I realize that nobody is interested in reading a ten page essay on how much I love Akshay Kumar,* so I'll keep this short and to the point. Everybody Bollywood fan has a favorite hero. A favorite hero is more than an actor, he's shorthand for how you chose to see the filmi world. Aamir is the intellectual; Shahrukh is the romantic; Salman is the boss. And Akshay?
Akshay works hard; Akshay is straightforward; and Akshay has never met the word "irony." These are qualities I admire in him (or if you prefer, his public persona) and hope to improve in myself.
As an viewer, I don't always enjoy the films that he does - 8 x 10 Tasveer comes to mind - but even when the film is a stinker, Akshay is in there giving it 110% to try and salvage something entertaining for the audience.
Over the years, critics have repeatedly turned Akshay into a punching bag. It is the consensus view in the usual circuit of reviewers that he can't act and is a buffoon onscreen. I strongly disagree with that sentiment. It's not that Akshay is a bad actor, he's just not a TV screen actor. Akshay acts big and he acts with his whole body. Things that don't register on a tiny youtube window, can be sublime when 22 feet tall - a cocked eyebrow, a hand gesture, a crinkle of the eyes... And while he'll never be one of those actors who can disappear into a role, he has no problem conjuring up all sorts of interesting and different characters to play. Just compare his nerdy avatar in Jaan-e-Mann to the tough guy in Tashan to the upright citizen of Dharkan.
I love that Akshay loves hiphop and has been a supporter of my girl Hard Kaur. I love that Akshay continues to make films for the people in the cheap seats. I love that Akshay obviously couldn't care less about fashion and lets his wife, Twinkle, dress him. I love that he can conjure up chemistry with almost any heroine, including REKHA.** And I love that Akshay Kumar can - in the 21st century - sell an effective slipping on a banana peel gag to an audience.
He hasn't had the best of luck these last few years but in that time, he's put out some films that I really enjoyed - especially Tees Maar Khan and Tashan, which featured masterful performances from the khiladi.
So, let's raise a glass (of something non-alcoholic) for our teetotaler khiladi and wish him all the best for Desi Boyz and Joker and Housefull 2 and whatever else he has coming up!
ALL THE BEST AKSHAY! AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROM YOUR No. 1 FAN!
* Least of all, Akshay himself, which is just one more reason to love him.
** The only other hero to do that in recent years is Arshad Warsi, my other favorite. Coincidence? I think not.
Enjoy this video I made ages ago... sorry for the poor video quality.