I loved Om Shanti Om's parody films, as did rest of the universe, but unlike the rest of the universe, who probably did something smart like rewatch Om Shanti Om, I put the original, the very first Khiladi film on my next DVD order.
"It's Akshay doing his khiladi thing!" I told myself. "It can't be all bad!"
Luckily I was right. It isn't all bad. But unlike the other Khiladi franchise film I'd seen, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, it's not delightfully bad, and it's not overall a delight, either.
And no, this is not just my Sakshay bias speaking. This is my Akshay bias speaking. Akshay is a fantastic comedian, a cool dancer and I guess he can do the serious acting thing, too. What he's one-of-a-kind in, however, is the kickass. His karate moves in their whackiest combinations make movie violence incredibly fun to watch. And I thought this was the core of all Khiladi movies. Apparently not.
The film starts out promisingly. Akki does kick ass, he has amazing moves, the secondary hero Deepak Tijori delivers with dumb comedy and everything is gorgeously stupid 90's Bollywood at its best and worst all at the same time. I'm enjoying the ride, laughing out loud constantly and my mind boggles at some of the things the makers of the film came up with. How does Akshay Kumar in drag work for you? I laughed but it did also put me off pink eye shadow for life.
Around one hour and a half, however, the movie makes a dramatic turn from typical college romance masala with a splash of action into a peculiar murder mystery/thriller story. It threw me off completely and made the film drag. There was a song, but it didn't fit the mood at all anymore, and while they did sprinkle some action scenes towards the end, it didn't really make up for a mostly dull second half of the film.
I may rewatch the songs and the first half of the film, however. This catchy college song has so many weird dance moves it's hard not to love it. The canteen fight scene is something I'll definitely recall as one of my favourite Akshay scenes. Akkibatics, baby. There truly is only one khiladi.
In conclusion, the worst films aren't the ones with the least logical storylines or the worst production values. The worst films are those that fail to milk their potential; even if that potential is only in campy enjoyment. This is why Tu Chor Main Sipahi is the worst Sakshay film I know, and this is why Khiladi could be so, so much better. You let Akshay Kumar run lose, do his thing, and you've got a killer movie, I guarantee you. You force a vapid plot twist upon the story and you're not doing anybody any favors.
This film does open doors, though. What should be my next Khiladi film, any suggestions?