Is Shah Rukh Khan's 'Pathaan' a blockbuster even before its release? 7 reasons why the Bollywood film is blazing a trail

The action entertainer has created waves globally ahead of its release today



by

Enid Grace Parker

Published: Tue 24 Jan 2023, 1:11 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 Jan 2023, 9:00 AM

One of the most anticipated films of 2023, Pathaan, is now showing, and fans of Shah Rukh Khan are eagerly looking forward to the superstar's all-out action avatar in the Siddharth Anand directorial.

As excitement peaks, we take a look at why Pathaan has become a blockbuster even before it hits the big screen! Here are seven reasons why this film could well end up raking in the money at the box office:

1. It’s Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘comeback’ film

Shah Rukh Khan is returning to the big screen in a leading role after a four-year hiatus, an uncommonly long professional break for a high-profile actor in the Hindi film industry.

His contemporary Aamir Khan took a four-year break between Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005), while megastar Amitabh Bachchan had a five-year gap between the releases Khuda Gawah (1992) and Mrityudaata (1997), his 1994 release Insaniyat being a delayed one. For fans who haven’t seen Shah Rukh on screen for a while, the hype that has built up for Pathaan seems even more intense. Not to forget 2023 seems to be King Khan's year - following Pathaan's release, he has Dunki and Jawan slotted for this year as well.

2. Deepika-SRK's return to screen

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone last shared screen space as a lead pair in 2014’s Happy New Year, which was partly shot in the UAE. A well-loved on-screen pairing since 2007’s Om Shanti Om, the two actors are thrilled to be teaming up once more. Deepika in a recent video released by Yash Raj Films called Shah Rukh her “most favourite co-star.” Pathaan director Siddharth Anand earlier said, “They have electric chemistry with each other and they look just so hot together. It’s rare to find a pairing like theirs and their jodi is a huge USP for Pathaan.

3. John Abraham in Dhoom mode

John Abraham is known for his action films and one famous title from among them might reverberate in fans’ minds when they watch Pathaan, in which he plays the antagonist. In a recent video shared by Yash Raj Films, John said, “Jim is dangerous and Jim brings back the old John Abraham from Dhoom! I totally love the action sequences of Pathaan because most of them are mobile. One sequence was of course on motorcycles in the snow, one was on a truck so again we were moving, the third is in the air. So, each one was in movement and they are fantastic.”

4. Record advance bookings

According to a BBC article, there has been "exceptional response" to advanced ticket sales for Pathaan in the US, Germany and Australia. UAE fans have been lapping up tickets as well. “The response ahead of the release from the UAE has been massive. We have seen some very strong bookings so far with several sellout screenings, and some private screening bookings, which is great news,” Reel Cinemas said in a statement to Khaleej Times. And according to an update in Business Today, advance booking in India had gone up to 419,000 tickets as of Monday. Presales of the tickets in India alone have raked in Rs50 crore so far, reports say - the biggest opening for a Bollywood movie this year. The film will release in over 100 countries - the highest for any Indian film, ever.

5. Hollywood-level action sequences

Deepika and Shah Rukh both play spies in Pathaan which is an adrenaline-pumping entertainer, as is evident from its high-octane trailer. Director Siddharth Anand said, “In one of the action sequences, Deepika wields the Gattling gun and you have to see the sequence to believe how legit she is as a bonafide action superstar!” He also praised Shah Rukh, saying, “The way he built his body, the insane training that he has done to pull off the extremely dangerous stunts, the dangerous terrains and climatic conditions in which he has thrown his body and the commitment that he has shown to give India its biggest action spectacle is incredibly commendable.”  And of John, Anand said, “Only when the villain is massive, can the tussle between them be spectacular. And we have an extraordinary battle when Shah Rukh takes on John! We wanted to present John in a super slick avatar.” Pathaan's action sequences (atleast judging from the trailer) seems on par with Hollywood blockbusters like the Mission Impossible and James Bond series.

6. The Dubai connect

Shah Rukh Khan has always shared a special relationship with the city. The actor who is a regular visitor to the UAE and brand ambassador for Dubai tourism as well, recently launched the trailer of Pathaan on the iconic Burj Khalifa. Some scenes from Pathaan were shot in and around Downtown Dubai, making it extra special for local residents who can watch out for some high-octane action sequences set in their neighbourhood.

7. Getting past the controversies

The Pathaan track Besharam Rang featuring Deepika in swimwear drew flak from some quarters when it was first released, with a host of objections being raised on social media of the seemingly provocative nature of the costumes and dance sequences. Also, the use of saffron colour in the lead heroine's costume did not go down well with some hardliners. Various political parties have called for a boycott of the movie, leading to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chastising his party workers from making unnecessary remarks that could overshadow the hard work being done by the party. Many Bollywood celebs have welcomed this as a big boost of confidence for an industry that has been at the receiving end of trolls for long.

Pathaan will release in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on January 25.

enid@khaleejtimes.com

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