Pathaan teaser: SRK! King of hearts to now King of action?

Long dethroned, birthday boy Shah Rukh Khan would be desperate for the YRF action thriller to stem the rot.

By Mayur Lookhar

Change is the only constant in life. You better change if you’ve struggled for long. Once hailed as King Khan, Shah Rukh Khan aka SRK will be the first to admit that the last five, actually the last eight years has been tough. His last film Zero [2018] lived up to its name. His last fairly successful box office film is Happy New Year [2014]. Having faced repeated blows since then – Dilwale [2015], Dear Zindagi [2016[, Fan [2016], Jab Harry Met Sejal [2017], Raees [2017], Zero [2018] – Khan has been cautious in choosing his next film.

Note, we haven’t included his guest appearances in Brahmastra [2022], Tubelight [2017], Ae Dil Hai Mushkil [2016].

After possibly hearing, reading out several scripts, Khan is banking on three key films to stem the rot. Yash Raj Films’ Pathaan [2023] is the first of the three SRK films that are lined up for release in 2023.

Pathaan [2023] is set to be released on 25 January. The makers have released a second teaser on Khan’s 57th birthday [2 November].

The first thing that struck is how a man who rose to fame as the King of Hearts, is now dreaming to become King of action. We do see the signature SRK pose [arms wide open], but this time it is not to embrace a girl, but to wield a weapon.

Does this pose seem familiar too? Remember, SRK pulling out his arm to his beloved Simran [Kajol] in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge [1995]?. In 2023, there is no train, and Khan doesn’t appear to be reaching out to any Simran, but perhaps drop a bomb in an enemy vehicle. These two pictures in Pathaan [2023] are symbolic yet signals a marked change in brand SRK. Correct us if we are wrong, but this is the second time that SRK will be playing a Pathan in a film. Do you remember SRK’s Amjad Ali Khan character in Hey Ram [2000] ? Also, let’s not forget Shah Rukh comes from a family of Pathans.

SRK has pinned his hopes on War [2019] director Siddharth Anand to help him deliver a much needed blockbuster. The Pathaan teaser has SRK sporting a chiseled physique. That maybe vital to attract the female fans, but the last two years have shown us how audiences no longer care for stars, physical appeal. The near minute and half teaser has all the attributes of a typical Bollywood, more Siddharth Anand action thriller. However, it appears to be another Bollywood film trying to ape the modern-day Hollywood spy action thrillers.

Fathom this – SRK, the desi abandoned, presumed-to-be-dead agent, Deepika Padukone, the desi Bond girl-like action star. Jeez, isn’t some of her action moves and the pose so typical of modern-day Bond girls? Good ol’ John looks just like John Abraham – straight as an arrow. What’s with those bodyfit attire though John?

The bike action sequence over water will need more viewing to believe. Khan flying off in a jet suit, action scenes in snowy streets, most viewers have perhaps seen such daredevilry before.

Never judge a book by its cover and a film by its teaser. We credit the super star though for willing to undergo a drastic change in the latter half of his career. The line between masses and niche are increasingly getting blurred with dwindling single screens, and largely empty multiplexes. We still hope that SRK’s Pathaan [2023] appeals to all. That will be the true birthday gift for SRK.

Watch the Pathaan teaser below.


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