Why Vivek Agnihotri is wrong when he stated Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan is the victory of nepotistic top-heavy system

Why Vivek Agnihotri is wrong when he stated Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan is the victory of nepotistic top-heavy system

Why Vivek Agnihotri is wrong when he stated Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan is the victory of nepotistic top-heavy system

The Kashmir Files director Vivek Agnihotri had initially criticized Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan and Besharam Rang. In a recent podcast he however credited Shah Rukh Khan for the success of the Siddharth Anand directorial.  He stated in the podcast, “They will go back to their fundamental beliefs that audience is an idiot and you just need star power and lot of marketing hype to make a film successful. After Pathaan, I have a feeling that everybody will fall back to the same old system because Pathaan’s success is the success or in today’s environment I would choose the word victory. It’s the victory of the age-old, exploitative, nepotistic top-heavy system.”

Pathaan is not only about the return of King Khan to the big screen, it is also about Bollywood giving the true entertainment that we waited for so long. It’s a mediocre spy movie spiced up with patriotism. Vivek Agnihotri calling the audience idiot is a very derogatory statement. Today’s audience have a good understanding of cinema appreciation because of the exposure that has given all. We now watch both world cinema and Indian cinema and have the ability to differentiate between the good and bad.  And why are we talking about nepotism when Shah Rukh Khan himself is an outsider.

The filmmaker further said that Pathaan’s success should also be credited to those who threatened to boycott the film and made stupid statements against it. He said that the film’s promotions had turned into a political campaign, adding that Pathaan worked purely because of SRK’s charisma and his fan following.

Well, Pathaan’s success was for other reasons. The no interview strategy, ‘the stars to go into hiding’ and Shah Rukh Khan’s fan club who actually acted as publicists helped in the success of the Pathaan. Shah Rukh Khan starrer has already saved many crores by following the strategy of not giving celeb interviews to the media. Recently, trade expert Ramesh Bala opened up about this strategy and said that with Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan, the issue is, it has been embroiled in several controversies, adding that during interviews, it is possible that the star cast will say something and the quote will go viral, which will generate negativity. This no interview strategy was in a way a blessing in disguise which was initially done to avoid negativity.

Pathaan naturally got all the publicity despite not doing any major promotion, be it roadshows or media appearances by following the no media interview strategy. This helped them save many crores too.  YRF films was going through a terrible phase with four flops at the box office Bunty Aur Babli 2, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Samrat Prithviraj and Shamshera. All the films in spite of having big stars failed. The year 2022 was a terrible year not only for Yash Raj Films, but the whole of Bollywood.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan literally brought people back to the theatres. It kind of gave that confidence to the filmmakers, producers and actors which they were looking for. And most importantly SRK came back after four years with Pathaan. Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan is about Bollywood’s victory over all the negativity around #BoycottBollywood. According to a report in Business Today the strategy that Pathaan followed, ‘the stars to go into hiding’, entertainment trade expert, Girish Johar mentioned that, not only were they low on visibility, fans got nothing beyond the film’s trailer and music that were promoted on digital and television. “It’s an approach that could have easily backfired but it actually led to more curiosity about the film. In fact, it whetted the appetite of the average fan.”

 SRK’s fan club acting as publicist for Pathaan. Pathaan’s promotional strategy was primarily fan clubs and the love that the Indian audience has for Shah Rukh Khan. The film has been running to packed theatres from the very first day first show. People went crazy to see King Khan back and SRK literally brought the audience back to the theatres. It was Shah Rukh Khan’s fan club who worked day and night to create the buzz around Pathaan. So, it is SRK’s fans who worked as his real publicist.

Pathaan has now become the highest grossing film in the history of Hindi cinema. The movie has grossed Rs 901 crore worldwide. While it has grossed Rs 558 crore in India, it has raked in Rs 343 crore in the overseas market.

(With added inputs from agencies)