It promises to be a special September, as we enjoy movies that star some of the most celebrated actors born this month—think Keanu Reaves, Adam Sandler, Akshay Kumar, Ayushmann Khurrana, Tom Hardy, Kareena Kapoor, Will Smith, and Ranbir Kapoor. Be it dodging bullets for fun as the ‘Chosen One’, being a sperm donor in the name of social service, or a spirit looking to help a cop solve a murder mystery, each of these superstars have brought their A-game in front of the camera to give us films that we’ll never get bored of watching.
Keanu Reaves (September 2)
This two-hour thriller was an absolute roller coaster ride that saw Reeves play Jack, an LA bomb squad specialist who must not only catch a terrorist but also stop a high-speed bus (and train) from exploding. The plot was plain and simple—the bus has a bomb on it and goes off if the bus goes below 50mph. The film had Reeves jump right into the action (he literally gets into the bus by jumping into it) and was a refreshing change from any of the roles he’d done before. Watching him be calm and in charge of the situation despite all the chaos sure did tell audiences that here was a man who knew what he was doing. It probably even told the industry that he’s an actor who’s going to make a name for himself in the action genre. Little did we know what the man had in store as he gave cinephiles two legendary action movie franchises (The Matrix and John Wick).
The Matrix (1999)
It’s the movie that not only defines the actor’s career but a film that was one of most iconic and influential of its time. Has any picture made us think as much about the way we live life in the real and digital world? We think not. And it was Reaves playing an ordinary computer programmer named Thomas Anderson who comes to everyone’s rescue as Neo in the alternate reality called the Matrix. With everyone putting their hopes and expectations on him, Reaves made us believe in the impossible as he pulled off lighting fast action moves and shielded bullets just with his hands in some fascinating action sequences. It truly was a remarkable character arc as we saw Anderson became the saviour of humanity as Neo.
Adam Sandler (September 9)
The Wedding Singer (1998)
A reason why one loves this movie is because it was a welcome shift from Sandler’s earlier performances in Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, and The Waterboy where he played the sometimes goofy and sometimes angry man-child. Here, he was in the midst of a film that was real at its core as it dealt with heartbreak, depression, and love. A smash hit at the box office, the movie featured Sandler as a wedding singer. Stuck in one of the most romantic jobs in the world, he loses all hope of falling in love when he’s left at the altar by his fiancé. It’s here that he meets Julia (Drew Barrymore), who seeks his help to plan her wedding. The twist in the tale arrives when he starts to fall for her and tries to win her heart before she gets hitched.
Uncut Gems (2019)
The performance by Sandler won him a lot of critical acclaim and awards as he played a gambling-addicted jewellery salesman who must stop his life from slipping into hell as he stops at nothing to pursue the ultimate win. It was an outstanding performance, one of Sandler’s very best as he essayed a character driven to levels of insanity. He gave it his all as far as gripping the audience’s attention was concerned as it had the perfect mix of drama, intensity, tension and action.
Akshay Kumar (September 9)
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004)
While everyone lauded the chemistry between Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra Jonas in this out and out Bollywood entertainer, it was Akshay Kumar who showed just how good his comic timing is with a performance that always sees us laugh out loud. Watching him as Sunny and being the constant menace in Sameer’s (Salman Khan) life as his neighbour, who also has one eye on Rani (Priyanka Chopra), made you root for him despite knowing who she will end up with. He was cunning, not at all mean, and that’s what made Sunny so very adorable and goofy. We won’t spoil things for you, but you’d realise why he did what he did at the end of the movie. It’s sure to make you smile.
Pad Man (2018)
Over the years, Kumar has played a host of roles that look to change perceptions and shatter stereotypes in society. One of the most impactful performances has been him in this R. Balki movie that's based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist and entrepreneur from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, who made low-cost sanitary pads for women in rural areas. Kumar, a man who's sick and tired of seeing his wife use dirty clothes as pads, goes down a path of discovery where he changes the life of not just his wife, but of every woman in the country. No prizes for guessing that the film, very much like its message, was an absolute success.
Ayushmann Khurrana (September 14)
Vicky Donor (2012)
Debut films don’t get any better than this. Having watching Khurrana win a reality show along with hosting a few shows as a VJ, the actor commanded the screen right from his very first scene as he played something never seen in Indian cinema before, a sperm donor. Not only was the film light-hearted, but it made sure that the topic of sperm donation didn’t cross into the comical. The reason why the film struck the right note with audiences is because we appreciated how confident Khurrana was in dealing with such a topic right in his first film. It was a sign of the good things to come from the actor, who, over the years, has delivered a host of power-packed performances in films that deal with issues prevalent in society.
