Theoretically, Shahrukh Khan’s first movie was Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (and not Deewana). Where he played the main protagonist and won everyone’s heart. Since then, in the last 19 years Shahrukh has never played a Muslim character…until 2007, that is. (Full list below). Barring a very brief special appearance in Hey Ram, an out and out Kamal Hassan movie, where Shahrukh played the role of Amjad Ali Khan.
Chak De! India happened in 2007, thus arrived Kabir Khan in a Shimit Amin movie from the house of Yash Chopra. Real life inspired, this pop-patriotic realistic movie saw for the very first time Shahrukh playing a central Muslim character. He was playing the character of Ranjan Negi.
One would wonder after a series of debacles like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Kabul Express, Neal ‘N’ Nikki, wasn’t it a risky proposition for Yash Raj Films, which is better known for its Technicolor horticulture photography and shrill marketing strategy than the aesthetics?
Tarun Tripathi, IIM-Lucknow alumnus, marketing head of the firm and his team must have done their market research and consumer behavior pattern analysis right.
I don’t have access to Yash Raj think tank. Presumably I can tell you:-
Search Engine, Google states that Shahrukh Khan is more searched in Paksitan and Morocco (an Arab country) than India. Even India’s 120 crore population cannot beat the volume of search these two countries yield. China and Morocco have a population of 16 and 3.5 crores respectively. (Data source CIA GOV, July 2007). India stands in the thord place and being followed by United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain) and Iran.
City wise Karachi, Lahore (Pakistan), Rabat and Casablanca (Morocco) search more of Shahrukh than Delhi or Mumbai do.
Overseas earning wise (including UK, US, Australia) Shahrukh has 8 of his movies listed in the top eleven. Dhoom-2, a non-shahrukh starer makes its place only in 6th position. Top five belongs to the King Khan. It seems Shahrukh Khan has become a king of sort in Muslim population of the world. Cherry to the cake is India’s metro mass and other NRI populace of all religion who swear by Khan’s name.
Does it really matter whether King Khan rules in the hinterland of India like Eastern UP, Punjab, Bihar or CP? Should not producers be more happy with the NRIs and other overseas collections where an average ticket costs around Rs. 480 (on the lower side). Rs. 25 rural India junta is passé now.
Chak De! India also intelligently blended inter-state sentiments to the right dose. Did they take a cue from the music reality shows and SMS trend? I am sure they did.
Shahrukh played the character of Kabir Khan sans his histrionics. Critically and commercially the movie did well. Portrayal of a Muslim character and that too with box office success (and releasing on 15th August, Independence Day and not on Eid like Salman does) even Dilip Kumar aka Yusuf Khan could not dare to do what SRK achieved so effortlessly. That’s what proper marketing strategy can do to a product.
SRK is not a full to take a cue from the case. His buddy Karan Johar came forward, who also desperately wants to prove to the critic that he can also make an art house type, politically correct commercial cinema sans song and dance at designer European castles.
Any doubt about how “My Name is Khan”, an SRK-KJO effort will fare at the box office? You should not.
SRK’s movie index:
My Name Is Khan (2009) (pre-production)…. Khan
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) (filming)
Bhoothnath (2008)…. Aditya Sharma
Om Shanti Om (2007) … Om Prakash Makhija/Om Kapoor
Heyy Babyy (2007) … Raj Malhotra
Chak De! India (2007)…. Kabir Khan
Don (2006)…. Don / Vijay
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006)…. Dev Saran
Paheli (2005)…. Kishanlal/Ghost
Swades: We, the People (2004)…. Mohan Bhargav
Veer-Zaara (2004)…. Veer Pratap Singh
Main Hoon Na (2004)…. Maj. Ram Prasad Sharma
Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke (2004) … Dushant
Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)…. Aman Mathur
Chalte Chalte (2003) … Raj Mathur
Saathiya (2002)…. Yeshwant Rao (Special Apperance)
Shakthi: The Power (2002) … Jaisingh (Drifter)
Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam (2002) … Gopal
Devdas (2002)…. Devdas Mukherji
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001)…. Rahul Y. Raichand
Asoka (2001)…. Asoka
One 2 Ka 4 (2001)…. Arun Verma
Mohabbatein (2000)…. Raj Aryan Malhotra
Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega… (2000) … Rahul (Special Appearence)
Josh (2000) … Max
Hey Ram (2000) … Amjad Ali Khan
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000) …Ajay Bakshi
Baadshah (1999) …Raj ‘Baadshah’
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) … Rahul Khanna
Dil Se.. (1998) … Amarkanth Varma
Duplicate (1998) …Bablu Chaudhary/Manu Dada
Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) …Rahul
Yes Boss (1997) … Rahul
Koyla (1997) … Shanker
Pardes (1997) … Arjun Saagar
Dushman Duniya Ka (1996) …Badru (Rickshaw driver)
Chaahat (1996) … Roop Singh Rathod
Army (1996) … Arjun
English Babu Desi Mem (1996) … Vikram/Hari/Gopal Mayur
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) …Raj Malhotra
Guddu (1995) … Guddu Bahadur
Karan Arjun (1995) … Arjun Singh
Oh Darling Yeh Hai India (1995) … Hero
Ram Jaane (1995) … Ram Jaane
Trimurti (1995) … Romi Singh/Bholey
Zamaana Deewana (1995) … Rahul Malhotra
Anjaam (1994) … Vijay Agnihotri
Darr (1993) … Rahul Mehra
Baazigar (1993) … Ajay Sharma/Vicky Malhotra
Maya (1993) … Lalit
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1993)… Sunil
King Uncle (1993) … Anil Bansal
Dil Aashna Hai (1992) Karan D. Singh
Chamatkar (1992) Sunder Srivastava
Deewana (1992) Raja Sahai
Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman – Raj Mathur ‘Raju’