When Kumar returned to Mumbai after his martial arts training, he began teaching the art form. He then tried his luck at modeling when a student of his pursued him to give it a shot, paving his way into Bollywood. He enjoyed modeling for a brief period, assisted photographer Jayesh Seth, and also worked as a background dancer and stunt actor, before producer Pramod Chakravarthy signed him for his movie Deedar. However, Deedar was not his debut movie. He was first seen on the big screen in the 1991 release Saugandh opposite Raakhee and Shantipriya. After his debut, he was seen in Dancer, which failed to garner him any praises. It was only after he was signed by Abbas-Mustan in their suspense-thriller Khiladi that he received fame and appreciation.
After a series of commercially unsuccessful movies, Akshay Kumar was seen in Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Mohra in 1994, both of the movies were among the highest-grossing movies of the year. In the same year, he appeared opposite Kajol in Yash Chopra’s Yeh Dillagi, which earned him a Filmfare nomination for the Best Actor. After having delivered 11 movies in the year 1994, of which most were hit, he emerged as a successful actor.
The Khiladi received critical acclaim for his performances in movies like Sangharsh and Jaanwar, which marked his comeback after a couple flop films. After being a part of action, thriller, suspense, romance, and drama movies, the actor stepped into the genre of comedy with director Priyadarshan’s Hera Pheri opposite Paresh Rawal and Suniel Shetty, which marked a turning point in his career. He was then seen donning a negative role in Abbas-Mustan’s suspense-thriller Ajnabee, which won him the Filmfare Award for Best Villain and IIFA Award for Performance in a Negative Role. Kumar then shared screen space with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra in David Dhawan’s comedy Mujhse Shaadi Karogi in 2004, which was a hit. However, it was his performance in Aitraaz which was one of his best performances in that year. The actor considers it to be the boldest movie that he has been a part of.
After delivering innumerable brilliant performances and being a part of many movies, the year 2007 proved to be the most successful year for him. He appeared in hit films like Namastey London opposite Katrina Kaif, Heyy Babyy alongside Riteish Deshmukh and Fardeen Khan, Bhool Bhulaiyaa with Vidya Balan and Shiney Ahuja, and Welcome with Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor, all of which were commercially successful movies. Despite a number of hits, Kumar featured in movies that bombed at the box office like Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan, Deepika Padukone-starrer From Chandni Chowk To China, Shirish Kunder’s Joker opposite Sonakshi Sinha, and Action Replayy with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
The actor was then seen doing content-heavy movies such as Special Chabbis, Baby, Gabbar Is Back, and Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty. In 2016, Akshay was seen in two real-life stories, Airlift and Rustom. While Airlift focused the on the largest human evacuation to have taken place during the Gulf War in Kuwait in 1990, Rustom explored the life of a Navy officer, who pleaded guilty for murdering his wife’s lover. The next year, in 2017, Kumar was cast in the second instalment of the Jolly LL.B series titled The State vs Jolly LL.B 2 or commonly called just Jolly LLB 2. The movie went on to become a commercial success and saw Kumar portray the role of a struggling lawyer, trying to establish his career by means of fighting one of the most critical cases of his career.
Reprising the role of Ajay Singh Rajput, Akshay was seen in the 2017 action thriller Naam Shabana, which is a spin-off from the 2015 movie Baby. His other projects for the year include the satirical comedy Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, which is a comical take on the Indian PM’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhyaan’ and explores the unhygienic sanitary conditions in most parts of India. Next, he collaborated with R. Balki on Padman, a tale about an Indian man who manufactured sanitary napkins at cheaper rates, making it easily accessible to lots of women in the rural parts of India. The same year, he was seen alongside the superstar of Tamil cinema Rajinikanth in 2.0, the sequel to the 2010 fantasy action Robot, following which he reunited with Neeraj Pandey for the movie Crack.
His future projects include the 2018 biopic drama Mogul, which is based on the life of Gulshan Kumar, who is considered to be the emperor of Indian music. Apart from the biopic, Akshay will be seen in Reema Kagti’s sports history drama Gold, which explores the story India’s first gold medal at the Olympics as an independent country.