If one is to look for a true action hero in the Indian cinema, the only name that comes to mind is Akshay Kumar. Considered by many as the Jean-Claude Van Damme of Bollywood, Kumar has breathed a new life into the action film genre, something his predecessors, contemporaries and followers have been unable to do. The finesse with which he breaks the neck of a thug, twists the arms of a villain and pulls off a flying kick to throw an opponent out of the window, speaks for his skill of the art.
International Khiladi, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Sabse Bada Khiladi and Elaan are a few examples of his many popular action flicks in the 90s after which he started experimenting with other genres like drama, romance and comedy. His performances in romantic films like Yeh Dillagi (1994) and Dhadkan (2000) as well as comic roles in films such as Hera Pheri (2000), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), and Garam Masala (2005) met with widespread acclaim.
Lately, the actor has been giving a mix of hits and misses with the likes of Singh is King and Namastey London doing amazing business at the box office while multi-starrer Desi Boyz failed terribly. His most recent flick Housefull 2, which was released internationally last weekend, has also done surprisingly well.
Turning up the heat this summer
However what his fans are really looking forward to this summer, is his upcoming project titled Rowdy Rathore, which will see the king of action making a comeback to the genre that first raised him to great heights of fame. The film, which is directed by Prabhudheva and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ronnie Screwvala, features Kumar in a double role opposite Sonakshi Sinha while Kareena Kapoor has a cameo role.
Film enthusiasts and cinema owners have high hopes from this latest offering for a number of reasons. Firstly, Kumar will be seen pulling off stunts in an action-packed film after seven years. This might be the perfect time for Kumar to prove that he’s still king of action. After all he doesn’t need a six-pack to fight; he is a trained martial artist who knows what punch to throw in to make it look real.
Secondly, the film bears a close resemblance to two of last year’s mega hits; Dabangg and Singham. While, Sonakshi Sinha’s look in Rowdy Rathore is almost the same as it was in Dabangg — traditional sari clad Indian girl — Kumar’s look, with an overgrown moustache, reminds one of Ajay Devgn’s get-up in Singham. Additionally, much like Dabangg and Singham, Rowdy Rathore also revolves around a handsome and powerful hunk, Shiva(Kumar) who falls in love with a conventional girl Priya (Sinha).
Lastly, another reason why this film could prove to be a crowd-puller is the fact that this is Bhansali’s first film in the action genre. One can’t wait to see how this magician, who has his name attached to box office hits like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas, will cast his spell on the audience this time around.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.
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