Positivity Over Toxicity! Pathaan's Triumph Is More Than Just a Box-Office Success

After four years, it is now safe to say that SRK is back!
Positivity Over Toxicity! Pathaan's Triumph Is More Than Just a Box-Office Success
Positivity Over Toxicity! Pathaan's Triumph Is More Than Just a Box-Office Success

Amid boycott calls, controversies and the unabated cancel culture, Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Pathaan’ has emerged as an undeterred winner, wowing fans and critics alike. The success of ‘Pathaan’ is not only limited to the box office numbers, but if seen with wider lens, has a much more larger picture to it.

SRK’s Pathaan has been declared as the first ‘Blockbuster’ of Bollywood in 2023 and its roaring success has minted over Rs 100 crores worldwide in just two days. The spy thriller directed by Sidharth Anand and also starring Deepika Padukone and John Abraham created not one but multiple records by the second day itself.

The overall reaction of the movie is positive. The film’s spectacular action sequences, storyline and performances have managed to pull the crowd for houseful shows even as early as 6 am in the morning. The shows are filling up so fast that people are left searching for tickets.

Bollywood’s long time lull seems to have ended with King Khan himself stepping in to deal with the crisis. After four years, it is now safe to say that SRK is back!

Before even being released, ‘Pathaan’ was marred by controversies from particular religious and political outfits. The ‘boycott’ trend started getting windy after a song of the movie was released ‘Besharam Rang’, where Deepika is seen in a saffron-colored bikini, which supposedly irked the right-wing outfits claiming that the makers have insulted the saffron color.

The issue created quite a buzz on social media and had netizens divided over their opinions. The lyrics and the appearance of the saffron bikini did not go down well with many staunch right-wing activists saying that it was an insult to Sanatan Dharma. On the hand, some feel that the campaign was just a prorpaganda to defame Shah Rukh Khan as he belongs to a particular community.

Either way, it was good PR for the movie!

The boycott culture had gone out of hand so much so that several movie halls across the country that were scheduled to screen ‘Pathaan’ were vandalized by Hindu organizations and its owners threatened. In Guwahati, a group of Bajrang Dal members barged into a movie hall in Noonmati, tore down posters, broke furniture and threatened against screening of the movie.

After the film was released on January 26, cinema halls across the country were almost houseful with tickets selling at high as Rs 2500 for one. The confirmation of halls going houseful assumes significance in light of the widespread calls for the boycott by Hindutva hardliners including powerful BJP ministers. Several right-wing TV channels (or godi media) had claimed that there were no takers for ‘Pathaan’ and the reports of phenomenal advance bookings were nothing but mere PR stunts.

Amid such negativity and bleakness, SRK’s message on positivity at the inauguration of Kolkata International Film Festival 2022 in December last year has perhaps impacted the people, at least in some way.

Without mentioning anything related to the controversies surrounding the film, SRK said in his speech, “Cinema and infact the advent of articulation through social media platforms have now become foremost expression of human experience and emotion. The collective narrative of times is shaped by social media and contrary to the belief that spread of social media will affect cinema negatively.”

“I believe cinema has more important role to play now. Social media is often driven by a certain narrowness of view that limits human nature…I read somewhere negativity increases social media consumption and thereby increases its commercial value as well…Such pursuits enclose collective narrative making it divisive and destructive,” he added.

Concluding his speech in ‘Pathaan’ style, SRK urged the people to believe in positivity.

“We haven’t been able to meet for a while, but the world is becoming normal now. We are all happy and I am the happiest. And I have no qualms in saying, that no matter what the world does, me and you, and all positive people in the world are still ALIVE,” he continued.

Upon the film’s release, it was evident how the film was a celebration for the fans. Visuals show people coming out of the theatres singing along, dancing, chanting, shouting and everything else that people do, when they are absolutely ecstatic. Many halls also turned into festivals where fans were seen celebrating the pure joy that films intend to be.

Meanwhile, the boycott gang seems to have gone dark after the release of the film. Also, several ‘controversial’ individuals who had previously spoke against Bollywood and their films, are now surprisingly speaking FOR it.

Kangana Ranaut, who is brutally honest and never misses an opportunity to express what’s on her mind, took a moment to heap praise at SRK for breaking box-office records while Hindi films are struggling in the theatres.

“Pathaan is doing very well. I feel films like this should definitely work. Hindi cinema has been lagging behind other film industries, and we are all trying to finally bring back the business in our own little way),” she said.

Another such individual, KRK, made a U-turn on his remark following backlash after he claimed that the film will be a box office disaster. Initially suggested changing the name of the film earlier now said he was wrong.

“Today I do agree that I was wrong, if I was asking Shahrukh Khan to change his film name #Pathaan! And #SRK was 100% correct to keep the name Pathaan. If the name of the film was not Pathaan, then there would not have been so much protest, there would not have been so much promotion and the film would not have been such a big hit,” he tweeted.

Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had asked BJP workers to refrain from making unnecessary comments on movies. In his address at the BJP national executive, he said that "some people give statements on some film" which plays on TV and in media all day and hence asked party workers to not make “unnecessary remarks” on them.

Also, the Bajrang Dal in Gujarat, who had previously threatened against the screening of the film, now say that they no longer oppose the movie as they are satisfied with the Central Board of Film Certification’s revisions.

It is safe to say that Shah Rukh Khan has single handedly destroyed hatred and bigotry that was spewed on the fabric of this country, and also made us realize why optimism is important in one’s life. If a glass is half-empty or half full? How one answer this age-old question may reflect their outlook on life, their attitude toward themselves, and whether they are optimistic or pessimistic.

Regardless, the fact remains the truth. Braving negativity and all out boycott calls for reasons as stupid as one would think, SRK’s Pathaan’ has broken all records and has undoubtedly paved the way for Bollywood to shine once again.

Positivity Over Toxicity! Pathaan's Triumph Is More Than Just a Box-Office Success
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