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Happy Birthday Akshay Kumar: 51 and Counting, This Khiladi's Game is Only Getting Stronger

Akshay mage: Yogen Shah

Akshay mage: Yogen Shah

As Akshay Kumar turns a year older, here's a look at the rise and rise of the actor.

Ever since Akshay Kumar made his debut in Bollywood in a blink and miss role as a martial art instructor in Mahesh Bhatt’s movie Aaj, the actor has been enjoying the sobriquet of Khiladi Kumar. Starting out as an action hero, Akshay Kumar’s trajectory in the film industry has surprised many.

He was initially criticised for his weak voice, zero acting skills and no distinct USP to boast of, but, over the years Akshay’s rise has been one of the most astonishing success stories of Bollywood. The reason behind Akshay’s success has been his conviction which led him to tread on his own path and carve his own niche despite not having a godfather.

Unlike the three superstar Khans, Akshay has never been a part of any camp, and has enjoyed the mass adulation. As an actor, presenter and producer, Akshay has taken a different route than his peers. He has had cordial equations with everyone in the industry and has rarely banked on planting stories of rift and friendship, to remain in news.

He has never been a sucker of festival holidays to release his movies and unlike other big stars who are picky, Akki has on an average worked in two to four movies in a year. Most superstars usually work in one or at the most two movies in a year. As a producer, Akshay smartly invested in offbeat small budget movies like Oh My God, which started a trend of sorts.

There are several other reasons that contributed in his over 25-year-long successful career. On his 51st birthday here’s a look at the rise and rise of Akshay Kumar.

New age patriotic hero: Instead of following the jingoistic patriotism largely associated to Manoj Kumar, Akshay explored new-age plots depicting the spirit of nationalism. His hugely successful films like the recently released  Gold and earlier releases like PadmanAirlift and Rustom, narrated a plot which had a strong flavour of Indianness. Similarly, his past releases such Gabbar Is BackBaby and Soldier – made use of Akki’s earthy image and were based on plots with a hint of patriotism.

King of mindless action/ comedy: Akki started out as the desi James Bond with mindless masala fare such as Mr Bond and then came a series of action movies with the word Khiladi incorporated in someway or the other-Khiladi, Khiladiyon ka KhiladiKhiladi 786 and more.

Filmmaker Priyadarshan exploited Akshay’s intrinsic humour in Hera Pheri, which further went on in movies like Singh Is King, Welcome, Hey Babbyy, Tashan and more.

Philanthropist and Income tax payer: The government records have confirmed that Akki has been the highest tax payer in Bollywood. In 2013, he had paid Rs 18 crore as advance income tax, but Salman recently took over this title by paying a tax of Rs 20 crore.

Akki may not run a charitable organisation but is known for extending his support to those in need. He offered Rs 90 lakh to the drought hit farmers in Maharashtra and more recently donated towards relief efforts in Kerala, without any fanfare.

Can stand jokes made on him: Akshay was initially dismissed as a non-actor but unlike other superstars who hate jokes made on them, Akki has always been very sporting to laugh about it. He has joked about the ‘non-actor’ jibe in several comedy shows.

Zero to Hero: Akshay Kumar was severely criticised for his looks when he started out and his weak voice considered as one of the biggest hinderance for his action hero image. He was famously snubbed by several leading ladies of the 90s, who refused to work with him. But, destiny had some other plans and Akki surely was destined to rule.