If one were to look at Akshay Kumar's filmography, all one would see is one hard-hitting film after another. Technically a Canadian citizen, Kumar is known to do thought-provoking cinema of late. Most of his recent films drive home a serious point - take for example PadMan and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Some critics have even gone on to say that most of these are subtle propaganda films as the actor's true intention lies in entering politics once his cinematic career nears its end. What most people have not looked at, at this stage, is that there is a subtle white-washing going on in the Hindi film industry, and Akshay Kumar seems to be the poster boy of it.
A deeper look into his recent films will bring light to the fact that while most of the characters played by Kumar are inspirational, they also either hail from different communities and those personas are completely revamped. The biggest example of this is PadMan. Inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, PadMan is a biographical drama film chronicling the story of a social activist from Tamil Nadu. So if PadMan is a story of an activist from Tamil Nadu, why exactly was the role essayed by someone with Punjabi roots?
Kumar's film Airlift, too, is of dicey origins. While the film can be compared to the likes of Argo or 13 Hours in terms of plot and cinematography, it is imperative to know that a massive part of Akshay Kumar's role was based on a man called Mathunny Mathews, popularly known as Toyota Sunny. The late Mathews is still celebrated as a savior by Keralites, as he played a pivotal role in evacuating several Indians during the 1990 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Yet, once again, the role was played by our Punjabi munda, Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, AKA Akshay Kumar.
Up until now, we've had Akshay Kumar play two South Indians. To add some variation, Akshay Kumar will now be seen in a historical sports drama. Kumar plays Tapan Das, a young assistant manager in 1936 who dreamt of playing Hockey for an independent India. The tale of Gold is a fictional one set against the backdrop of India’s historic Olympic win in 1948. Once again, we see Akshay Kumar in a role that could have easily been picked up by a Bengali actor.
Now, don't get me wrong. Akshay Kumar is a fantastic actor making sensible cinema - but, does he really need to star in these films? He could also credit himself as a producer for these films, or hell, even try his hand at directing the lot. Why wouldn't he cast a regional actor to play these regional characters, instead of taking up the mantle himself? Only one person can answer that: Akshay Kumar.