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Akshay Kumar, Bollywood's Not So Chhupa Rustam, @50

September 09, 2017 09:20
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    Akshay Kumar, action and comic star, is 50 today. One of Bollywood's most bankable heroes, Akshay's career graph has seen many a dip and spike in the 24 years he has been working. As he turns a year older, we celebrate his life and journey.

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    Akshay Kumar, real name Hari Om Bhatia, was born on September 9, 1967 in Amritsar to an army officer and his wife. The family then moved to Delhi, living in Chandni Chowk, where Akshay studied at Don Bosco School and Khalsa College before moving to Mumbai.

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    Always interested in martial arts, Akshay earned a black belt in Taekwondo before moving to Thailand where he studied Muay Thai and famously worked as a chef.

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    After moving back to Mumbai, Akshay earned a living teaching martial arts and landed his first modelling assignment with the help of one of his students who happened to be a photographer. As modelling offers trickled in, Akshay also made the rounds of film studios with his portfolio.

    This image has been Instagrammed by Akshay Kumar

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    His persistence paid off and Akshay was cast as the lead in Deedar (1992) opposite actress Karisma Kapoor. However, the movie was only released in 1992, making 1991's Saugandh, opposite Raakhee and Shanti Priya, his screen debut.

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    Akshay's first big break came in the form of the movie Khiladi (1992), the first of a series of movies to capitalise on the Khiladi tag which would become Akshay's screen moniker.

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    This was followed by five films which performed poorly at the box-office. These were Ashaant (1993), Dil Ki Baazi (1993), Kayda Kanoon (1993), Waqt Hamara Hai (1993) and Sainik (1993). However, his performance in Yeh Dillagi (1994) fetched Akshay his first Filmfare and Star Screen Best Actor nominations.

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    The next in the Khiladi series, Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), created frenzy. With Saif Ali Khan as the anari and Akshay as the khiladi cop, the movie left everyone looking forward to the next movie. With successful films like Suhaag (1994) and Elaan (1994) in the same year, Akshay was well on the way to carving a niche for himself in the industry.

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    After Maidan-E-Jung (1995) came the third movie in the Khiladi series - Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995) which was a huge hit. Opposite Mamta Kulkarni, he again played the role of a cop. After Tu Chor Main Sipahi (1996), the fourth Khiladi movie came out. Called Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), the film had him sharing screen space with Rekha, while romancing Raveena Tandon and duelling WWF champ Undertaker. This proved to be a daunting task for the fit hero when he nearly broke his neck and back. He was treated extensively in the US.

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    In 1997, he appeared as a rich brat in Aflatoon and also starred in the fifth Khiladi venture - Mr. & Mrs. Khiladi, which bombed at the box-office. So did the other films in the Khiladi series - International Khiladi (1999) and Khiladi 420 (2000).

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    However, he had a huge hit in the form of Yash Chopra's Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), playing a supporting role opposite actors Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor. Akshay's performance fetched him a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also received praise for Sangharsh (1999) and Jaanwar (1999).

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    His career resurrected from the Khiladi doldrums when Akshay played a villain in 2001's Ajnabee opposite Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Bobby Deol, and won the Filmfare Award for Best Villain. In Aankhen (2002) he played a blind man.

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    Akshay, once known as a ladies man, shrugged off his Casanova image in 2001 when he married actress Twinkle Khanna. Their son Aarav was born in 2002 and daughter Nitara in 2012.

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    In 2009, the actor received the Padma Shri award. His fellow awardee that year was actress Aishwarya Rai.

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    The success of Hera Pheri led to Akshay being cast in a string of comedies including Awara Paagal Deewana (2002), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004) and Garam Masala (2005), which won him the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian.

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    Meanwhile, he also played dramatic roles in Khakee (2004), Police Force (2004) and Aan: Men At Work (2004). In Aitraaz (2004), opposite Priyanka Chopra, he played a loyal husband trying to ward off the advances of a seductress.

