Akshay Kumar is currently one of the most successful actors in Bollywood today. The 49-year-old actor is currently enjoying a dream run at the Box Office with all his recent films earning more than Rs 100 crore. He recently received his first National Award for the role of a navy officer in Rustom. But he did not attain the success overnight. In a career spanning more than two decades, Akshay has witnessed several ups and downs in his career.

He made his debut in Mahesh Bhatt directorial Aaj in 1987. It was Raj Sippy’s Saugandh in 1991 in which he was a lead actor. But it was suspense thriller Khiladi that turned out to be Akshay’s breakthrough performance. The film released on June 5 exactly 25 years ago marked the beginning of the successful Khiladi franchise and catapulted Akshay to new heights of stardom. Those born in the late ’80s and 90’s would be feeling quite old now.

Directed by sibling duo Abbas-Mustan, Khiladi revolved around two friends Raj (Akshay Kumar) and Boney (Deepak Tijori) who place a bet for fun. Raj claims that he can extort money from minister Kailash Nath (Prem Chopra) by convincing him that his daughter Neelam (Ayesha Jhulka) is abducted. Initially, things go as per plan but a murder lands everyone in trouble. The police are now on a hunt for Raj, who stands accused of that murder. Will he able to prove his innocence?

Khiladi was critically acclaimed due to its intriguing plot. The music of the film was composed by Jatin-Lalit and the songs are still fresh in our minds. Surprisingly, the music composer duo never worked with Abbas-Mustan after this film. It was the film that turned Akshay into an action star. Over the years, the actor successfully utilised his black belt in taekwondo on the silver screen.

On the 25th anniversary of the film, we bring to you some special moments that will make you nostalgic. After the film was released, Akshay along with his co-stars visited a theatre to know the public response to his film. Here’s an old video you shouldn’t miss.

Also read: Akshay Kumar explains the connection between construction of toilets and rapes statistics in India

Akshay Kumar made his foray into Bollywood without a godfather. After dabbling as a martial arts instructor, he did some modelling assignments before grabbing a role. Here’s an old interview of the Khiladi Kumar in the early ’90s.

After Khiladi’s success, Akshay acted in other instalments of the franchise like Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995), Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), Mr & Mrs Khiladi (1997), International Khiladi (1999), Khiladi 420 (2000) and the latest one being Khiladi 786 (2012).

Also read: Akshay Kumar, Ranveer Singh were late in watching Baahubali 2. But their reviews are worth a read

Here’s how Akshay’s fans reacted on social media on Khiladi turning 25 years old.

And this song from the film as well.

Last but not the least, check out Akshay and Ayesha Jhulka’s look from the super-hit thriller.

Also read: Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar’s 2.o beats Baahubali 2’s record, to release in 15 languages

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