How Ak­shay Ku­mar Be­came The New Poster Boy Of So­cial Movies...

Stardust (English) - - COVER STORY - Words SHARBANI MUKHER­JEE

Rak­ing in the moolah with so­cially im­pact­ful films seems to be a weird math to get right in Bol­ly­wood, isn’t it? But our very own Khi­ladi AK­SHAY KU­MAR seems to have nailed it per­fectly with a lit­tle help from his for­ward think­ing wife Twin­kle Khanna! Start­ing off from be­ing a model to a waiter in Bangkok to fi­nally mak­ing it big in B-town, he has surely got it right . As he com­pletes 27 years of be­ing an ac­tor this year, we at­tempt to trace his meta­mor­pho­sis from be­ing a hit ma­chine to a so­cial icon. Read on...

Cin­ema has been used as a pow­er­ful ve­hi­cle for so­cial change. A mir­ror to the so­ci­ety, there have been sev­eral artistes who have at­tempted to re­flect the true essence of the con­tem­po­rary so­cial sce­nario. And an ac­tor who seems to have fol­lowed a sim­i­lar path is Ak­shay Ku­mar. Thanks to the re­cent string of films he has been giv­ing a nod to, the In­dian au­di­ence is fi­nally wit­ness­ing films which spell ‘progress’. De­but­ing with Sau­gandh in 1991, this dare­devil hero per­formed his own stunts with­out body dou­bles, ef­fort­lessly danced on many hit num­bers and beat up a num­ber of goons on the way. Though he was not con­sid­ered to be an earth-shat­ter­ing ac­tor, he was a con­sis­tent per­former and gave the Box of­fice the nec­es­sary num­bers. Of course, this Khi­ladi Ku­mar also wit­nessed a fair share of flops but he never be­came ir­rel­e­vant. And then some­thing changed. Yes, it was his choice of films. The films he has re­cently ap­peared in re­flects his con­sis­tency as an artiste in pre­sent­ing unique sto­ries with con­vic­tion, on top­ics which any other con­tem­po­rary would’ve had doubts about. And that re­flects his fi­nesse

as an ac­tor. We look at a few fac­tors which make him stand tall and strong in the rat race of Bol­ly­wood!

Ex­per­i­ment­ing, Re­dis­cov­er­ing

It is per­haps the na­ture of a good ac­tor to never cease ex­per­i­ment­ing. Al­though Ak­shay used to opt for ac­tion and thriller films in the first decade of his ca­reer, he went on to ap­pear in a lot of rom­coms later on. But his re­cent film choices prove that he wants to show­case him­self as a ver­sa­tile ac­tor rather than by cashing in on the ‘star’ fac­tor. His trail of hatke movies started with multi star­rer films like OMG:Oh MyGod,Spe­cial26,Baby,Jolly LLB2,Air­lift,Toi­let:EkPrem Katha and now Pad­Man. And what seems to be work­ing in his favour is the kind of con­tent these films present.

Blend­ing It Right

Choos­ing the right scripts with aplomb is nec­es­sary for an ac­tor to prove their ver­sa­til­ity and Ak­shay seems to have done just that. In­deed, it has been more about con­sis­tency and rel­e­vance in his case. While cin­ema has time and again im­pacted so­ci­ety, the art form is some­thing that is in­spired by so­ci­ety it­self. He seems to have un­der­stood the kind of top­ics which would con­nect with the masses and make an im­pact. While the present gen­er­a­tion is look­ing for­ward to films with a sturdy sto­ry­line and con­tentrich plot, he seems to be chan­nel­ing the nec­es­sary fod­der for their in­tel­lect in just the right way!

Com­mer­cially Cor­rect!

Most of Ak­shay Ku­mar’s films have been com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful. Di­rec­tors like Neeraj Pandey and R. Balki, who he has worked with re­cently, did not let go of the com­mer­cial el­e­ment to present their story in a dum­daar man­ner. And not only has he earned the big bucks, but it has earned him big ap­pre­ci­a­tions.

