Not to suggest that Akshay Kumar’s career is running out of steam — far from it — but there is an uncanny similarity between his career trajectory and that of Ayushmann Khurrana’s.
To begin at the end, they both had the optimum number of hits in 2019: Akshay led with four and Ayushmann followed with three. But apart from the box office, there are more than coincidental resemblances in the personalities of the two stars as well: They are both family-oriented Punjabis with a huge affinity for ground-level reality. Neither will ever fit into the mould of the typical Bollywood superstar in spite of being superstars themselves.
Additionally, both are married to intelligent and highly articulate women who are personalities independent of their Mrs Superstar status. Ayushmann’s better-half Tahira Kashyap is about to embark on a career as a filmmaker, and Akshay’s wife Twinkle Khanna is a one-time (reluctant) actress and a full-time author, columnist, and mother of two. Tahira and Ayushmann too are proud parents to two bright kids — a son and a daughter — whom they want to keep out of the limelight as much as possible. Akshay’s son wants to be a chef, while Ayushmann’s son is too young to know what he wants in life.
Incidentally, Ayushmann didn’t know what he wanted out of his career either. He had confessed in an interview that the image of the working-class hero happened willy-nilly: He was only doing the films that were offered to him. Akshay too didn’t plan his career. Initially, he accepted everything that came his way; his career was directionless until Suneel Darshan’s Jaanwar. This Ayushmann would never do. If push came to shove, he would avoid making mistakes like Saugandh, Deedaar and Mr Bond from the initial part of Akshay’s career.
Ayushmann is a far more confident soul who is secure in his space and not afraid to let go for a while. After three hits in 2019 and three more ready for release, he has taken three months off to be with his wife and family. Otherwise, he joked, his children would not recognise him any more.
This highlights another key similarity between the two stars: They both have a sense of humour. They both also like to sing, although one of them does it much better than the other.
It is high time that someone cast the two actors together in a film.