Pathaan: Why Shah Rukh Khan’s comeback film is a big deal

Pathaan: Why Shah Rukh Khan's comeback film is a big deal
A poster of Pathaan YRF

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film Pathaan, which releases next week, has been hitting the head lines in India within the past several weeks.

The interest is barely surprising – Khan is among India’s greatest and most-loved superstars. Charming, funny along with millions of fans at home and abroad, the actor is often referred to as Bollywood’s “most important cultural export”, whose popularity travels over and above his films. Their fans endearingly make reference to him as California king Khan or the Ruler of Bollywood.

And Pathaan is usually his first movie after a four-year lücke.

The 57-year-old is making a comeback on the big screen after a series of setbacks in the personal and expert life, including the criminal arrest of his boy Aryan Khan last year on fake charges of drug possession – the particular charges were eventually dropped – as well as a number of films that will didn’t do well.

The gap provides peaked interest in Khan and also led to a greater scrutiny of the movie, which also stars Deepika Padukone, one of India’s most popular stars, and John Abraham.

Starting in December when the filmmakers began launching promotional videos associated with Pathaan’s songs, the film has been the topic of incessant chatter on social media.

And given that its trailer decreased last week, the fan frenzy has peaked.

It has been viewed more than 49 million times on YouTube. Khan’s tweet of the Hindi truck has had 3. 9 million views and an extra half a million each for the Telugu plus Tamil versions.

Reviews say there has been “exceptional response” to superior ticket sales in the US, UAE, Germany plus Australia.

Shah Rukh Khan in Pathaan


The plot, described by fans as an all terain between James Bond plus Mission Impossible films, is rather predictable.

A terrorist group is seeking to damage India with “an attack they could not need imagined”. The professionals scramble to battle them, but time is running out. At stake is the country’s future. So , installed their best man to operate.

“If a person dare to celebration at Pathaan’s home, then I will have to go to greet you – with fireworks, inch an unmistakable voice sneers at all of us, as Khan makes an appearance.

A suave secret agent with tousled curly hair and chiselled biceps and abs, Khan effortlessly takes lower enemies, hops upon moving vehicles, rappels down skyscrapers and seduces women while trying to save his nation from bad forces, led simply by Abraham. A pulsing music track comes with the shots.

The two-and-half-minute truck has excited supporters and critics alike, who’ve been full over the scale of the project. A enthusiast called it a “paisa vasool [value for money] experience”, adding that he would certainly try to catch the particular film as soon as this released.

Yet right from the start, Pathaan has been mired in controversies.

Khan has had a fair share associated with troubles with the press and critics in the past. But ever since his comments about growing religious intolerance within India a few years back, the barrage associated with attacks from Hindu right-wing groups have become more personal and concerted.

“It provides acquired a clearly communal twinge, because they seek to anchor the actor’s picture around his religious identity, ” says author and film critic Saibal Chatterjee.

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in Pathan


Until a couple of years back, he says, Bollywood was seen as a location that existed outside of religious and politics differences and “entertainment was the only factor that mattered”. However he adds, the industry has now become significantly polarised.

“Khan is one of the remaining few actors who signifies that past which usually some sections desire to be obliterated completely. That’s why they cannot stand your pet. ”

Already riled by the film’s title Pathaan – a Muslim title – the particular hardline Hindu groupings raked up a controversy over one of its songs after Padukone was seen in the saffron-coloured bikini within the song Besharam Rang – which translates from Hindi in order to shameless colour.

They accused Khan of insulting Hindus because saffron is a color associated with their religion, even though Padukone adjustments costumes several times throughout the song.

There have been calls in order to ban the movie unless the track is removed, protesters have torn up posters and burned Khan’s effigies, a petition has been submitted in a court accusing the cast associated with hurting the sentiments of the Hindu community and the film has been accused of promoting nudity and obscenity.

There have been sustained calls to boycott Pathaan and abusive hashtags have trended upon social media.

But as the countdown to Pathaan’s release begins, Khan and the filmmakers have skirted around the controversies, instead focusing on the film’s promotion.

During the Fifa World Cup, footballer Wayne Rooney made an appearance along with the actor in a short promotional movie, repeating after Khan in Hindi — “Apni kursi ki peti bandh lo, Mausam bigadne wala hai [Fasten your seatbelts, the weather is about to get turbulent]”.

And previously this week, Khan went to Dubai where a large crowd of entertaining fans watched Pathaan’s trailer, projected within the façade of Burj Khalifa.

Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham in Pathan


From the actor’s reputation to the film’s second . 5bn rupee ($30m; £25m)-budget, a lot is at stake and some have got wondered if the detrimental publicity could influence the film’s success.

It’s a good assessment Chatterjee disagrees with.

“Khan is not just an actor, he or she is a brand, probably the biggest we’ve had in the united states, and most certainly in Bollywood, ” he admits that.

Shrayana Bhattacharya, author of a book known as Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh Khan, says the star’s followers will “never decrease him to religious beliefs or political calculations”. “They will view Pathaan first day time first show because they have missed your pet on screen, ” she adds.

But some are wondering if the spy-thriller style is the right kind for Khan’s go back to the big screen after a four-year gap?

Khan made his name actively playing a romantic hero, an actor who defined love – its language, fickleness as well as the anxieties that come with this – for an entire generation. And women, who make up a large part of his group of followers, may not be interest in seeing him as an action hero.

A couple of days back, the professional said he usually wanted to be a good action hero so in retrospect Pathaan ” is a dream come true for me “.

Chatterjee says they have “some reservations” in regards to the movie, but it can be “a daring idea”.

Over the years, he highlights, the actor offers experimented with scripts, actively playing different types of roles, like the ones in My Name is Khan, Chak de India and Love You Zindagi.

With Pathaan, he says, Khan is definitely clearly “breaking the particular mould”.

“But at this point in his profession, he can afford to achieve that. He is fearless and he is experimenting. They have nothing to lose. inch

And whether the bet pays off or not, something is certain: “You have a tendency miss a Shah Rukh Khan movie, ” he says.

Presentational grey line

Read more India tales from the BBC:

Presentational grey line