although we are still indecisive if that was due to Kader Khan’s guest role as a qawwal or not.
6. Sangharsh (1999)
I do not care if this was inspired/copied from The Silence Of The Lambs. Director Tanuja Chandra’s second movie, circles around a pyscho killer Lajja Shankar Pandey (played diabolically by Ashutosh Rana). It has the right blend of action, thrills and a sublime sexual tension between the lead pair – Prof. Aman Verma (Akshay donning a mooch), and CBI agent Reet Oberoi (Priety Zinta). With a cracking soundtrack by Jatin Lalit, and a forgettable cameo by Aman Verma in an unforgettable song – Mujhe Raat Din, Sangharsh is one of Akshay’s high points as far as acting is concerned.
5. Khakee (2004)
Almost in the vein of Akshay’s earlier 90’s movies, Khakee is a Rajkumar Santoshi movie, with plenty of action, laughs and masala. But just beneath that surface-deep masala layer, it also serves as a heavy-duty cop thriller, which never loses its grip. Akshay Kumar’s role as Sr.Inspector Shekhar Verma, is of a debauched and ghinaastic kind of a cop, who puts “maal” over his duty. Akshay plays it flawlessly, and quite effortlessly expresses the dark and quirky shades of a hateful character that you cannot take your eyes off from.
4. Mohra (1994)
If I was to compare Mohra with a dish, it’d be nothing less than a Hyderabadi Biriyani. Takes zillions of ingredients, and quite long to cook, with simmering heat and masala strewn all over. And when it’s all done, the taste melts in your mouth. The ingredients here are the sub-plots – Suniel Shetty, that other supporting actress, Naseeruddin Shah’s fake-Surdaas act. The simmering heat – of course, the wet-sari act by Raveen “Mast Mast” Tandon. And the chef is Akshay Kumar. From romancing the leading lady in an unforgettable rain dance sequence, to even hosting a disco-lit item number sequence, to beating the shit out of the baddie, Akshay’s precision at being Mr.Awesome needed no more evidence after this. ‘Nuff said.
3. Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994)
Bromance movies have been a staple element of Bollywood since its inception. Be it Mother India, to Sholay, to Shaan; the list just goes on. And the torch-bearer of the Bromance movie genre in the 90’s was the Saif-Akshay jodi in Main Khiladi Tu Anari. The story by Sachin Bhowmick leaves no room for any more masala – Shilpa Shetty plays a double role, Akshay Kumar gets to dance with Shilpa in a cheetah stripes dress, Saif plays the dumb filmstar down to the toe nail, and Akshay gets a “one-take” monologue – which has inspired generations of struggling actors. It helps when you have Kader Khan writing the dialogue.
2. Khiladi (1992)
We will always remember Khiladi as the breakthrough movie for a lot of people – Ayesha Jhulka, Dipak Tijori, Abbas Mustan, and of course – Akshay Kumar. After all, this was what gave him the ‘PLAYA’ tag. What starts out as just another college romance movie, similar to other movies of the 90’s – Dil, Phool Aur Kaante etc., takes an unexpected turn in the second half. Khiladi seemed like two movies separated by an intermission. And director-duo Abbas-Mustan deserve all the praise for that. But not to forget, Akshay gets to kick some serious ass here, and show-off his martial arts skills. And also, he has a drag act to maintain the balance.
Not to forget, Jatin Lalit’s unforgettable soundtrack makes Khiladi one of the most memorable 90’s soundtracks too. Who doesn’t hum “Waada Raha Sanam”, or “Khud ko Kya Samajhti Hai” once in a while. Even my radio plays it.
1. Hera Pheri (2000)
And the numero uno on this list is ..Priyadarshan’s laughter riot – Hera Pheri. There’s volumes to be written if I was to begin praising this movie. Even today, it maintains its throne of being one of the genuinely rib-tickling funny movies in Indian cinema. The credit is shared between the lead-trio – Akshay, Sunil and the invincible, incredible Paresh Rawal. None of them have been able to recreate the aura, and the magic that Hera Pheri brought into our lives. And that is because movies such as this come once in a lifetime. There are no cheap tricks, no double entendre.. just plain and simple comedy. And Akshay excels as Raju, the overambitious and short-cut hungry poor guy. I wish they never made the sequel though.
And that ..was the list. THE TOP 10 Akshay Kumar Movies ever. What did you think of the list? What movies do you think I should have included, or which of the 10 did you most agree upon? Let me know your vishesh comments in the section below. And let me end this list with this dope GIF from the starting titles of “Action Replayy”. Suffice to say, the starting titles were the best thing about the movie.