Top Ten Akshay Kumar Films – Part 1
A very physical actor, who is famous for performing many of his own stunts, Akshay Kumar made his name in the ‘90s through his series of Khiladi films. All action comedies, they had no connection to each other except for the word ‘Khiladi’ (meaning clever person/player) in the title. In the early 2000s, after a change of hairstyle, he began to take on more romantic roles, such as Dhadkan (2000), while also gravitating towards full on comedy in films including Hera Pheri (2000) and Muhjse Shaadi Karoge (2004). Today he is best known for playing hapless idiots/womanisers in such brain-dead fare as Heyy Babyy (2007) and Desi Boyz (2011), and though this might be enough to write him off, he always seems able to balance out these vulgar choices with other, better roles and enthusiastic (if not always great) performances…
10. JAANI DUSHMAN (2002)
A true contender for the crown of ‘worst film ever made’, Jaani Dushman is a seriously ‘out there’ recommendation. The special effects are laughable, the story is nonsensical and the acting is, at best, dire, but despite all that, it still manages to be entertaining in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way.
The plot centres around Manisha Koirala who, along with her group of friends, happens to be the oldest college student ever. She is also a snake who was cursed for all eternity because she disco danced on the roof of a meditating shaman. When she is raped by two college ‘boys’, the shape-shifting snake that she is in love with decides to get revenge by killing them…and everyone else.
Akshay has the third meatiest role in the film, as an atheist who is seemingly impervious to death. The question of how and/or why Jaani Dushman was ever made, never mind released, may haunt you after watching, but for those who possess a taste for the bad and bizarre, it is a must-see.
One of the most popular ‘buddy’ pairings in Hindi cinema, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay played off of each other, to varying success, in five films during the ‘90s. Their shtick was simple: Akshay was the brains and brawn and Saif was the girl-crazy fool. It comes as no surprise, then, that their reteaming in Tashan (Style) was eagerly anticipated.
Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the film possesses shades of Tarantino and Rodriguez, while maintaining a fast-paced desi ‘coolness’ that is uniquely Bollywood. Akshay steals the show as Bachchan Pandey, a goon hired to retrieve the money that Saif and Kareena Kapoor have stolen from an English-loving gangster (Anil Kapoor, hilarious).
Tashan wasn’t a big hit, and while Saif and Akshay do have some cute moments, it fails to bring back their previous onscreen magic. However, those who appreciate films such as True Romance (1993) and Pulp Fiction (1994) may want to check it out.
08. SABSE BADA KHILADI (1995)
The first of two Khiladi films on the list, Sabse Bada Khiladi stands out due to some wacky shenanigans involving bodies hidden in freezers, bloody lipped kisses, a ludicrous ending, involving a man being sent to jail for a murder he didn’t actually commit, and a dance sequence featuring Hijras. If that’s not enough to tempt you, there is also a chase scene involving a helicopter and a gratuitous use of shoulder pads.
Big-haired Bunty (Aditya Roy Kapoor) can’t commit to his girlfriend because of his troubled home life. His parents, Kishen (Akshay) and Mala (Aishwarya Rai), argue nonstop, creating embarrassing scenes and destroying his belief in marriage. Luckily, his girlfriend’s grandfather has a time machine on hand that Bunty can use to travel back to the 1970s and ensure that his parents marry for love (instead of it being arranged), thus solving all problems in the future. But first he must face the considerable challenge of making Kishen, who is ugly, timid, and the constant butt of jokes, into a man that his mother would want to marry.
There are some similarities to Back To The Future (1985), but Action Replayy focuses far more on the romance than the sci-fi and succeeds in being, ultimately, different. The 1970s setting adds a layer of kitschy fun – the best scene being a disco dance off – and Akshay and Aishwarya’s slap-slap-kiss romance is very enjoyable.
06. KHAKEE (2004)
Boasting a brilliant ensemble cast (Ajay Devgan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, etc.), Khakee is a twisty, violent thriller featuring great performances and a smart script.
When eight officers are shot dead while escorting a terrorist, five more are sent out to recapture him with the help of a beautiful witness (Rai).
In a role which is often considered to be one of his best, Akshay balances comedy, action and betrayal with ease, managing to hold his own against the likes of Bachchan and Devgan.
Check back for part two of our countdown of Akshay Kumar’s best films, which is coming very soon!
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