Why didn’t the boycott of Pathaan’s trend work?

Shahrukh Khan starrer Pathaan is out in the theatre, and it has been two days. The movie has garnered massive box office numbers. According to Box Office India, the film made almost 70 crore rupees on the second day i.e. 26th January. That is unprecedented. A Hindi movie has never earned more than 60 crores in a single day. People are going to the theatres to watch Shahrukh Khan back on screen after four-year-long hiatus.

‘The Hunter, Hunted?’

If you have seen the movie, you know this dialogue. Regardless, let us breakdown what can the possible reasons behind the failure of the #BoycottPathaan trend.

Firstly, Shahrukh Khan is a massive movie star, and he was coming back after a four-year-long break. The popularity of Shahrukh Khan and the action genre possibly helped the movie’s box office. The so-called ‘testosterone-heavy’ movies are working at the box office. 

At the same time, Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chadha didn’t work at the box office either. He too is a massive star. Experts suggest the trailer or promos failed to create a buzz for the film which wasn’t the case for Pathaan. The promos, songs, and teaser-trailers create immense buzz for the film.

Secondly, the movie in a way became an emotion for the audience. It wasn’t about if the movie is bad or good, it was about solidarity against hate. A lot of Twitter users expressed the same on social media. 

Thirdly, the film received favourable reviews from the critics as well as the audience, which is quite surprising for a full-fledged action movie. These reviews will help the film retain the footfall which generally drops after the first weekend or even the first day.

In addition, the movie stars didn’t engage in a lot of media interviews as well. That was quite marketing by YRF. The controversy around the film helped create the euphoric buzz in itself, I suppose.

Importantly, the screen counts, and revival of single screen theatres has also helped the movie receive massive numbers.

While I am writing this, it is hard to gauge why and what really works at the box office. I am a devoted Shahrukh Khan fan, and I have seen his movies struggle at the box office for the past decade. So, what can we say about the box office anyway?


The film’s box office also revived YRF’s fortunes too. India’s biggest production house has seen some massive failure in the last few years with the biggest stars in the country like Ranveer Singh, and Akshay Kumar. But, the movie becoming a symbol of love against hate is far-fetched, to say the least.

The budget of the film is around 250 crore and would have to do some tremendous numbers to make some money back. And, that looks very plausible.

India’s biggest movie star will be seen in Atlee’s Jawan in June of 2023, and then in Raju Hirani’s social comedy Dunki, at the end of the year. There is also an extended cameo in Salman Khan’s Tiger 3, another movie in YRF’s spy universe.

We would have to see how it is for other Shahrukh Khan movies in the year as well.


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