‘Twist pe twist, twist pe twist and more twist or twist’
Much before Abbas Mustan became the masters of twists with several of their films, most notably Race and Race 2, it was director Umesh Mehra who brought a tale of uncountable twists and turns in Sabse Bada Khiladi. Yes, Abbas Mustan had already proven their mettle with suspense flick Khiladi. However, Sabse Bada Khiladi was at a different level altogether with Akshay Kumar in a double role, which itself came with quite a few intricacies and dynamics that kept audiences engaged right through the narrative.
A major credit for that should go to writer Ved Prakash Sharma, a popular pulp fiction writer from the era of the 80s and the 90s. Author of dozens of novels belonging to this genre that sold like hot cakes, especially at the smaller towns and the railway stations, the veteran filmmaker spun a tale of family, revenge, deceit, romance, thrills and actions, all in a single setting that resulted in Sabse Bada Khiladi.
The film, which was made at a budget of mere 5 crores back in 1995, turned out to be a massive success as it ended up netting close to 10 crores in its lifetime. It opened quite well, courtesy a masaaledaar promo and the chartbuster song ‘Bholi Bhali Ladki’ picturised on Akshay Kumar and Mamta Kulkarni. Once the film released, audiences realised that this one was a complete package affair where other than Akshay Kumar and Mamta Kulkarni, even the villains (Mohnish Behl, Gulshan Grover, Sadashiv Amrapurkar) had a very well etched out part.
Sabse Bada Khiladi was a solid entertainer from start to finish and ended up solidifying the Khiladi franchise. Akshay Kumar and Umesh Mehra went on to collaborate on many other Khiladi movies together, though the twists that came in the pre-climax and climax of the film, where the real identities and motives of some of the key characters were unveiled, remains unparalleled.