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What Caused Pathaan’s Humongous Success in Box Office? Five Factors Explained


Production house Yash Raj Films (YRF) on Tuesday said its latest offering “Pathaan”, headlined by Shah Rukh Khan, has raised Rs 591 crore gross worldwide in six days.

According to YRF, on its sixth day, the film registered Rs 26.50 crore nett in India (Hindi Rs 25.50 crore, Tamil and Telugu dubbed versions Rs 1 crore), taking the domestic gross to Rs 32 crore. The studio said that the overseas gross on day six stood at Rs 16 crore.

Since its January 25 release, “Pathaan” has recorded Rs 224.6 crore in the overseas territories alone, while net collection in India stand at Rs 307.25 crore (Hindi – Rs 296.50 crore, dubbed – Rs 10.75 crore).

About the Film

The Siddharth Anand-directed actioner, also starring Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, collected Rs 106 crore globally on its opening day, followed by Rs 113.6 crore on day two, Rs 90 crore on day three, Rs 116 crore on day four, and Rs 112 crore on day five.

“Pathaan”, a globetrotting espionage thriller, follows the titular spy (Shah Rukh) who comes out of exile to stop terrorist group Outfit X, led by Jim (John), from launching a debilitating attack on India.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan is shattering box office records

The film, which marks Shah Rukh’s first big screen release as a lead in over four years, is the fourth title in producer Aditya Chopra’s ambitious spy universe, following Salman Khan’s “Ek Tha Tiger” (2012) and “Tiger Zinda Hai” (2017), and “War”, featuring Hrithik Roshan (2019).

Return of SRK

One factor that may be ascertained to the success of the film is the anticipation around Shah Rukh Khan’s return. This is his first film after a four-year hiatus. After a series of films that did not do as well as anticipated, and the drugs case related to his son Aryan Khan last year, there was increased scrutiny on the performance of Pathaan – as well as increased curiosity, which may have worked well for the film.

“Indians globally are celebrating the film and SRK’s return to the cinemas. It’s really special for us to witness this outpouring of warmth,” Variety quoted YRF CEO Akshaye Widhani as saying.

Global Release

While there are 5,500 screens at home, it has been shown on 2,500 screens in 100 other countries outside of India. Pathaan’s phenomenal run in the United States, where the Yash Raj Films production has been shown in 694 theatres, has a lot to do with the movie’s popularity abroad, a report by Mint said.

According to Variety, Pathan smashed the record for the largest opening day take for a Hindi-language movie on January 25 at the North American box office. According to the US-based media outlet, Pathaan earned the highest per-theater average of any recently released movie, bringing in an estimated $1.86 million on its first day at 694 locations across North America.

Pathaan, provided it continues to entertain audiences there in the same way, is anticipated to debut in third or fourth place in the US, after “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” and “A Man Called Otto.”

Commercial Recipe for Success

According to an analysis in Firstpost, with SRK’s charisma, John Abraham’s cool, and Deepika Padukone’s fierce seductive persona, the producers were able to persuade the audience that Pathaan would be a big-screen delight right from the trailer. The picture was made into a visual treat by the daring stunts and breathtaking action scenes.

All Publicity is Good Publicity?

A controversy began when the music video for Deepika Padukone and SRK’s Pathaan song Besharam Rang was released, and people began to question the “vulgar” nature of the video. Deepika Padukone was also seen in the video wearing an orange bikini, creating an uproar in some political and religious outfits. They claimed that the bikini offends Hindu sensibilities.

Both Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone received numerous threats from political parties and Hindutva groups in recent days, with the hashtag #BoycottPathaan trending on Twitter since the release of the song Besharam Rang. Some termed the colour as saffron. The saffron colour is considered the identity of Hindutva and is held sacred by several Hindu groups.

Pathaan faced backlash for the orange bikini worn by Deepika Padukone in Besharam Rang. (Image: screengrab from song)

After the uproar, the close-up shots of “buttocks, side-pose, and sensuous dance movements during the lyrics “Bahut Tang Kiya” have been removed from the song Besharam Rang. According to a Bollywood Hungama report, the ten cuts suggested by the CBFC have been incorporated into the final cut for Pathaan’s theatrical release. But it was not clear before the film’s release if the ‘saffron’ itself was removed from the song or not. Turns out, it wasn’t.

However, many movie goers have applauded the success of the film as a ‘victory against’ the recent boycott trends against Bollywood films, a trend witnessed since Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Perhaps, all the publicity given to the film worked well in its favour as film lovers thronged cinemas to watch it.

The Khan camaraderie

Salman Khan’s thrilling appearance was surely one of Pathaan’s most memorable moments, the report by Firstpost said. Pathaan was made more big than ever by watching megastars undertake some daring feats while having some humorous camaraderie.

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