Is Akshay Kumar really bigger than the Khans?

Cineswami questions the claim of the actor’s fans that the box office collections of all his films add up to Rs 2,000 crore

By the Khans we mean of course Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan, in that order, and not the Khan who looked like a pervy uncle in Cocktail i.e. Saif Ali Khan. Now, for the last couple of days Akshay Kumar has been trending worldwide on Twitter. On the back of the decent box office legs shown by Akki’s last release Special 26, his rabid fans (yes, apparently he has a few) have taken to the micro-blogging site in droves and made this hashtag #Akshay2000crore extremely popular.

The fans’ contention is that if you add the nett box office collections of all of Akki’s 105 released films, including Special 26, it totals Rupees 2,000 crore. And what’s more, this figure is apparently higher than the total box office takings of each of the Khans (no, not you, Mrs Kareena). Such an exercise is patently ridiculous. First, it does not specify whether these so-called collections are for India or worldwide, because if it were, then Shahrukh would be on top of the pile given his tremendous clout at the overseas box office. Moreover, those calculating have conveniently forgotten that reliable Indian box office numbers are notoriously difficult to come by.

But Akki is not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. He also took to Twitter and blurted thus: “Honestly blessed to have you all Akkians in my life. Special thanks to my fan clubs who support me so much selflessly time & again. Thank you for the #Akshay2000crore tag only possible coz of you all.” It is no surprise that Akki likes his numbers, for, if you loosely translate the title of his very first movie Saugandh (not counting Aaj where he had a bit part as a karate instructor), it is ‘A Hundred Stinks’. My blushes.

Just for the record, the collections of just one film of the biggest Khan of them all, Irrfan, stands at Rupees 3,129 crore to date. The film is of course, Life of Pi.

Now that that the serious business is out of the way, let us train our sights on the annual Media and Entertainment (M&E) conference that’s held in Mumbai every March, FICCI Frames. The 14th edition of the jamboree kicks off on March 12 in the venerable presence of Karan Johar. The student of last year said: “The M&E industry has the potential to become the catalyst for social change and a force of good for every niche of society. FICCI Frames has been the most eminent platform for the M&E sector and its initiatives over the past decade have improved the quality of content generation, skill development and stature of the industry. We believe that our new agenda will be the change agent for social and commercial development, connecting a billion people, while shaping and informing their opinions and getting influenced by their collective needs in turn.” Whatever.

More importantly, Bollywood will be out in force at Frames. In a panel titled Gatecrashers who made the party: The Out of Towners in Bollywood, Kahaani director Sujoy Ghosh, Ek Tha Tiger director Kabir Khan, Gangs of Wasseypur star Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Karan’s protégé Sidharth Malhotra will discuss how they made it despite not having any godfathers in the industry. That begs the question, why is Siddharth on the panel when he had Karan as his overlord.

In another panel Kamal Haasan and Rahul Bose will speak about freedom of expression. After the Vishwaroopam experience they may have a few choice words to say. And, a panel comprising Karan, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee will celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema. A master class titled Engaging A Diasporic Audience should be a barrel of laughs because Gurinder Chadha who has consistently failed to address a diasporic audience is going to conduct it. It’s A Wonderful Afterlife anyone?