Analysing Pathaan’s success: Was it Shah Rukh Khan, marketing or Mishra ji?

Analysing Pathaan’s success: Was it Shah Rukh Khan, marketing or Mishra ji?

The man, the myth and the legend has been off screen for four years and has only given a dash of appearances. The last blockbuster Shah Rukh Khan delivered was Chennai Express in 2013.

Kaiwant ShahUpdated: Friday, February 24, 2023, 01:21 PM IST
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Shah Rukh Khan | Still from 'Pathaan'

The first Bollywood big release of 2023, 'Pathaan', has crossed Rs 1000-crore-mark, albeit globally. But what has gone into making it a blockbuster? First things first – let us not be under the impression that ‘Pathaan’ is a great film, the script of the film is rather mediocre.

Like every pseudo-intellectual, let's try to analyse what could be the possible reasons that this movie raked in over a thousand crores at the box office, bringing the confetti-throwing public back to the cinema halls.

Shah Rukh Khan & his dry spell at the box office

“In this country, a superstar can only be that person who will be a mother’s son, sister’s brother and every college girl’s fantasy," Aditya Chopra had advised Shah Rukh Khan in his early days, and he has done it all, with enormous success.

The man, the myth and the legend has been off screen for four years and has only given a dash of appearances. The last blockbuster he delivered was Chennai Express in 2013. Of the last five films he starred in, only Raees crossed Rs 100-crore-mark while his contemporaries continued delivering hit after hits.

He tried to do commercial films (‘Happy New Year’ and ‘Dilwale’), he tried to experiment with ‘Fan’ and ‘Zero’, he even went back to romance with ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’, but none of them were able to leave a mark at the box office.

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Moreover, when you are dubbed as the Badshah (King) of Bollywood, you are under constant scrutiny — from giving hit films to talking on national and personal issues. He has maintained silence on all fronts.

Despite everything, there is something about SRK that mesmerises everyone, which makes people's eyes twinkle when they speak about him. The wit, charm and self-awareness that is seen in his interviews resonates with the public. You always find it easy to relate when someone seems like they are one of you. SRK is one of us.

Harking back to 'Pathaan', SRK did it again and delivered his performance with his trademark charm with the ruggedness of a soldier on mission. This was his first action-thriller after his sci-fi thriller Ra.One. From creating a 1700-page character study to getting the chiselled body at 57, it all shows his grit.

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan |

Marketing:

Movie promotions these days resemble an Indian Thali — visiting five cities, attending four college events, dancing at three malls, giving two critics interviews and one appearance on The Kapil Sharma Show. And apart from all this, the celebs have to dance with the so-called influencers on Instagram that no one has an appetite for nor does it 'spark joy' monetarily.

But Team 'Pathaan' did none of the above. Shah Rukh promoted his film entirely on Twitter —the same platform where it was being boycotted. The #AskSRK sessions were enough for the audience to embrace the movie and make it a resounding success. “Okay but SRK promoting his movie entirely through 15 mins AMAs for a month needs to be studied in marketing classes," a Twitter user correctly wrote.

The team's epiphany to keep the audience waiting and not shove SRK in everyone's faces worked in their favour.

Madhya Pradesh's Home Minister Narottam Mishra also contributed to the promotions by initiating the boycott call, which was taken further by many others. Posters were torched before release, 'activists' vandalised cinema halls during screenings — all of this over just one scene of Deepika Padukone dancing in an orange bikini, which even left the so-called activists with their tongues wagging in the theatres. All of this only propelled more audience to the cinema halls than the mildly rave reviews the film received.

No preview shows, fraternity shows, press shows or influencer shows  — all the free-funders were asked to get in queue and watch ‘Pathaan’ like a common man.

'Pathaan' makers also had an efficient foreign market strategy wherein they minted money by releasing the film in countries in the Middle East, the United States, United Kingdom. It is common practice that films are released in China where they make huge money but the Indian producers get only a fraction of it. But they avoided the route.

Subsequently, a smooth transition of ticket rates from Rs 1500 (first weekend) to Rs 110 (third week).

Since SRK is back with a bang and has two other movies lined up — Atlee’s 'Jawaan' and Raju Hirani’s 'Dunki'—we can hope that SRK’s vanvaas(exile) from the cinemas has officially ended.

Courtesy: Scrooldroll.com

(Edited by: Sanjana Deshpande)

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