The crash of 2015 won’t avert the clash of 2016. It seems Shah Rukh Khan has learnt no lessons from his demoniacal debacle last Christmas when he chose to release Dilwale with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani against all advice, including the Dilwale director Rohit Shetty’s apparent imploration against the head-on collision.
You’d think a wise man and a super entrepreneur like Shah Rukh Khan would have learnt his lesson. No such luck. Despite reports to the contrary SRK will go ahead with another boxoffice clash in 2016. This time he takes on an even more formidable adversary.
Meanwhile, Salman Khan’s makeover as at wrestler in Sultan already has the Salmaniacs drooling in anticipation.
And the date is Eid, which is Salman’s slot when the entire Muslim and Hindu population of India heads to the theatres to watch a his film. Into this insulated paradisaical passage that joins Salman to his fans, enters the other Khan superstar with a film that takes him away from his lover-boy image.
I wonder what undisclosed reckless impulses has prompted Shah Rukh to take on Salman on the latter’s home territory! Could it be that stubborn defiant streak that we saw in him when he was told to apologize for his comments on Tolerant/Intolerant India? Shah Rukh never turns back even when the road ahead is strewn with broken glass.
Why Eid for Raees? Diwali is when audiences welcome Shah Rukh Khan with open arms and emptied-out pockets. Give them anything for Diwali, and his fans will lap it up. But during Eid they look for Bhai on the silver screen as the moon peeps out of the clouds. It’s like offering gujiyas for Eid and saiwaiyyan for Diwali. The palate is incongruous.
In the film, Shah Rukh plays Raees Alam, a hooch don in prohibition-ridden Gujarat in the 1980s. From its theme to the choice of leading lady (Pakistan’s Mahira Khan) everything in Raees spells ‘controversy.’
It most certainly seems like a battle of unequals. So what makes Shah Rukh Khan so sure he can pull this off? Could ‘King’ Khan be over-estimating his own power at the box-office and underestimating Salman’s hold over the Eid slot? Or is Shah Rukh just cockily confident of his own space in spite of the underperformance of Dilwale last Christmas?
The last time and only time that Shah Rukh Khan took on Salman at the box-office was in 2006 when on October 20 Shah Rukh’s Don released alongside Salman’s Jann-e-Mann.
Jaan-e-Mann bombed, and Don was a blockbuster. To this day Salman jokes how he urged his fans to watch his colleague’s Don, and they took him too seriously.
It would be interesting to see if the two Khan superstars promote one another’s films this Eid. Or would they drop their lately-assumed postures of bonhomie and get cut-throat in their competitiveness?
This year’s Eid looks severely aggressive. May the best Khan win.