There was a time in this decade when Akshay Kumar films failed to get even decent opening at the multiplexes in India as the Khiladi was just known to do brainless entertainers mainly aimed at regaling the masses.
However, Neeraj Pandey’s Special 26 was a major turnaround for Akshay Kumar. With the film, Akshay Kumar moved away from his heroic image and catered to the audiences in the metros. The film didn’t do humongous biz, however it did find a fair share of appreciation from the target audience.
After Special 26 came Baby and Holiday which further helped him build a certain amount of trust among the high end audience. Yes, he lost out on his core fan base, but this was the beginning of a new journey for Akshay Kumar in Bollywood.
The genuine appreciation from critics and audiences lead to a massive change in Akshay’s choice of films. Ecstatic about the critical acclaim for Baby, the actor in the past revealed that ‘Itne Sitare Toh Maine Apni Zindagi Main Kabhi Nai Dekhe Hai.’ (I haven't seen so many stars in reviews in my life).
Off late the Khiladi has started taking up subjects which are close to the reality and packages them in a manner that audiences can relate to.
“There was a time when stories used to be like ‘Ek Tha Raja, Ek Thi Rani Aur Dono Phir Khush Rahe’, but now I think there has to be a lot twist and turn even in the ‘Ek Tha Raja, Ek Thi Rani’ story,” said Akshay Kumar while promoting Jolly LLB 2.
Gone are those days when Akshay used to play himself in most of the films and perform some stunts to win over the front row audiences. The actor has been picking up characters and scripts that have enough substance. If we look at few of his successful films whereas the ones lined up for release, most of them are inspired by true events.
Akshay’s films based on real events:
- Special 26 (2013)
- Airlift (2016)
- Rustom (2016)
- Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017)
- Padman (2017)
- Gold (2018)
- Mogul (2018)
The fact that Rustom fared better than Housefull 3 at the Box-Office, might have been a testimony of fact that it is the content that sells more than the products made in the name of films. Yes, he no longer caters to that chunk of loyal audience which still expects him to be part of maar-dhaad entertainers. But then since he's grown in his profession and is now aiming for good content, we are sure his audience is forced to grow up too.