If we observe the last 5 or so years, no Bollywood actor has been in more limelight - for all things good, bad, and ridiculous - than Akshay Kumar. Akki, as called by his fans, has been riding on a hot streak of 14 back to back hit films. He’s well on the way to break the 20 year old record of 17 hits by Rajesh Khanna who incidentally is his father-in-law. In the post-Baahubali world where South Indian stars hogging more attention, it is Akshay Kumar who’s keeping the flag of Bollywood hoisted at the national level with some solid support from the next generation superstar Ranveer Singh and Ayushmann Khurrana.
It is not just in terms of celeb power and popularity through box office success, he’s way ahead of his contemporaries in terms of social media trending and for his charitable acts. The best thing is, even if he start to champion a thing for the publicity of his film, he follows up the work long after his film is out of the theatres and he already has a few more releases. Leaving outside film world activities, it is when films get negative reviews come out, one’s stardom or the lack there of comes to the fore. Housefull and Laxmii are the two recent films of Akshay Kumar that received generally negative reviews from the critics. Especially Housefull was panned by almost all of the major critics.
Owing to this, Housefull started slow at the box office. But Akshay Kumar’s stardom worked its magic and the film ended up as his biggest hit in terms of box office Nett collections in India. Laxmii was the biggest deal from a superstar for any OTT in India. That film too received negative reviews. But it emerged as one of the most viewed film over one year during the pandemic and lockdown times. When Disney Plus Hotstar announced some staggering figures of viewership, anties thought that the number is exaggerated.
But the answer came out soon. The film registered the highest viewership for a Bollywood film when aired on television. It is the second highest watched Indian film behind Baahubali 2. On the second and third airing it performed the same level to dispel the doubts that the first time viewership might be curiosity or fluke. Combined with Housefull 2 which also got similar viewership on television, Akshay Kumar for the first time in history 10 crores viewership with the first three airings of his last three films on satellite release.
In conclusion: His stardom is beyond the confines of the terms like superstar.