Bollywood’s King Khan’s blockbuster film is facing India’s culture war, the 57-year-old actor has been harassed by hard-line Hindu nationalists, Shah Rukh Khan’s film has become the subject of anger from extremists and Hindus, the film The posters were torn down.
Critics say that the case of King Khan’s son was also politically motivated; he was deliberately targeted.
According to a British magazine report, the film’s story follows Organization X, a group of mercenary terrorists, preparing to attack India. There is a middle-aged agent assigned to stop them.
Between attending beach parties and skydiving into enemy hideouts, he teams up with a fearsome, handsome young agent.
Film critic Asim Chhabra is not satisfied with the trailer for Pathan, a big budget Bollywood film releasing next week. But they will watch it because it represents the grand return of India’s biggest actor, the 57-year-old Badshah, or the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, after a gap of five years.
Chhabra says he has charm and charisma. It will be fun to watch them dance and perform action scenes. I will go see the movie just for that. After some difficult years for Pathan Khan and Bollywood, there will be a test.
It not only follows a run of box office flops for one of the biggest film industries in the world. It is also a comeback for Khan, who has faced harassment from hardline Hindu groups, including members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Chhabra says that Khan, eschewing macho stereotypes for sensitive, worldly roles in films, achieved unprecedented popularity in the 1990s as a boyhood heartthrob who encapsulated India’s hopes for a globalization. were done But many of the actor’s releases in recent years have done poorly.
It seems that the audience is tired of the similar action and romance formats of leading Bollywood production houses. India’s box office was dominated last year by films from the long-neglected South Indian-language film industry, such as the Golden Globe-winning Telugu-language hit RRR.
The earlier luxury of ‘let’s make what we want, let’s price it how we want and people will come’ is long gone, says Vikram Malhotra, a Bollywood producer. Will Khan, who has two more big releases planned this year, revive the industry’s fortunes, says an industry executive? “Pathan” has all the ingredients in the written form that should be a huge success.
Expectations are unusually high as it comes after a dry spell. But the film itself has become the subject of a now-familiar pattern of outrage as the BJP wages a culture war to remake Bollywood. Allies of the BJP have protested against the film, and a group from Bajrang Dal, a Hindu nationalist group linked to the BJP, tore down posters at a mall in Ahmedabad this month.
The controversy stems in part from a dance scene in which actress Deepika Padukone wears an orange bikini that is considered dangerously close to saffron, a sacred color in Hinduism. To some, the industry is a bastion of a secular, liberal vision of India, including Khan. But to its Hindu nationalist critics, it is a cozy club of, nepotistic elites who make films that offend religious sensibilities and need reform. In 2014, a year after Modi came to power, Shahrukh Khan said that ‘not being secular is the worst crime you can commit as a patriot’.
On this, Yogi Adityanath, the BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, compared the actor to a terrorist. Any actor who spoke about Shah Rukh Khan’s work faced boycott threats from extremist groups.
In 2021, Shah Rukh Khan’s 23-year-old son Aryan was arrested by India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and jailed for about a month, even though authorities found no drugs in his possession. The charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence. Shah Rukh Khan has remained completely silent but critics have claimed that the case was politically motivated and that the NCB report found that he was ‘deliberately targeted’. A film writer Suparna Sharma says that Bollywood is currently suffering from this identity crisis.
It feels beleaguered by the government and the poor returns at the box office. But she argues that when it comes to Khan, the public’s loyalties are clear. She says that the love that Shahrukh enjoys is earned by him. Pathan cannot take the industry out of his creative art. But for fans around the world, King Khan’s reign is not over.