Mausam bigda to nahin, badal zaroor gaya hai! The life of cinema is finally back on track, and Pathaan deserves all the praise for making it happen. Love it or hate it, the recently released blockbuster film has created history by crossing ₹100 crore club worldwide on its opening day. And it is nothing less than a revolutionary win. Sure, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Brahmastra, and Drishyam 2 also contributed to reviving Hindi cinema in recent times. However, no other film has smashed the box office like Pathaan has. And Bollywood’s dry spell seems to have finally come to an end.
We are decoding the factors that led Pathaan to become Bollywood’s biggest opener at the box office.
1. The return of Shah Rukh Khan after four years
Pathaan is Shah Rukh Khan’s comeback film after a four-year hiatus, and naturally, fans were eagerly awaiting his return on the big screen. While King Khan teased us through various cameos in recent times, his full-fledged role as a lead was enough of a reason to watch Pathaan. And SRK has “forgotten those four years” after its success. ‘Coz why not?
2. SRK and Deepika Padukone’s blockbuster history
History has it that whenever Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone have collaborated for a film, it has turned out to be a hit. Be it Om Shanti Om (2007), Chennai Express (2013), or Happy New Year (2014), every SRK-Deepika movie has minted big numbers at the box office. Great choice to cast them together in Pathaan. Well done, YRF. What a sizzling chemistry.
3. Negative publicity of Besharam Rang
The controversy over Besharam Rang that had our entire nation talking about Deepika Padukone’s bikini colour made no sense to begin with. The birth of an unwanted narrative where orange was projected as ‘saffron’ and how it irked the sentiments of a community is still beyond my imagination. Anyway, this negative publicity worked out in favour of the makers. The entire political hullabaloo managed to attract a section of the audience that might not have watched and praised the film otherwise.
Also Read: When Saffron Wasn’t A Big Deal
4. SRK reinventing himself as an action hero for the first time
Before taking a break, Shah Rukh Khan tried to entertain us with a variety of roles, but audiences didn’t flock to the theatres back then. Be it returning to his hopeless romantic image in Jab Harry Met Sejal or experimenting as a dwarf in Zero, nothing worked. Cut to Pathaan, SRK reinvented himself by playing an action hero for the first time in his three-decade long career, and now look at all those numbers. Desis love action and maar-dhaad, hence proved!
5. Apt addition of Salman Khan’s cameo
Many of you will argue that Salman Khan earlier made a cameo in SRK’s 2018 film, Zero, but it didn’t affect the box office collection of the movie. Then, how come it worked out well for Pathaan? Well, Salman’s 20-minute extended cameo as Tiger in the recently released movie was an apt addition to it, unlike his brief appearance in Issaqbaazi, the song from Zero. Ever since the news of Salman’s cameo in Pathaan came out, fans were eager to watch Karan and Arjun together and exchange dialogues. Spoiler alert: Tiger and Pathaan’s ‘humari jagah lega kaun‘ waala banter in the film was a figure of speech about how the era of stars isn’t dying anytime soon.
6. YRF’s unconventional promotional strategy
Yash Raj Films was going through a rough patch due to its recent flops. Remember how Bunty Aur Babli 2, Samrat Prithviraj, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, and Shamshera tanked at the box office, despite their extensive media promotions and influencers’ collaborations? This time, YRF took an unconventional approach of promoting Pathaan by keeping the star cast and director behind the curtains. It could have backfired but YRF took such risk. Meanwhile, SRK used AMA sessions as marketing tool and picked mostly Pathaan-related questions while engaging with fans on Twitter. The superstar also delivered a powerful speech at the Kolkata International Film Festival last year amid film protests. Later, YRF organised a press conference after four days of its success at the box office unlike other movie promotions.
7. SRK fandom creating film hype all over India
“Shah Rukh Khan is not an actor, he is an emotion.” SRK’s co-star, John Abraham had rightfully defined King Khan’s stardom in the recently held event of the film. And Pathaan being named as blockbuster without mentioning the contribution of Shah Rukh Khan’s fan clubs won’t do a justice. Be it showering their love for SRK with Pathaan-themed tea cups or a 20-foot-long film banner, King Khan fans made sure to create enough hype all over India before the release.
8. King Khan spreading positivity amid boycott culture
Shah Rukh Khan truly won our hearts with his positive approach towards cinema and society amid the boycott culture. SRK has literally ‘cancelled’ the hate by giving a true definition of cultural inclusivity and secularism that India is proud of. “Duniya kuch bhi karle, main aur aap log, jitne bhi positive log hain sab ke sab, zinda hain.” Remember his 2022 KIFF speech? Also, SRK making a religious reference to Manmohan Desai’s film, Amar Akbar Anthony while defining cinema in the recently held success event is why Baadshah is here to rule forever.
Released on January 25, Pathaan has earned ₹634 crore worldwide in the first week of its release. In India, the Siddharth Anand directorial is now reaching ₹400 crore soon. Despite being a non-holiday opener, Pathaan is a blockbuster.
Pathaan is indeed a kranti at the box office. What say?