Fading magic of SRK- king of romance: Naam to suna hoga??

For over two decades, the Raj-Rahul character continued to win fans and influence people – locally and globally – like few Bollywood stars ever did

Photo courtesy:  social media
Photo courtesy: social media
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Monojit Lahiri

Not very long ago, the name SRK translated to King Khan, the King of Romance, the dazzling, stylish, sexy super-star whose maniac energy, andaaz, dimpled smile and trademark outstretched arms pulled in every female – from 6 to 60 – like a magnet! The way his persona manipulated the real, toyed with perception and successfully created an imaginary, magically romantic alternative universe was truly mind-boggling. For over two decades, the Raj-Rahul character continued to win fans and influence people – locally & globally – like few Bollywood stars ever did. However, in the last few years, that larger-than-life aura, Tashan, dazzling style and flamboyance, has flashed only – off-screen! On-screen, from the 2016 Dilwale to his last release Zero, it has been a shockingly disappointing tale reflecting the law of diminishing returns. Sharp, smart and grounded, SRK must have been jolted by the underwhelming BO reports. So what’s suddenly gone so wrong that his films have attracted such few takers? Is it a case of Apna time chala gaya? Changing audience taste? Viewer fatigue? Wrong choice of films?

One lot says it’s his looks – he’s gone old and haggard! Actually, if one looks at his older films – from DDLJ to Jab Tak Hain Jaan – and compares it to his new releases, then it does seem to confirm one’s worst fears. The face, the mannerisms, they look fatigued. Worse, in a competitive space, where we are spoilt for choices, it hits us even harder.

Other well-manicured mourners suggested that his brand of stretch-arm-romance is hopelessly outdated! Today, it appears like a corny caricature. Also, the content, that powered his biggest hits, is equally outdated. New-age audiences just don’t connect with those mushy NRI films any more. They add that the King of Romance tag is also, today, a big joke and played out for public consumption, as a PR tool. If it was true, why would the King’s crown, throne and kingdom be so madly shaky & threatened?


The third lot believe that SRK is a Yesterday guy in the tomorrow world! That in today’s day & age, neither his image nor his films appear to be relevant enough to attract either the classes or masses. He appears to be out-of-sync with the kind of films being made – the fabulous, content-driven films top-lined by Ayushman, Vicky & Raj Kumar Rao – or the super hits that are blitzing the screen. A look at some of the monster hits of 2019 [all crossing the 200 crore mark] will give him an idea of how alienated he is from this space, they add. Uri, Chhichhore, Total Dhamaal, Gully Boy, Houseful 4, Mission Mangal, Bharat, Kabir Singh and War. 2020 hits include Tanhaji, Street Dancer, Jawani Jaaneman, Malang and this is just the beginning. Different genres, actors, directors, storylines, but all huge on audience response.

Food for thought? Totally. No wonder the Super Star has taken a break after his last release to introspect. The Big B suffered a similar situation when after a decade and a half of being a One-Man-Industry, he suddenly found himself out of favour. Bad films, wrong choice of roles, age and youth-quake did him in. KBC revived his fortunes as did his move to powerful character roles. While rumours fly thick and fast about SRK returning to his favourite film-makers Adi Chopra and Karan Johar and even approaching hit-machine Raj Kumar Hirani, only the dimpled charmer knows the truth. He is still dynamite – like the crazy throngs that invade his home Mannat on his birthday indicate or every movie marked by media channels – and is totally capable of returning with a bang. As someone who did his first-ever interview with me (post Fauji in 1989) I am confident that he will return ... but in a new, resurrected form to tell the world, as only he can – chill guys, yeh to interval tha, picture abhi bhi baaki hai mere dost!

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