Twenty five years have passed since Khiladi got released, doesn’t that make you feel old suddenly?. The Abbas Mustan thriller that hit the theatres in the year 1992 catapulted Akshay Kumar to stardom. It was an era of Manmohanomics, the dawn of economic liberalisation in India, and from there to Modinomics, our country has changed sizably, so did Bollywood.
Khiladi, a suspense thriller cloaked in comedy, tells the story of four college friends and how their bindaas lives change overnight when one of their pranks go dangerously wrong. The movie was a huge hit, and the tag ‘Khiladi’ stayed with Akshay ever since; seven more films followed with the word Khiladi in it, constituting a series, with Akshay playing the lead role.
In the 90s, battle of the sexes songs were commonplace in Bollywood, and one of the hit songs in that genre was from Khiladi — ‘Khud Ko Kya Samajhti Hai’. A retrospective glance makes it hard to overlook some of the misogynistic elements in that famous song, which is directed at the heroine who refuses to reciprocate the romantic interest of the hero. The song shows the valiant hero and his male brigade try to subdue the girls with the aid of suggestive vulgar graffities on the college walls. It that pre-social media era, these things hardly got discussed.
Regarding the fashion, some of the outfits worn by the actors — the double denim, scrunchies and jacket patches — may look familiar to the Generation Z, especially with the return of the 90s fashion of late.
Talking about the main cast, the lead man, Akshay — his name and fame hasn’t dwindled a bit in the last two decades. He is still among the highest-paid celebrities of the world, and is featured among the top 10 in the Forbes list.
Raj Malhotra, the sturdy habitual bettor who flaunted his biceps in a blue wife beater tee, will be turning 50 this year, and he looks better than ever before, unlike most of his co-stars.
Ayesha Jhulka, who played the heroine Neelam, hasn’t been active in the scene for a long time, saving for her infrequent guest appearances. She called it quits at the peak of her career, while little is known of Sabeeha, who played the role of Sheetal in the movie.
Deepak Tijori failed to earn a big break as an actor, and later opted to work behind the camera as director from the noughties onward. He was also featured in the reality show Bigg Boss season 1.
Photos: Check out how the stars of Khiladi have changed over the years