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Shah Rukh Khan's Road to super-stardom: What leads to sky high expectation from a SRK film?

Himesh Mankad | Updated on: 22 March 2017, 17:22 IST
Shah Rukh Khan's super-stardom

Shah Rukh Khan’s success story is such that could easily be made into a biopic so as to inspire millions of people across the globe. Rarely do we get to witness a guy with no filmy connection going on to become one of the biggest superstars’ India has ever seen.

Deewana marked the Hindi film debut of Shah Rukh Khan wherein he was seen in a supporting role however his performance in the film was enough to get noticed by the industry people. SRK moved away from the conventional rule book of being a superstar as he didn’t shy away from portraying characters with grey shades.

He witnessed his first ever success a solo hero with Baazigar and followed it up with Darr. Despite the two films establishing him as a star, it was in the year 1995 wherein his stardom escalated to a different level. He delivered two blockbusters, Karan Arjun co-starring Salman Khan and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

DDLJ also opened up the overseas territory for the actor. DDLJ, followed by Dil Toh Pagal Hai, followed by Kuch Kuch Hota Hai just strengthen his image of being the romance king. By doing films primarily targeted towards the city and NRI audiences, Shah Rukh Khan slowly became the undisputed King of overseas markets. To put things to perspective, out of the 33 Bollywood blockbusters abroad, 22 of them star Shah Rukh Khan in lead. And that’s a massive achievement!

Shah Rukh Khan’s dominance in the overseas market back in the 2000’s was such that there was no star even remotely close to him. In the last decade, SRK showed tremendous consistently by churning out hits and super-hits at regular intervals. The actor retained the top position for around 8 to 9 years and despite being challenged by stars like Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan.

With every release, the expectation from a Shah Rukh Khan film has been on the rise. From 2000 to 2009, SRK has been a part of 22 films out of which merely 7 failed to strike the right chord with the audiences. Out of the 15 successful films, four (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Chak De India, Om Shanti Om, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi) were termed as blockbusters.


Shah Rukh Khan in Don

Shah Rukh Khan’s dominance came to an end this decade wherein Salman Khan and Aamir Khan begun to set new benchmark with every release. As 3 Idiots breached past the 200 crore mark, Shah Rukh Khan’s first release of the decade, My Name Is Khan was expected to churn out of a lot of money given the fact that Shah Rukh Khan was returning on the big screen after the success of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. However, the film failed to live onto the expectations in India and collected around 75 crore at the box-office. The superstar then decided to take a year and half break before coming up with his most ambitious project till date, Ra One.

The superhero film is probably remembered as one of the most promoted film till date, however as far as the box-office performance is concerned, it yet again failed to live onto the hype and expectations. His next after Ra One, i.e. Don 2 was no different. While both the films managed to breach past the 100 crore mark, they failed to come close to the records set by Aamir Khan and Salman Khan.

Don 2 was followed by Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The return of Shah Rukh Khan with legendary director Yash Chopra is enough to get the audiences excited. The star cast comprising of Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma further added onto the buzz. While the film was expected to generate a lot of income, it failed to live on as it collected approximately Rs 120 crore at the box-office.

Chennai Express marked his collaboration with Rohit Shetty and it was finally the first Shah Rukh Khan film this decade that surpassed everyone’s expectation. The commercial entertainer was also the first Shah Rukh Khan film to earn over Rs 200 crore at the box-office. The film commanded a very good word of mouth among the audiences and managed to surpass the 5 year old standing record of 3 Idiots. Apart from the lifetime record, Chennai Express also set new bench-mark in terms of weekend numbers.

Happy New Year was yet another commercial entertainer releasing on Diwali, but after a record breaking start, the film didn’t manage to trend well.

After Happy New Year was Dilwale, the fate of which even Shah Rukh Khan would want to forget. The Rohit Shetty directorial raked in merely Rs 145 crore at the ticket window thereby surprising everyone in the trade. Next after Dilwale was Fan, which promised to be a different cinematic experience for the audiences. The movie was poorly received by the audiences and it emerged a major flop at the box-office.

The teaser as well as trailer of Raees was perceived as the best received trailer in the recent past. While the film opened well despite a clash, it didn’t have the long legs to record a huge number. The film collected approximately Rs 130 crore at the box-office.

Shah Rukh Khan in Dilwale

A common factor in all Shah Rukh Khan films since 2010 is the fact that they all opened to a huge response which proves that fans are still curious to watch a film featuring the superstar. However, his films are failing to grab the eye balls of neutral audiences which lead to a drop in collections on the weekdays. The audiences on the weekdays would come in to watch a film only if it commands a positive word of mouth as the star-power comes to rest after the first three days.

Shah Rukh Khan films this decade:

  • Raees: Rs 132 crore
  • Dear Zindagi: Rs 63 crore
  • Fan: Rs 85 crore
  • Happy New Year: Rs 204 crore
  • Chennai Express: Rs 227 crore
  • Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Rs 121 crore
  • Don 2: Rs 112 crore
  • Ra One: Rs 125 crore
  • My Name Is Khan: Rs 73 crore

While standalone, the collections look very huge, but the guy in question here is Shah Rukh Khan whose films are expected to match up with the collections of Salman and Aamir. The superstar has set high standards for himself over the past few years and given his achievements, the expectations are bound to be sky high.

To conclude, Shah Rukh Khan is by far the biggest Indian superstar in the overseas market, who has put Indian film industry on the global map. There are several countries wherein Bollywood is synonymous with Shah Rukh Khan. As far as India is concerned, It is just a matter of right script wherein the superstar will be back in the business competing with the other two Khans The opening day numbers of his films prove that he still has the pull and is far away from being written off.

First published: 22 March 2017, 16:58 IST
Himesh Mankad @himeshmankad

Himesh Mankad is an entertainment journalist who has a B.Com degree from Narsee Monjee College, Mumbai. He prefers covering Bollywood and loves good stories and music. When not watching movies, he can be found on a cricket field strutting his stuff.