Has Akshay lost his golden touch forever?
Akshay Kumar is quite a success story. From a struggler and stunts-specialist to a superstar and style icon, the man has been through it all.
Though the recognition was a bit belated, everyone was much too preoccupied with the idea of a non-Khan ruling the roost to complain.
The year 2007 touched a career best high with back to back success of Namastey London, Heyy Babyy, Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Welcome. Even a dynamic special appearance in Om Shanti Om won enormous appreciation. Fortune continued to favour him into 2008 wherein the industry chose to overlook the surprise failure of Tashan and root for Akki's 'Happy' gyaan in and as Singh is Kinng.
Suddenly, the actor was so more than a good looker, great fighter and garrulous comedian. He had truly arrived.
As usual, pundits began making mandatory comparisons to Amitabh Bachchan owing to his master-of-all-trades appeal and box office consistency. Even his small screen debut, Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi spelled gold.
But just as Akshay appeared to become invincible, law of averages decided to show its unpleasant face and he delivered a string of debacles. He's not delivered a solid solo blockbuster in a while. Even his television stint as the host of Masterchef India isn't garnering expected TRPs.
Meanwhile, the Khans are clearly dominating the top spot. The going is especially terrific for Aamir, in spite of his one film in a year policy and Salman, courtesy the overwhelming success of Dabangg.
To make matters worse, the Khiladi's much-hyped Diwali offering Action Replayy fizzled at the box office even as its fellow release Golmaal 3 hit jackpot. Akshay being Akshay has the immense capacity and important movies like Farah Khan's Tees Maar Khan and Nikhil Advani's Patiala House to bounce back.
Here's a look at the fate of his films during this slump:
Image: A scene from Action Replayy
Chandni Chowk To China
Initially, everything about this film, produced by Rohan Sippy and Warner Bros, screamed of promise. Even the trailer looked mighty good. Alas, the film was far too confused and conflicting in genres and interests to make any sense.
It was promoted like a wholesome comedy but turned out to be a diluted revenge drama leaving the audience bewildered and betrayed. Even Akshay's spontaneous act as a clumsy bumpkin couldn't salvage this exaggerated piece of tripe, which was ripped off by critics and common man alike.
Image: A scene from Chandni Chowk To China
Akshay's efforts to move away from comedy and do something offbeat, however, suffered from neglected promotion and dull narrative. Not surprisingly, 8x10 Tasveer vanished without a trace.
Image: A scene from 8x10 Tasveer
The promos itself drew a lot of flak for the demeaning nature of Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor's innuendo filled exchange. Aggressively publicized, Kambakkht Ishq got a strong opening but failed to sustain it for long.
Image: A scene from Kambakkht Ishq
Then again what do you expect from a film which has nothing except good-looking stars in skimpy clothes, gimmicks like Kylie Minogue, daft storyline and A R Rahman at his uninspired best on the menu? Another washout from Akki.
Image: A scene from Blue
De Dana Dan
Audiences, however, fed up of seeing Akshay in over-the-top, forced comic situations didn't quite lap this one like the others. That aside, De Dana Dan opened well and recovered its cost.
Image: A scene from De Dana Dan
Well versed with the formula of hit filmmaking, irrespective of how the content is judged, Sajid Khan scored another money-spinner after Heyy Babyy with Housefull. There's nothing linear or tangible about its situational wit, chaotic mix-ups or hamming actors (and that includes Akshay).
The actor goes about the ensuing slapstick with the effectiveness of a high-strung dolt. And while a catchy soundtrack and active publicity ensured Housefull live up to its title, it's still not that breakthrough hit Akshay needs and is entirely credited for.
Image: A scene from Housefull
Akshay Kumar mostly concentrates on the look of a enthusiastic road contractor coping with the prevalent corruption in Priyan's remake of the 1988 Malayalam hit Vellanakalude Nadu. Prior to its release, Akshay invited a lot of criticism for posing with the ailing cartoonist at a hospital, which was seen as a distasteful promotional gimmick for the movie.
Despite the negative publicity, Khatta Meetha opened decently enough only to witness its collections slip dramatically yet again.
Image: A scene from Khatta Meetha