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Airlift: From Khiladi to Ranjit Katyal; How Akshay Kumar has grown to be Bollywood's king of intelligent thrillers

Himesh Mankad | Updated on: 27 January 2016, 13:40 IST

"A day will come when films like Baby and Airlift will earn more than Rowdy Rathore. People will start asking us to give content based films".

Akshay Kumar seems to have figured out the industry

Bollywood often sees full blown commercial entertainers breaking Box Office records. While most of these blockbusters are revenge dramas, there have been a few exceptions like PK and Bajrangi Bhaijaan which balance commercial elements with a strong feel-good factor.

On the face of it, films like Special 26, Baby and Airlift are commercial films. However, these films all deal with relatively less explored genres - a refreshing change from Bollywood's tried and tested formulas.

Also Read: Airlift Box Office: Akshay Kumar film stands strong at the ticket window

Special 26 was a heist film while Baby was an edge of the seat thriller that dealt with the topic of terrorism.

Film making in India is all about right budgeting. Despite both Baby and Special 26 not breaching the Rs 100 crore mark, they managed to help the producers break even. Special 26 saw distributors suffering losses in a few circuits.

Both films starred Bollywood's Khiladi, Akshay Kumar, who has been consistently trying to explore fresh genres and storylines in the projects he backs. With his latest offering, Airlift, Akshay has once again tried to veer away from the glitzy blockbuster genre to retell a historic event.

"I don't know how Airlift is doing well at the Box Office; there is not a single commercial element in the film. The collections have taken me by surprise," a friend said after watching the film.

Also Read: Birthday question for Akshay Kumar: Do four releases a year make for bad business?

Airlift was a risky project. But it seems to have paid off for Akshay Kumar. One of India's biggest action stars has been portrayed as an underdog in the film - a far cry from his larger than life persona.

It looks like Akshay Kumar's resolve to stick to exploring new genres is paying off. The Box Office collections of his recent films are testament to this. Take a look:

  • Special 26: Rs 65 crore
  • Baby: Rs 96 crore
  • Airlift: Rs 71 crore and counting (5 days)

Going by how well Airlift is performing at the Box Office, it is sure to go past the collections of Rowdy Rathore (Rs 132 crore) to become Akshay Kumar's highest grosser till date.

Predicting a lifetime number is not an easy task as the positive word of mouth and glowing reviews are translating into ticket sales.

Akshay's constant attempt to make and back content-based thrillers seems to be ushering in plenty of goodwill. Though his next film, Housefull 3 is touted to be a slapstick comedy, the actor will wrap that film to get back to what he seems to do best - another experimental thriller.

Also Read: Four releases for Akshay Kumar next year, including Neeraj Pandey's Rustom

After Housefull 3, Akshay will be seen in, Rustom, a romantic thriller rumoured to be based on the infamous Nanavati murder case.

First published: 27 January 2016, 13:40 IST
Himesh Mankad @himeshmankad

Himesh Mankad is an entertainment journalist who has a B.Com degree from Narsee Monjee College, Mumbai. He prefers covering Bollywood and loves good stories and music. When not watching movies, he can be found on a cricket field strutting his stuff.