Akshay, Salman, Shah Rukh, Ajay promise an ‘action-packed' 2021   

Action films have always delivered and Bollywood has an impressive line-up ready to put the COVID-19 blues behind.

February 07, 2021 / 12:43 PM IST
Salman Khan’s Radhe is among the several action films expected to do bring the audience back to cinema halls.

Salman Khan’s Radhe is among the several action films expected to do bring the audience back to cinema halls.

It was in the 1970s when “action films” started ruling the roost. What started with the likes of Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha went full throttle with “angry young man” Amitabh Bachchan bursting onto the scene. The genre ruled well into the 80s with Big B doing what he does best, as Anil Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol and Jackie Shroff joined the party. The three Khans announced their arrival in the 90s when romance bloomed on the screen but Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Suniel Shetty kept action alive.

As the third decade of the new millennium dawns, action films are set to take the centre stage and with a bang, more so as theatres look at resurgence and cinema-goers look to put lockdown and coronavirus blues behind them.

All eyes are on Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn, John Abraham and South entrant Yash to deliver at the box office with their big-budget action-packed extravaganzas and bring back the audience. 

Plans are afoot for the releases of Sooryavanshi, Radhe, Pathan, RRR, Satyameva Jayate 2 and K.G.F Chapter 2, to name a few.

Each of these films promises a heavy dose of action entertainment. Sooryavanshi and Radhe are cop dramas, Pathan steps into the spy zone, RRR is a period flick, Satyameva Jayate is grass-root masala and KGF 2 opens another chapter about one man taking on the coal mafia. At least, Rs 1,000 crore is riding on these films.


Statistics of the last five years show that action films have been among the biggest money-spinners. If one looks at the Top 5 since 2016, Bollywood or Hollywood, action films occupy at least three slots.

Picture this. In 2016, Dangal, Sultan and M.S. Dhoni-The Untold Story were amongst the Top 5 and were all sports- action drama. The year 2017 was huge as Baahubali 2 ruled followed by Tiger Zinda Hai and Raees. The next year was even bigger as Padmaavat, Simmba, Avengers: Infinity War and 2.0 occupied the top four slots. The year 2019 was a repeat when Avengers: End Game, War, and Uri -The Surgical Strike struck it rich. As for 2020, the only three films to do well were Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, Baaghi 3 and Malang.

Action speaks louder than words

As a genre, action has time and again worked with the audience as it speaks a universal language. Unlike a drama that could have a class or mass appeal, a thriller that could work in a multiplex or a single screen or an offbeat film, which has a niche audience, action is all about some good old-fashioned adrenalin rush.

No wonder, action is where stars are. Akshay Kumar has Bell Bottom and Prithviraj, both action films, lined up. Salman Khan has a major role to play in Aayush Sharma-led Antim as well. John Abraham is wrapping up his action entertainer Attack. Kangana Ranaut along with Arjun Rampal as the antagonist would be seen in Dhaakad. Sidharth Malhotra is ready with Shershaah and already shooting for Mission Majnu. Adivi Sesh has major plans for his Major. Taapsee Panny has Loop Lapeta coming up.

Expectations are high. These films are expected to bring the audience back to the cinema halls, doesn’t matter if they are single screen or multiplexes, or are in metros, cities or towns. Like a good action actor, who comes to the rescue of the weak and the needy, will action films reprise the role of the saviour yet act again in 2021? We will be watching.

Top 5 grossers of the last five years:


Dangal* (sports-action drama)

Sultan* (sports action)

The Jungle Book

M.S. Dhoni -The Untold Story* (sports action)



Baahubali 2 (Hindi)*

Tiger Zinda Hai*

Golmaal Again

Judwaa 2






Avengers: Infinity War*

2.0 (Hindi)*


Avengers: End Game*


Kabir Singh

Uri - The Surgical Strike*



Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior*

Baaghi 3*

Street Dancer 3D

Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan


(*Action films)
Joginder Tuteja is a trade expert and film critic, and loves to talk and write about anything that is related to films. Views are personal.
first published: Feb 7, 2021 12:43 pm

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