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    In 2006, Phir Hera Pheri reunited the hit comic team Akshay, Paresh Rawal and Suniel Shetty with Bipasha Basu added for good measure. Akshay also appeared in Bhagam Bhag (2006) with Govinda.

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    In 2007, a new star pairing was created with Namastey London in which Akshay starred opposite Katrina Kaif, playing a small-town Punjabi munda to her spoilt London girl. Later that year released Welcome, also a hit. Akshay and Katrina were now being compared with the ultimate hit Jodi of Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan.

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    Heyy Babyy (2007) earned Akshay praise for playing the typical urban man scared of commitment. He was also seen in the psychological thriller comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) with Vidya Balan. This was a remake of the 1993 Malayalam film, Manichitrathazhu. The film was declared a super hit.

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    Tashan (2008), co-starring Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, failed to make an impression. The film opened to mixed reviews amidst much hype about Kareena's size-zero figure.

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    The next year, Akshay and Katrina teamed up again for the hit Singh Is Kinng (2008). Akshay was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award and Asian Film Award for Best Actor.

    He also lent his voice for animated film Jumbo.

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    Akshay's films in 2009 were a string of disappointments including Chandni Chowk to China (2009) opposite Deepika Padukone, 8 X 10 Tasveer, Kambakkht Ishq, Blue and De Dana Dan.

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    However, he made a grand appearance in 2010's Housefull and also starred in Khatta Meetha, Action Replayy opposite Aishwarya Rai and Tees Maar Khan with Katrina Kaif the same year.

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    In 2011, the actor appeared in the family drama Patiala House which also featured Rishi Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Dimple Kapadia in lead roles. Thank You saw Akshay playing a detective.

    Desi Boyz released the same year and was also a comedy film which did average business at the box office.

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    2012 was a bumper year for Akshay. He had superhits in Housefull 2 and Prabhu Deva's Rowdy Rathore (2012) opposite Sonakshi Sinha. Despite a disastrous Joker, co-starring Sonakshi again, Akshay acquitted himself well with OMG - Oh My God! and Khiladi 786, the eighth film in the Khiladi series.

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    In 2013, Akshay appeared in the well-received Special 26 and in Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara! opposite Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan. Boss, which also released the same year, was a flop.

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    With the success of Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, Entertainment and The Shaukeens, 2014 was a good year for Akshay.

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    2015 began on a good note with the success of Baby, followed by Gabbar Is Back and Brothers and ended with lots of bling with the release of Singh is Bliing.

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    In 2015, Akshay Kumar also made it to the Forbes list of Highest Paid Actors in which he ranked 10. He was placed above actors Salman Khan (rank #14) and Amitabh Bachchan (rank #18) and was just one space below Shah Rukh Khan. Akshay tied with Brad Pitt.

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    Last year, Akshay appeared in three films - all three were hit. The year started on a patriotic note with Airlift, based on the evacuation of Indians from a war-struck Kuwait during the invasion by Saddam Hussein. Next was Housefull 3, which was panned by critics but still managed to collect Rs 100 crores. Lastly, he featured in Rustom, based on real life incident of Naval Officer KM Nanavati and businessman Prem Ahuja. Apart from this, Akshay made cameos in Dishoom and Akira.

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    This year, Akshay Kumar received his first National Award for Best Actor for his performance in 2016 movie Rustom.

    This image has been Instagrammed by Akshay Kumar

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    Akshay has featured in three films this year- Jolly LLB 2, Naam Shabana and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.

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    Akshay Kumar's Toilet: Ek Prem Katha focusses on the importance of sanitation in the country and addresses the problem of open defecation. The film, which is based on the theme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat campaign, has earned over Rs 200 crore at the box office.

    This image has been Instagrammed by Akshay Kumar

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    Akshay Kumar's upcoming projects are - Padman, 2.0, co-starring Rajinikanth, Gold and Mogul: The Gulshan Kumar Story.

    This image has been Instagrammed by Akshay Kumar

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    We wish Akshay a very happy birthday.

    This image has been Instagrammed by Akshay Kumar

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