The Resurrection of Shah Rukh Khan: Will Pathaan, Jawan and Dunki revive SRK’s career? (Opinion)
By Shweta Parande
Shah Rukh Khan is one of the greatest superstars of all time in the world of cinema, in terms of acting abilities, fan following, business acumen and box office numbers. Yet, his last blockbuster was delivered 10 years ago — yes, a decade ago — in Rohit Shetty’s directorial Chennai Express (2013). With three big releases spaced out through 2023 — Pathaan, Jawan and Dunki — SRK must be hoping to first revive his career and then maybe break his own box office record with at least one of the films. Chances are, he will do it with all three.
In spite of the Boycott Pathaan and Bollywood Bollywood hashtag on social media, and the dismal performance of most Hindi films in 2022, the trade is gung-ho about the three films of Shah Rukh Khan. Also, SRK’s cameo in Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt’s Brahmastra (2022) was much appreciated and fans can’t wait to have more of King Khan.
Let’s take a look at the buzz around Pathaan, Jawan and Dunki.
Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan releases on January 25, 2023, on a Wednesday and ahead of the Republic Day holiday in India. The Yash Raj Films (YRF) production also stars John Abraham and Deepika Padukone. The leading lady of Pathaan is also the leading lady of two of SRK’s superhit films — Chennai Express and Om Shanti Om (with which Deepika made her film debut in 2007). Will lady luck shine on SRK the third time around? It does seem so!
Written and directed by Siddharth Anand and produced by Aditya Chopra and Alexander Dostal under the YRF banner, Pathaan is a film in the newly announced YRF Spy Universe. Not only does it promise to be an action-packed thriller filled with other masala elements of romance and drama but also it is the first time that SRK is playing an out-and-out action hero. He may have tried some action roles in his earlier films, and was good in them, but the audiences love him more as a romantic hero.
SRK has given the audience both romance and action in some films, like Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), Main Hoon Naa (2004) or even negative takes in Don (2006) and Don 2 (2011). But he has not done anything like Pathaan. Therefore, moviebuffs and die-hard fans alike are keen to see him in this new avatar, alongside the much loved hunk John Abraham and the beauty Deepika Padukone who is also taking an action turn like in her Hollywood film xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017).
As they say, any publicity is good publicity, and so the negative buzz around Pathaan and the song Besharam Rang is slowly turning into a positive curiosity about the action film. The Pathaan trailer that released on January 10 was also highly anticipated.
The buzz for Jawan is high because of a lot of factors. Let’s take a look. Releasing on June 2, 2023, the film is produced by SRK’s Red Chillies Entertainment. Directed by hit south Indian director Atlee, Jawan stars SRK in a double role. What’s more, Jawan marks the Bollywood debut of Lady Superstar Nayanthara. Apart from Atlee and Nayanthara, south moviegoers will also be interested in the movie due to the presence of acclaimed actors Vijay Sethupathi, Priyamani and Yogi Babu. The movie also stars Bollywood’s talented Sanya Malhotra and Sunil Grover. To top it all, actress Deepika Padukone is said to be doing a cameo in Jawan! She is surely SRK’s lady luck and good luck charm. Jawan is likely to be a powerhouse performer at the BO and will be a pan-India hit.
There is no major controversy around Jawan (yet) except the plagiarism claim by the makers of the 2006 Tamil film Perarasu.
SRK had admitted to rejecting Rajkumar Hirani’s film 3 idiots (2009) due to some issues. The actor later regretted it after 3 idiots went on to become a record-breaking box office hit and cult film with Aamir Khan in the lead. Ever since, it seems SRK has been wanting to work with Raju Hirani. And he has got the chance with Dunki – releasing on December 22, 2023.
The blockbuster director-writer pair of Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi is back after Sanju (2018). Expectations will be high from Dunki to be as heartwarming as well as comic as any of the duo’s previous films. With SRK’s charm, it cannot go wrong!
Dunki (meaning donkey) is a title derived from the term ‘Donkey Flight’, a non-official method used for emigrating abroad. The film’s subject is also likely to take fans back to SRK’s film Swades (2004), about non-resident Indians and their experiences aboard, and eventually coming back home. Dunki could also be a version of the film Hirani and Joshi have been working on for years – the sequel to their Munna Bhai series titled Munna Bhai Chale America.
With Pathaan, Jawan and Dunki, fans are set for a Shah Rukh Khan year that may not only help rejuvenate the superstar on screen but also bring Bollywood out of the dungeons and on to box office success. The man may not be broken with his recent failures but he surely must be counting his blessings for a 2023 that looks good. But then, he has worked for it and let’s hope he gets the results. It will benefit the entire industry.
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