By NISHI KHAN | INNLIVE
Forever a mass superstar, the Khiladi seems to have grasped the fact that he now needs to extend his fan base to the urban crowd.
Akshay Kumar exudes military swagger in his upcoming filmRustom, so what’s new? Spin in the idea actually lies in what the uniformed protagonist does. His wife has been having an affair, so the guy shoots her lover, surrenders before the law and stands trial.
The machoman in Hindi films is not supposed to be a cuckold, least of all if he is being played out by a top actor of the commercial industry.
Plus, Bollywood superstars are not meant to surrender before the law on screen (off it too these days, but we’ll get there some other time).
Akshay Kumar’s Rustom act is based on a real-life incident involving Navy commander KM Nanavati, his wife Sylvia and her lover Prem Ahuja, which shook the nation in 1959.
57 year after, its reel take seems to render the wildest spin that mainstream machismo has seen in a while.
Two years short of 50, Bollywood’s Khiladi Kumar seems to have a new game plan.
The man who made brainless brawn a foolproof money-spinning industry for over two decades is suddenly altering that theory.
If Akshay in Rustom humanises the alpha male, it is not a one-off case.
Only the other week he sprung a surprise with his cameo as a gay stud who hits on the heroes ofDishoom.
Amid the assembly-line action and banana peel-slip slapstick ofDishoom, Akshay’s two-scene appearance as a witty gay stud was unlike any machoman we have seen in mainstream Hindi cinema.
You would have expected Akshay to be the last among Bollywood’s superstars to usher such experimentation.
Unlike the Khans, he has forever only banked on the larger audience and roles that depart from stock image would seem like a risk factor for such a superstar.
Perhaps Akshay has realised the time has come for him to add variety to his repertoire.
He wants to reach out to an audience group that was never really his priority before.
Forever a mass superstar, Akshay seems to have grasped the fact that he now needs to extend his fan base to the urban crowd that doesn’t mind unusual characters.
For the multiplex audience, the concept of macho need not be streamlined to fit the traditional Bollywood definition.
The fact is also obvious that the larger audiences seem a bit tired of Akshay’s brand of mass entertainment lately.
Although his recent biggies have made money, they have not managed to break any major records.
His biggest blockbuster still remains Rowdy Rathore, a film that he made over four years ago.
There seems ennui about his brand of mass entertainment in the years since Rowdy Rathore, typified by garish shows such asHousefull 3, Singh Is Bliing, Entertainment, Boss, Khiladi 786 and Joker.
Rather, his only post-2012 release that has come anywhere close to the collections of Rowdy Rathore is surprisingly the content-drivenAirlift, which opened earlier this year and is currently the second biggest hit of his career.
The game is changing for superstardom, and the Khiladi of Bollywood has been quick to grasp that fact.