Akshay Kumar, one of most prolific Bollywood actor, has 152 on-screen projects over a career of 29 years to date.
Actor’s life before Bollywood
A trained martial artist, as well as a producer and one of India’s most generous philanthropists. Akshay Kumar was interested in sports during his childhood. Born to a working-class family in Punjab, he was sent to Thailand to learn martial arts, where he also served as a waiter and chef to meet his expenses. He ventured into modeling as it was a more lucrative profession, and by working as an assistant to Jayesh Sheth, a fashion photographer, Akshay managed to develop his portfolio, which led his auditions in the industry.
Akhsay Kumar early career
In 1991, he made his first appearance in the movie Saugandh, which fared poorly, but soon after, Akshay starred in director duo Abbas-Mustaan Khiladi. Khiladi was a substantial commercial success and later formed as a multiverse franchise led by Akshay Kumar throughout. Following a series of commercially unsuccessful films, Akshay starred with then leading actress Kajol in Dillagi, earning him Best Actor nomination. He started opting for more versatile roles rather than limiting his potential to the action genre. He starred in Yash Chopra’s Dil to Pagal Hai in 1997, a multi-star project with actors naming Shah Rukh Khan, Karishma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. The 90s featured a series of hit and flop projects, but it was evident that Akshay Kumar had the potential to establish himself as one of India’s leading stars.
Akshay career after 2000
In 2000, Akshay starred in comic masterpiece Hera Pheri co-starring Sunil Shetty and Paresh Rawal; declared a “hit,” a term frequently used for Bollywood films if they are commercially successful. Akshay Kumar has been known for his comic performances, during the decade and with his film choices, he established himself as leading comedic performer with films like Namaste London, Hey Babyy, Bhool Bhulaiyya, Welcome, Singh is King and Houseful. All his movies fared well at the box office, and Akshay was the bankable comedic actor of the decade.
Akshay career post-2016
A notable transition from comedy to severe, content-driven films was observed post-2016 in Akshay’s career. The movie ‘Airlift’ was released in January 2016 based on the evacuation of Indians during the invasion of Saddam Hussain in Kuwait. Even though, released with a small budget of 30 crores, the film earned 251 crores and received critical acclaim. In the same year, Rustom was released based on a story of a naval officer whose wife had an extramarital affair. It grossed over 200 crores, and his performance as naval officer won him a National Award – Best Bollywood Actor in a leading role. National Award is the most prestigious award given by the government of India on account of excellence in a particular film.
In 2017, Akshay starred in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, a romantic drama film on account of inadequate toilet facilities in India. PM Modi also supported the film as it got interlinked with Swach Bharat, a movement initiated by PM to ensure cleanliness in India.
2018 followed the same trajectory of content-driven films by Akshay with a social message led by Pad Man based on the story of Arunachalam Muruganatham, a Tamilian entrepreneur who invented sanitary pad to address mensuration taboo in India. 2019 was a year with multiple releases by Akshay Kumar. Kesari, Housefull 4, Mission Mangal, and Good News were all big commercial hit, and Akshay received critical acclaim for his performances specifically for Kesari and Mission Mangal. He has three films lined up for 2020 release, but due to the pandemic, there is a delay in film releases to regulate social distance measures in the country.
Akshay’s habits that made him successful
Akshay has led a career-driven lifestyle with stories of him being extremely punctual on shoot set despite the star status. He reportedly sleeps early and does not attend industry’s parties to wake up as soon as 5 am to adhere to his strict schedule, which features multiple films being shot simultaneously.
Highest earning actor of India
Akshay led the industry in Forbes 100 over the years with #4 ranking in 2019 in the World’s highest-paid Bollywood actors of 2019, earning $65 million after Dwayne Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, and Robert Downey Jr. His earning dropped in 2020 to $48.5 million with #52 rank, but he is the only Indian actor to feature this year due to his mega project with Amazon Prime, The End. He reportedly charges $13 million for each project. He believes he deserves this money due to the influence of his releases on the box office and the level of dedication he imparts in each project. He has also been the higher taxpayer in India for consecutive 6 six years since 2013 with an advance tax payment as high as 190 million INR.
To enjoy Bollywood actor Akshay’s varied body of work over the years, we recommend watching: Khiladi, Hera Pheri, Bhool Bhulaiyya, Singh is King, OMG – Oh my God, Airlift, Rustom, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Kesari and Mission Mangal.