Indian cinema is yet to see a black comedy as good and gripping as this Sriram Raghavan masterclass. It’s hard to find films with such good writing, editing, and performances by the cast who pull of their characters with effortless ease. A movie that kept us right at the edge of our seat and gave rise to a host of conspiracy theories as we all wondered if his character is blind or was he playing along all the time.
Tom Hardy (September 15)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A hero is only as good as the villain in the movie and Hardy put up a performance to remember as the masked and merciless Bane, who goes up against Batman. Having put on 30 pounds for the role, it was Hardy’s gruesome and menacing body language, along with his voice standing out (due to his face being covered in a mask) that made one wonder if he’s Batman’s biggest challenge till date.
If you wanted to know the acting range of Tom Hardy, this is a movie that you just cannot miss. After all, the entire film is shot from different angles with him sitting in a car. Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a British construction manager who drives south to London due to a marital crisis. The film tells the story of a man whose personal life and career both come to a crisis. Much of the story is told in the phone calls Hardy makes to his family and co-workers during a long drive he is taking in order to be with a woman who is giving birth to his child after a one night stand. What makes his performance stand out is watching him display a wide range of emotions, all from one place, with just his voice and face.
Kareena Kapoor Khan (September 21)
Jab We Met (2007)
She was cute, bubbly, talkative, madly in love, fiery, and a whole lot more as Geet, a character who we fell in love with the moment we saw her get on the train in her very first scene in the movie. What makes this performance one of her very best is the complete transformation that her character undergoes in the second half. From being a happy, reckless, and carefree girl, to now in a state of heartbreak, Kareena showed her range as an actor to make this film a cult classic. Thanks to her, the world got a lesson in self-love, "Mein apni favourite hu.”
Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012)
Her performance as Rosie, a high-end escort in this gripping crime thriller is perhaps one of her most underrated performances to date. If you haven’t yet watched this film, which saw audiences praise its screenplay, performances, and soundtrack, it’s time you do so. Set in the city of Mumbai, watching Rosie help Surjan 'Suri' Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) solve a murder mystery was fascinating right till the very end when you witness a climax that you never could have expected. You tend to question as to why do we not know so much about her character when she’s such an important part of the story only to join the dots at the end to realise that she is the story on which the film is based on.
Will Smith (September 25)
It was a performance of a lifetime. One that made the world realise just how good an actor Will Smith is. Directed by Michael Mann, this biographical film on the boxing legend saw Smith look absolutely unrecognisable as he put on a ton of weight and nailed Ali’s voice and body language to perfection. The movie follows Ali’s career over 10 years, from the time he wins the world heavyweight championship over Sonny Liston to winning the belt gap after a long gap against George Foreman in a legendary bout in Zaire called the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Just like Ali, Smith rose to the challenge to deliver the ultimate knockout punch.
King Richard (2021)
There’s something about Smith and playing real-life individuals on the big screen. After Ali, watching the actor play Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams is an absolute treat. With a ‘never fail attitude’ to see his girls become icons, here was a character who was extremely relatable because he was far from perfect. He was as loving as he was stubborn and struck the perfect balance to a wide range of emotions. It truly was a ‘Grand Slam’ performance that earned him a host of nominations in the Best Actor category at many prestigious award functions.
Ranbir Kapoor (September 28)
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)
While the movie may have failed to hit the heights at the box office, it is considered by many to be one of Kapoor’s most sincere performances till date. He played the 21-year old Harpreet Singh Bedi, a boy with poor grades who decides to enter the corporate world and joins a company that assembles and services computers. He soon has a moral awakening when he realises that it takes much more than honesty and hard work to climb up the corporate ladder. It may be a simple watch, but one that leaves you with ample food for thought as you witness the greed inside the corporate world but watch Singh persevere and overcome all obstacles with sincerity and honesty.
A soundtrack by A.R Rahman that was one for the ages, a great story and a lead performance that is one of Kapoor’s best till date, Rockstar was a film that had it all. Carrying not just a guitar, but the film on his shoulders, we loved seeing him as the innocent Janardhan as well as the brash and arrogant Jordon who let the fame get to his head and eventual downfall. There are countless scenes in the movie where you forget that you’re watching Kapoor and believe that here is a boy from Delhi who is convinced that he has his heart broken. Or those where he thinks that he is god’s gift to the music world and be so arrogant that he is completely unaware of the dangers to befall him. True to the name of the film, Ranbir was an absolute rockstar.