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2022 to mark Priyadarshan- Akshay reunion: Let’s look at their illustrious box-office journey

Priyadarshan and Akshay Kumar are set to collaborate after 12 years since their last venture, Khatta Meetha (2010). The director recently confirmed the reunion in an interview and has called the film an “out and out comedy with emotions”. He also clarified that it is an “original script” and not a remake. The film is set to go on floors early next year. Let us look back at the journey of the two, individually and collectively.

Bollywood has seen several iconic director-actor duos in the form of David Dhawan-Govinda, Sooraj Barjatya-Salman Khan, and Rohit Shetty-Ajay Devgan to name a few. However, the list is incomplete without mentioning the most successful duo of Priyadarshan- Akshay Kumar.

Akshay Kumar marked his debut in 1991 with Saugandh. He swiftly solidified himself as an action hero with several ventures including Kayda Kanoon (1993), Mohra (1994), Maidan-E-Jung (1995), Insaaf: The Final Justice (1997), and Jaanwar (1999).

He soon earned the title ‘Khiladi’ due to the massive success of his Khiladi Franchise. However, it didn’t take much time for him to get type-casted as an action hero. Additionally, he delivered five consecutive flops from 1997 to 1999.

Priyadarshan name is synonyms with the comedy genre. The director has made over 90 films predominantly in four languages- Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu. Similar to Kumar, Priyadarshan marked his Bollywood debut with his own Malayam remake Muskurahat in 1992.

For his following movies, he kept in mind the Hindi audience and made the required changes. This made his films a huge success and opened the doors of Bollywood for him. His other 90’s work includes Gardish, Virasat, Saat Rang Ke Sapne, Kabhi Na Kabhi, and Doli Saja Ke Rakhna.

Taking a leap of faith to reinvent him, in 2000 Kumar teamed up with Director Priyadarsh for the cult comedy Hera Pheri. The actor credits the latter for bringing out the funny bone in him. The movie changed the trajectory of Kumar’s art from action to comedy. It also changed Priyadarshan’s Bollywood destiny. The film is considered a turning point in Hindi cinema. It was also the first comedy venture to do well in overseas box-office.

This marked the beginning of a partnership of over six (and coming) films.

As the audience awaits their magic to come alive, let’s look at their stellar collaborations-

  1. Hera Pheri (2000)

Three individuals in dire need of money, chance upon a ransom call via a cross-connection. They devise a plan to get hold of the ransom for themselves.

The remake of 1989-Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking did not have a decent opening at the box office. But the pace picked up and it grossed Rs. 24,25,00,000(Rs. 12.36 crore nett) in India.

Paresh Rawal was nominated and awarded for his comic role by Filmfare Awards and International Indian Film Academy Awards. It began the long-time trend of Priyadarshan casting either or all of the three actors- Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, and Paresh Rawal.

  1. Garam Masala (2005)

Two photographer friends like to flirt with women. Trouble arises when one decides to disrupt the other’s life finding him enjoying the company of three ladies.

It’s a remake of his 1985 Malayalam film Boeing Boeing. The film featured Akshay Kumar and John Abraham along with Paresh Rawal. The movie had a collection of Rs. 29.00 crore net. Kumar received the Best Actor (Comic Role) award at the Filmfare Awards.

3. Bhagam Bhag (2006)

An owner of a theatre group along with two members finds themselves as suspects in a murder case in a foreign land.

The stellar cast included Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Govinda, and Lara Dutta. The essence of the film is based on the 1995 Malayalam film Mannar Mathai Speaking. The film acted as a brief revival for Govinda similar to Akshay Kumar’s. Bhagam Bhag’s box office collection was Rs. 40.38 crore net making it a hit.

4. Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)

An NRI and his wife return to their ancestral home only to find themselves subjected to paranormal activities. They seek help from a psychiatrist who happens to be a childhood friend.

Another of his ventures to have gained cult status, Bhool Bhulaiyaa was an ensemble with Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Shiney Ahuja, and Paresh Rawal. It’s also a remake of the 1993 Malayalam film Manichitathzahu.

The film was nominated for Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Villain at the International Indian Film Academy Awards.

The film received wide acclaim and was a huge commercial success. It earned Rs.49.10 crore net making it the 6th highest grosser of the year.

5. De Dana Dan (2009)

Two penniless friends in order to marry their respective girlfriends hatch a plan to kidnap a rich women’s dog for ransom.

The movie is a partial adaptation of the Hollywood film Screwed and has taken scene inspirations for Priyadarshan’s own Malayalam film Vettam. The cast includes Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal, and Sameera Reddy. The film was a box office hit and managed to earn a decent Rs. 48.15 crores net.

6. Khatta Meetha (2010)

A righteous yet ambitious contractor struggles with the corruption allegations and corrupt bureaucracy while having strained relations with his family and ex-girlfriend.

The film is a remake of his 1988 Malayalam film Vellanakalude Nadu, and stars Akshay Kumar and Trisha Krishnan in the leading roles. The film opened to a below-average verdict and earned Rs. 62.79 crore net. However, over the years it has garnered a cult status.

Comedy genre saw a return to the silver screens and to the hearts of the audience. And Priyadarshan-Akshay dynamic is a result of it. The record of their collaboration has a great success rate and audience approval. In the current filmmaking trends, the comedy genre has taken a back seat or has been incorporated with a new genre (i.e horror comedy, social comedy, dark comedy, or dramedy). We hope this duo can bring back the magic of comedy genre.

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