In a world largely defined by the power to destroy lives and spirit – what does it take to reinforce people’s belief in the power of love? It takes Shah Rukh Khan.
The last few hours have been a testament to this. Pathaan, released today, has caused a nationwide meltdown, and rightfully so.
It is Shah Rukh’s first movie in 4 years, marking a return for the star who never really left.
Indians carry Shah Rukh in their hearts like undying hope, like an internalised reassurance, and these things do not need a comeback. Shah Rukh was always around.
But, it does makes things better to see him on the huge screens of cinema halls; fitting for his larger-than-life personality.
As I write this, I am still waiting to get my tickets, I am yet to watch the movie. And while I am excited for how it turns out, I am mostly looking forward to the moment I am inside the hall, cheering with hundreds of others.
Pathaan is a movie bigger than itself, it is a symbol of people’s unified passion for one man. For a country being pulled apart, there is no greater joy.
In all probability, there will be a sustained conversation about this for weeks, but what I also hope is that we remember.
I hope we remember how everyone came together in celebration of a person and his art, that it is still possible, that we still have it in us.
So that when there are calls for violence and everything seems bleak again, we can go back to this, and tell ourselves that ultimately, it all boils down to choices. It is for people to decide if they want to gather to burn down someone’s house or to sing songs with and for their favorite hero.
Those who choose the former, of which there will likely, and unfortunately be many, life will go on the way it has for years. But even if one person has a change of heart, that’s worth holding on to for hope that evades us.