Inside the Box: Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan Hits Historic Records

Inside the Box: Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan Hits Historic Records

The Siddharth Anand directorial is the fastest film to reach the 200-crore club

That Shah Rukh Khan’s first film in four years would have the nation in a frenzy was a given. What nobody expected, given the spate of failures at the box office last year, was that it would be a historic success. Pathaan, directed by Siddharth Anand, opened to 57 crores on January 25, clocking in the highest single-day earnings for a Hindi film in India. Over the extended weekend, including the public holiday for Republic Day, the spy-action thriller is said to have crossed the 280-crore mark. According to media reports, This makes Pathaan the fastest film to reach the 200-crore club, beating K.G.F 2 (2022) and Baahubali 2’s (2017) Hindi versions. 

Given the rate at which Pathaan is filling up theatres, the film might soon catch up with Aamir Khan’s Dangal – which stands at a lifetime earning of 387 crores – and become the highest-grossing Hindi film of all time. 

“Barring the comeback of Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, who has been a superstar in this country for almost three decades now, the fact that this was an absolute entertainer with great production value, great songs, a solid story and outstanding action pieces made it a true-blue big-screen experience,” said trade analyst Akshaye Rathi. 

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While Pathaan’s wins are unprecedented, they seem especially so after the dismal year Bollywood had at the box office in 2022. But, perhaps the year was just our learning curve, Rathi pointed out. “A lot of movies that were released in 2022 were conceptualised before the pandemic and hence they were shooting at a goalpost that had already moved,” he said. “In 2023, we’re coming out with the learning that we had in 2022. Pathaan’s success has shown that as long as we’re entertaining the widest possible audience, we’re bound to succeed.” 

Despite the fact that 2022 offered some good releases, including Gangubai Kathiawadi, Drishyam 2 and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, they possibly still paled against the massive reluctance the audience felt towards going to the theatres. “With Pathaan what we’re witnessing for a Hindi film after a very long time is people celebrating at theatres. Like they used to back in the day for Salman Khan’s Wanted (2009) or Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express (2013). This phenomenon, in the last few years, was limited to the Southern fraternities,” said Rathi. If the scores of Twitter threads are any indication, Pathaan seems to have given the people the true theatrical experience – being able to whistle, cry and dance with absolute strangers. 

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