Skip to main content

Akshay Kumar @ 51: Films that made an actor out of the superstar

No other actor has reinvented as much as Akshay Kumar has in his two decade-long career. The man started off playing lead roles in action films, established himself as an action star and then went on to do numerous roles in comedy films. He rose to superstardom by doing commercial potboilers and at the peak of career has now done films that may not be always big-budget but are always high on content. On his 51st birthday, here are the films that made Akshay Kumar shed his superstar image and perform as an actor.

Sangharsh

The film directed by Tanuja Chandra came in 1999- a time when Kumar was associated only to action-films. Yet the actor showed amazing restraint while playing a convict who helps private investigator played Preity Zinta in nabbing a serial killer. The film was a remake of Hollywood classic 'Silence Of The Lambs'

Special 26

One of the most entertaining and engaging heist drama of current times, Neeraj Pandey's 'Special 26' had Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher playing cons who conduct 'raids' in big jewellery stores as IT officers till the police (Manoj Bajpayee) gets a whiff of it.

Airlift

Another film based on a real-life incident, this Raja Menon film had Kumar playing an Indian businessman based in Kuwait who with the help of the Indian government successfully evacuated Indian population from Kuwait as Saddam Hussain's Iraq military invaded the country.

Toilet Ek Prem Katha

Many would call the film a three-hour long ad for the government's 'Swachh Bharat Campaign' but Kumar's performance as a simpleton villager who takes on the society to build a toilet for his wife will be remembered for years to come. A relevant film on the importance of sanitation and the ill effects of open defecation- the film had a social message for one and all and hence worked magic on the box office.

Jolly LL.B 2

A sequel of an already critically acclaimed- award winning film of 2013 'Jolly LLB', the part 2 had Akshay Kumar playing a small-town corrupt lawyer. When he stumbles upon a case of fake-encounter, he decides to give the victim and his family due justice at the court of law. A poignant tale of how it's easy to label anyone from the minority community, the film's courtroom scenes were powerful and Kumar soared in his character.

Padman

Who would have thought Bollywood would make a film on menstrual hygiene? Based on a real-life incident, R Balki's film has Akshay Kumar playing a man who creates low-cost sanitary pads for women in his village in Gujarat. He is initially ostracised from the village but eventually, the world takes note of his low-cost sanitary napkin machine gaining him and his idea recognition from the world over.