Bond­ing With The Masses

To­day Ak­shay re­serves a place for him­self in the big league by also be­ing seen on many shows on telly, per­haps a lot more than we would’ve thought of. Be it a cook­ery show or some­thing re­lated to per­form­ing chal­leng­ing stunts, he’s been al­most ev­ery­where! In this way by be­ing a sta­ple on the small screen, he has bonded with the mid­dle class even more. No won­der, this Khi­ladi Ku­mar is such a fave with the mid­dle­class cine­go­ers.

BharatKeVeer

And while we shower the Baby ac­tor with praises, he has gone up a notch and paved the way for him­self to be­come a ter­rific civil­ian, a true pa­triot, both on and off screen. The ac­tor re­cently launched a web­site and a mo­bile app called Bharat KeVeer, which aims to­wards help­ing fam­i­lies of army per­son­nel (up to ` 15 lakhs) who are in need. He had once men­tioned that if not an ac­tor, he would have joined the army. We have also seen Ak­shay of­ten vis­it­ing sol­diers and spend­ing time with them. And his good­will doesn’t seem to stop here. An ar­dent prac­ti­tioner of

mar­tial arts, he has also been in­stru­men­tal in con­duct­ing sev­eral work­shops around the coun­try which pro­mote self­de­fence for women. Another pat on the back for Khi­ladi Ku­mar.

The Bet­ter Half!

...and that is none other than Mrs. Fun­ny­bones aka Twin­kle Khanna. In the Kof­feeWithKaran show with di­rec­tor Karan Jo­har, Twin­kle had con­fessed that she had put forth a con­di­tion for hav­ing her se­cond child with Ak­shay only if he acted in sen­si­ble films. And the lady’s words seem to have worked won­ders! That’s when Ak­shay Ku­mar changed gears to steer ahead! What is pleas­antly sur­pris­ing is that post hav­ing Ni­tara, Twin­kle has turned au­thor and pro­ducer and has been very in­stru­men­tal in work­ing with Ak­shay to­wards cu­rat­ing films which make a dif­fer­ence. She is also the one who needs to be cred­ited for get­ting the rights of the story of Arunacha­lam Mu­ru­ganan­tham which put Pad­Man on the right gear. Ak­shay Ku­mar and Twin­kle Khanna, who look ab­so­lutely stun­ning to­gether have also emerged as one of the most sought af­ter cou­ples of Tin­sel town. We just hope they give the au­di­ences many more rea­sons to not only re­flect but also smile.

A So­cial Icon

With films on top­ics like san­i­ta­tion and men­strual hy­giene, Ak­shay has in­deed be­come the poster boy of so­cial aware­ness. The frenzy on so­cial me­dia cre­ated by the ‘Pad­Man chal­lenge’ in which celebri­ties posted their pic­tures on so­cial me­dia while pos­ing with a pad has in­deed be­come vi­ral. The ‘trend’ soon trick­led down to the com­mon man and men­stru­a­tion and men­strual hy­giene have now be­come top­ics which are be­ing dis­cussed in ev­ery nook and cor­ner of the coun­try. Post cre­at­ing such an im­pact, we won­der which is­sue will be taken up by the Naam Sha­bana ac­tor next? Has Ak­shay been slowly but surely paving a path to­wards be­ing a so­cial icon or maybe even be­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the peo­ple. Is he nurs­ing po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions like Ka­mal Haasan and Ra­jinikanth or will he con­tinue to do such co­gent films? Only time will tell! All we can do now is marvel at the way he has turned things around and worked on the kind of work he is pre­sent­ing through his films now.

Twin­kle Khanna had con­fessed that she had put forth a con­di­tion for hav­ing her se­cond child with Ak­shay.

By be­ing a sta­ple on the small screen, he has bonded with the mid­dle class even more.

A still from Pad­Man

Toi­let: Ek Prem Katha

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