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Winner Khiladi strikes back

Akshay Kumar has shed his action hero image, says Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2005 19:42 IST

Some actors are born while others learn all that there's to learn in acting schools. There is also the category of actors who unlearn on the job.
Akshay Kumar, who was for long known as the Khiladi Kumar for his love for some of the most daring of screen stunts, is one such actor.

Having graduated to two-hero projects from his earlier slot of action films, he proved that he could deliver. What also worked in his favor is his tall frame, attractive good looks and complete ease at handling intricate dance steps. Remember Chura ke dil mera… the Anu Malik composed duet which made the two perfect bods Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty sizzle? Or the perfect rhythmic tandem between Saif Ali and him while lip syncing to Main khiladi tu anadi from Main Khiladi Tu Anadi?

Fortunately for Kumar, a director of Priyadarshan's calibre spotted his special talent for comedy early on and offered him Hera Pheri. The comedy, co-starring another actor from the genre of action cinema, Suneil Shetty, had the two pitted against the formidable talents of Om Puri and Paresh Rawal. Akshay Kumar held his own against the stalwarts and came out with flying colours. The film, a laugh-riot, catapulted Kumar to the enviable position of an actor who could stand up to the two and even make his presence felt.

The success of the film was followed by Aankhen, Awara Pagal Deewana and Mujhse Shadi Karoge, the last one wielded by the King of Comedy - David Dhawan.

Akshay Kumar has emerged out of his action hero image.

That he can tickle the funny bone in cine buffs was proved long back. But what needed to reassure him of his box office standing had to be established with more films and more importantly, more successes to his credit. After creating a niche for himself as an actor to watch out for, the actor, whose potential could still be untapped to its fullest, needed a good script and an able director.

This week, one of the three mega Diwali releases has Kumar essaying what he does best - a comic role in the film, Garam Masala. The director again happens to be his favorite Priyadarshan.

Whileit istoo early to know the fate of the other films - David Dhawan's Shadi No. 1 and yet another Priyadarshan directed film, Kyun Ki… with Salman Khan in the lead, it could be safely said that Kumar is on yet another winning pitch - this time putting Abraham (who tries his hand at comedy for the first time) and even the seasoned Rawal in the shade.

As the go getter lensman Mac, he hogs the proceedings in his inimitable style. His contribution to the comic timing adds so much in raising laughs that one tends to feel completely hooked to his frame while the gags alternate between the witty to hilarious and achingly funny at times. Had it not been for him, the film would not have reached its rip-roaring climax that it eventually leads to. He makes no funny faces or stretches his mannerisms to balance his life between three nubile nymphet air hostesses while the fourth one Riimi Sen waits for him at home. The pat answers he comes up with every time he gets into a tight corner when the paths of the three girls - all supposed to be his fiancées - almost overlap, has to be a joint effort on his part along with the dialogue writer, to lift the film to a an illogically side splitting caper. Thanks to him, the film doesn't get reduced to a slapstick or a clowning farcical spin.

Due credit should also be attributed to him alone since the script is not the hero here - what with some of the lines and even situations alternating between poor dampeners to downright stale. But once again, it's Akshay Kumar rising to the occasion to add to his repertoire of comic roles, and coming out a winner!

First Published: Nov 05, 2005 23:00 IST