Monday, June 17, 2024

‘We were frightened that the boycott calls will stop the release’

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After the soaring success of Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham starrer Pathaan, the star cast made their first media appearance on Monday and interacted with the media and opened up about the monstrous success of Pathaan.

Shikha Duggal

Pathaan is on its way to become an even more enormous sensation by collecting more than 600 crores as its box-office collection! And, after a really long hiatus: surprisingly when the international media also couldn’t convince Shah Rukh Khan on giving interviews, here he is holding a substantial press conference for all of us without any time constraints. As soon as he entered, nip and tucked into his seat: the crowd couldn’t stop cheering. It was unbelievable love for Shah Rukh Khan.

What set off the press conference was his most famous wave, which made the media go bonkers. And then we see a woman showing chivalry, yes Deepika Padukone, who took away the limelight by asking the protagonist and antagonist to come together for a photograph for media. A genuine emotion!

Known for his whacky humour, SRK launches right into the conference and says, “I had no pre-planned agenda on not giving interviews. The reality is: Pathaan’s shoot schedules were very time-consuming. It drained all of us! We had to do this press conference, for the most part, that’s our country’s media who helped us through boycott calls. Their perspectives on our film changed the way few political leaders think and we are able to make money at the box office even now. Then comes the marketing by Yash Raj Films — on a giant level making all of us feel so glorious in spite of being unable to do multi-city promotions. I was highly strung on the day of release, first time ever, my movie was releasing at an early morning show and I immediately call my director and goes like “You have never been on sets so early, how are you up in the morning” (Shah Rukh Khan laughs). And, then I saw few of my fans sleeping outside the theatres just to be able to watch my film because I am coming after so many years — this reaction moved me to bits. To be honest, we were frightened that the boycott calls will stop the release of an expensive film like this. We even had to make influential calls but looking at its response today — we have achieved the big milestone in a very less time.”

An emotional Deepika Padukone also thanked her fandom and says, “I saw a changed Shah Rukh this time. He was actually bringing junk food for all of us on the sets of Pathaan. Despite being on a strict diet, I was having my cheat days with him. (Meanwhile, Shah Rukh Khan starts to sing for his lady luck and she blushes) None of us knew that the movie will set on to break records looking at the atmosphere around me, and the accusations on me! Post the success, I am relieved. Makes me feel I haven’t done anything objectionable as was being projected. I went to Gaiety Galaxy to see the reactions myself and felt like I entered into a festive area. As a complete outsider, I have always been lucky to be presented by big banner films. I am doing consecutive Yash Raj Films but Pathaan will remain the most memorable film of all times for me. Because, very few people know I was being under-utilised for action sequences. I am an athelete’s daughter — love doing cable work and for the first time the director got the female action-hero “right.” My character is empowering and that’s how it should be written! The takes are never too long when you do action, it’s the repetitive rehearsals. So I used to go into a mediative state and then begin every shot.”

ike a gentleman, John Abraham was so good in filling the shoes of his producer as he addressed, “The way Aditya Chopra thought of positioning each one of us is commendable. After this movie, without a doubt, Shah Rukh Khan is not an actor any more: he is an emotion. During post-production, I realised Shah Rukh Khan is on its way on becoming an action hero too. And, our technicians behind Pathaan were everything for us. My stylist who is my director’s wife and the scene in which I appear in white shorts; she has made that scene my signature style in every movie now. And while doing action scenes, Shah Rukh used to be whispering John John John, and then he went boom, boom, and boom!”

But, where was Shah Rukh Khan all this while? He answered, “I was having the best time with my kids. It was the best time watching them grow up. Was trying different cuisines happily. Even on the sets of Pathaan, I was busy ordering pizzas for everyone. And now when I have returned, it was an absolute honour returning with John Abraham. Previously, I had done only commercials with him but now I was competing with another big actor on screen. Look at his body, I tried as much as I could to match up to him. So, we weren’t in a hurry to finish the film.”

There were roaring screams like “Bharat ki jaan Shah Rukh Khan” which made the megastar recall his lows too. We all know he experienced failures, to which he responds, “Honest to Allah, whenever my film fails at the box office — it hurts me. There is the reason I come to my balcony and wave. My parents used to say, whenever you feel saddened: do not share it with the people who you work with but with those who love you without any conditions. And those people are my fans, my army. They come to my house every Sunday knowing that my previous films were a flop! Today, Mannat’s balcony has become my comfort place and my “balcony ticket” is permanent in every sense. When the foreign technicians entered the sets, even they ensured I feel comfortable.

To tell you the truth, because I was low on confidence and it can happen to me too. The technicians, my co-actors and their families were there to comfort me always. That’s why I love doing cinema. And when I need some real motivation, I listen to my own songs too. We were going through some stressful months as soon as our first song released but there was John’s pasta to make me laugh. I request John to stop eating that! Another reason for me to do Pathaan was the way its ex-head Yash Chopra used to take risks with me. He gave me a blockbuster hit called Darr and I am not going to continue to self-praise. Since the same production house has so much of guts that they took a chance with me for a movie like Fan.

What I don’t like is when our movies don’t run well on the box office, critics start to belittle all of us. They forget about the risks! Today, Yash Raj Films are not just sitting on their past laurels — they created a “spyverse” and with Pathaan, they proved they are ready spend as much money as they can for a franchise.”

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