Akshay Kumar aka Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia started his career in the world of showbiz in 1987 with Mahesh Bhatt's directorial venture Aaj. Though Khiladi Kumar was given a small role in the film, his skills were recognised by all, and he bagged the role as the lead for Raj Sippy's Sugandh in 1991. In picture: Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty in a movie still.
Later, Akshay Kumar made his breakthrough with the Khiladi series from 1992, which went on till 2012. Ever since then, there was no turning back for Akshay Kumar! In picture: Akshay Kumar shakes a leg with the Tip Tip Barsa Paani actress, Raveena Tandon.
Before entering the world of showbiz, the Delhi boy - Akshay Kumar - went to Bangkok to learn martial arts and improvise his fighting skills. The actor also used to pay for his lessons by waiting tables at restaurants. This was not enough to make it big in Bollywood; he also taught martial arts, which later on made him the stunt-man of Bollywood. His hard work paid off when he performed his own stunts in his movies! In picture: Akshay Kumar and Raveena Tandon in a movie still.
In 1994, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan and Kajol-starrer Yeh Dillagi made him the new lover-boy of B-town. It went on to become the sixth highest-grossing film in 1994. The duo was also nominated as the best actor and best actress by Filmfare Awards. In picture: Akshay Kumar and Kajol share a lip-lock in the movie, Yeh Dillagi.
Another on-screen hit jodi of the '90s, Akshay Kumar and Madhoo gave three back to back films in 1994, and the duo's chemistry worked well on the silver screen. Loved by all the audience, Elaan, Hum Hai Bemisaal, and Zaalim made a special mark in the history of Bollywood. In picture: Akshay Kumar and Madhoo in a movie still.
Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty's bromance in Bollywood was super popular. Akshay-Suniel were first seen together in Mohra, and then later, a lot of directors made films casting the superhit duo. Movies like Waqt Hamara Hai (1993), Mohra (1994), Sapoot (1996), Hera Pheri franchise (2000-present), to name a few. In picture: Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Raveena Tandon in still from Mohra.
Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan's bromance too was loved and enjoyed by the audience. After Yeh Dillagi and Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), Akshay-Saif's jodi became superhit on the silver screen. They went on to star in Tu Chor Main Sipahi (1996), Keemat (1998), Arzoo (1999) and Tashan (2008).
In 1996, Akshay Kumar was seen with the Bollywood diva Rekha, as a villain for the first time in the history of Indian cinema in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996). The film also starred Raveena Tandon and former WWF wrestlers Crush and Brian Lee as The Undertaker. Loosely based on the Hollywood film Lionheart (1990), it was the fourth instalment in the Khiladi series. In picture: Raveena Tandon, Akshay Kumar and Rekha in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi.
The Khiladi franchise went on to make eight films with the last one being Khiladi 786 in 2012. Akshay worked in at least 15 films in a year, and also performed his own stunts in many of them, which later turned out to be blockbusters.
Talking about his dangerous stunts, in an interview with IANS back in 2009, Akshay Kumar said, "What I loved shooting this film (Blue) other than the extreme stunts, the pressure and hardcore diving sessions with all those hungry sharks around, was the fact that I got to work with the most talented team I've ever come across. Pete Zuccarini is a person I'll never forget. He taught me not only to look like a fish but act, swim and feel like I belonged underwater and that's why I pushed myself to my limit in this film. Blue happens to be the most dangerous movie I've ever been a part of."
After the Khiladi series and other comedy movies, Akshay Kumar went ahead with one more, Aflatoon, in 1997, which was directed by Guddu Dhanoa, starring Urmila Matondkar. Akshay and Urmila set the screen on fire with their classic romance and banter, but they were never seen together on the silver screen again. In picture: Akshay Kumar with his Aflatoon co-star Urmila Matondkar.
In 1997, Akshay Kumar played a supporting role in the Yash Chopra-directed romance, Dil To Pagal Hai, which also starred Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor in the main lead. The actor also bagged his first nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award.
Akshay Kumar, Shilpa Shetty and Karisma Kapoor first appeared together in the 1999 crime-drama Jaanwar, directed by Suneel Darshan. The film was a commercial success and it revived Kumar's career when he was suffering a professional setback after a few flops back in the '90s. The movie was later remade in 2004 in Bengali as Mastan. In picture: Akshay Kumar, Shilpa Shetty and Karisma Kapoor at an event.
Action-drama, thriller, and romance is something Akshay Kumar excelled in. Later, the actor also tried his hand in out and out comedy films along with Priyadarshan. One of his comedy banters included De Dana Dan in 2009, where the actor worked for the first time with Archana Puran Singh.
Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna fell in love while shooting for one of his Khiladi movies - International Khiladi, in 1999. In an episode of Koffee With Karan season 5, Twinkle Khanna confessed how her flop film Mela (2000) encouraged her to marry the hunk immediately on January 7, 2001.
The duo didn't opt for a destination wedding, rather, Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna tied the knot at Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla's residence. The marriage took place in a gathering of merely 50 people, and that too in just two hours. Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, politician Amar Singh, renowned director Dharmesh Darshan, were a few of the guests at this wedding. It took a lot of time for people to digest the fact that the two were actually married.
In picture: Akshay shared this picture and wrote alongside, "Growing up I was always inclined towards sports and my mother would ensure I got nutritious home-cooked meals to fuel my passion. But it’s a privilege that millions of street children do not have access to. 11,72,604 children in India can’t afford even a single meal a day!"
Akshay Kumar said in the show that Twinkle was very confident of her upcoming release, Mela, in 2000. She was certain that it would do well and also told him if the movie fails and doesn't work at the box office, she would marry him. Well, the movie flopped, and soon they got married. Twinkle Khanna also decided to quit acting, as she thought it wasn't her forte.
Such an adorable love story, we must say!
Now, Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna are proud parents to two children - Aarav (16) and Nitara (6). Twinkle is often seen sharing some adorable images of her kids.
In picture: Ranveer Singh shared this photo and wrote, "PRICELESS #Throwback!!! My Fanboy moment with the One & Only @akshaykumar!." Akshay retweeted the photo and wrote, "Look at the hairdo… King of Cool even back then."
In an interaction with fans on a social media platform in the month of August 2018, Akshay Kumar answered a lot of questions thrown at him by his loved ones. A fan asked if not an actor what career he would have chosen, Akshay, who has played various roles which on patriotism tweeted, "I would have wanted to join the army or coach youngsters in martial arts [sic]."
From Khiladi to King, Akshay Kumar's Bollywood journey is something one should not miss out on!
As Akshay Kumar turns 52 today, September 9, 2019, we take a look at the actor's journey with a collection of his pictures from the '90s. How many have you seen before? (All photos/mid-day archives)
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