Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film Pathaan has been all over the news in India for the past few weeks.
This is not surprising, given that Khan is one of India’s largest and most-loved celebrities. He’s charming, humorous, and has millions of followers all over the world; in fact, he’s been called Bollywood’s “most important cultural export.” King Khan, or the King of Bollywood, as his adoring admirers call him, is one of the most recognisable names in the Bollywood film industry.
Pathaan is his return to the film industry after a four-year break.
After suffering a string of personal and professional setbacks, including the false arrest of his son Aryan Khan for drug possession last year (the charges were eventually dropped) and the failure of several of his films, the 57-year-old is making a comeback to the big screen.
Due to the discrepancy, the film, which also features Deepika Padukone (one of India’s most popular actors) and John Abraham, has come under closer examination than expected.
Since December, when the creators first started promoting Pathaan with music videos, the movie has been the topic of nonstop online discussion.
The hype has reached a crescendo since the trailer was released last week.
More than 49 million people have seen it on YouTube. Three and a half million people have watched Khan’s tweet of the Hindi trailer, while another half a million have watched the Telugu and Tamil versions.
“Exceptional response” to pre-sale ticket purchases has been reported from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and Australia.
Fans have compared the story to a mashup of James Bond and Mission: Impossible flicks, although it doesn’t really work that way.
Terrorists plan “an onslaught they could not have envisaged” to wipe out India. Government forces are rushing to stop them, but time is running short. The fate of the country hangs in the balance. They dispatched their top man to do the job.
There is an unmistakable voice saying, “If you dare to celebrate at Pathaan’s house, then I will have to come to greet you – with fireworks.” Khan has finally made an appearance.
Khan is a smooth-talking spy with tousled hair and chiselled biceps and abs who effortlessly kills opponents, jumps on moving vehicles, rappels down skyscrapers, and seduces ladies while attempting to save his country from evil forces led by Abraham. The pictures are accompanied by a rhythmic musical accompaniment.
Fans and journalists alike have been raving over the trailer, which clocks in at little under three minutes. A supporter praised the film as “paisa vasool” (meaning “worth for money”) and said he planned to see it in theatres as soon as it was released.
However, Pathaan has been plagued by controversy from the very beginning.
Khan has had his share of problems with the media and his detractors. However, the attacks from Hindu right-wing groups have gotten more personal and coordinated since since he spoke out about rising religious intolerance in India a few years ago.
According to author and film critic Saibal Chatterjee, “it has gained a clearly communal tinge, as they seek to anchor the actor’s image around his religious identity.”