5 Times Akshay Kumar Channeled His Inner Badass to Save the Day

In the good ol’ 1990’s, he was the macho young gun – the khiladi – whose specialty was kicking some serious ass and saving damsels in distress. Then came the 2000’s, when his repertoire extended to rib-tickling comedies (goof-ups and slapstick humour galore!) where our hero was mostly busy trying to save himself. Fast forward to the present, and he is an acting heavyweight who is equally at ease in dramatic and comedic roles, and has a National Award to speak for his versatility. But one thing hasn’t changed: Akshay Kumar and the art of saving the day! Given that his recent onscreen avatars have been socially committed crusaders against injustice and evil, it may as well be time for us to acknowledge Mr. Khiladi as the de facto Messiah of Bollywood. Not convinced yet? Well, here are 5 solid reasons to chuck your scepticism:

1) OMG – Oh My God! (2012)

OMG - Oh My God!
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Loosely based on the 2001 Australian comedy ‘The Man Who Sued God’, OMG – Oh My God! told the story of an atheist who takes advantage of a loophole in the legal system and sues God (and his ‘earthly delegates’) after all his investments are destroyed in an earthquake. Propelled by a smart script and earnest performances from Paresh Rawal and Mithun Chakraborty, this clever little gem of a film lampooned the opportunistic scam artists that godmen are and the gullible nature of society. And the icing on the cake was Akshay’s playful yet charismatic turn as…well, The Lord Almighty himself!

2) Airlift (2016)

Airlift
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A tale that’s at once both harrowing and uplifting, Airlift chronicled the real-life story of the evacuation of more than 1,75,000 Indians from Kuwait during Saddam Hussain’s invasion of the country. A handful of individuals along with Air India were instrumental in pulling off the largest civilian evacuation in history, and among them was an entrepreneur named Mathunny Mathews, on whom the central character of the film was based. Akshay lived his part in a performance that ranks among his career best, and once again underlined the fact that he is first and foremost a top-notch actor.

3) Jolly LLB 2 (2017)

Jolly LLB 2
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What if the lawmakers and the law enforcers of the land abused their power to manipulate the system and exploit people? Jolly LLB 2 explored this pertinent question by weaving a very compelling story around it. Much like its predecessor, this legal drama courted much controversy prior to its release, so much so that the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court appointed a three-member committee to review the film. Though not entirely based on real events like the first film, there is no denying that Jolly LLB 2 was inspired by certain headlines that had caught the public imagination in the past.

4) Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017)

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
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The premise of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is at once quirky yet relevant, hilarious yet sad. For the uninitiated, it’s about a man who sets out to build a toilet to save his marriage. (To paraphrase the film’s protagonist, it’s much like how Shah Jahan set out to build Taj Mahal to – well, not to save his marriage but to commemorate his love for his Mumtaz Mahal. The point is, both men did try to “build” something out of their “love for their wives”, okay?)

Beneath the facade of humour and romance, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha offers a stark social commentary that drives home some very uncomfortable truths. A staggering portion of our country’s population is deprived of basic amenities like access to a toilet, and open defecation is a bane that persists despite numerous governmental initiatives and awareness campaigns. To sum it up, for once, mainstream bollywood had the guts to address a relevant social issue that’s often dismissed as taboo, and by golly, it was refreshing!

5) Pad Man (2018)

Pad Man
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Pad Man? A new superhero? Well, yes. Not the kind of superhero who flies around in a cape and fights criminals, but the kind who rises beyond his limitations and changes the society for the better. Arunachalam Muruganantham first came to public attention when he gave a TED talk on his efforts to provide sanitary napkins at a minimum cost to women living in rural areas across the country. Hailed by Time Magazine in its annual TIME 100 feature as “an entrepreneur who became an unlikely health crusader”, Arunachalam went on to win a Padmashri Award for the sanitary revolution he started. And when bollywood sought to tell the story of this altruistic common man who became a hero, they didn’t have to look any further than their own renaissance man.

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Rohith

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