24 years on, SRK again woos fans as army man
For Shah Rukh Khan, life seems to have come full circle just before he completes the silver jubilee of his career in acting and showbiz.
In 1988, his powerful portrayal of Commando Abhimanyu Rai in the TV series "Fauji" virtually launched his acting career and made him a popular face throughout the country. And now his role as army man Samar in Yash Chopra's yet untitled film has stirred a buzz.
"When Shah Rukh Khan goes back to his roots, his 'Fauji' days, wears a uniform and then there's a combination of a love story, produced by (Yash Raj Films), the house of romance, directed by Yash Chopra himself, the film is bound to create buzz," film critic Omar Qureshi, told IANS.
At 46, the superstar doesn't just paint a perfect, military print uniform-clad, intense look but also reflects his fit, powerful and impactful demeanour through the first few looks of the movie, which will release Nov 13.
Not much is known of the storyline yet, except the likely possibility of a love triangle between King Khan and two leading ladies - Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.
His fans prefer the 'romantic SRK' and Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan says that they are expecting it to join the Rs.100 crore club.
"He started his career with 'Fauji' and so he is seen that way. Almost all his films do well. 'RA.One' didn't do too well, but still crossed Rs.100 crore. This new film has Shah Rukh, and it is being directed by Yash Chopra after so long; so I think the movie will surely touch the Rs.100 crore mark," Mahajan told IANS.
He however feels it will be tough for it to make Rs.200 crore as Ajay Devgn's "Sons Of Sardaar" will release the same day and shows at cinema halls will get divided.
In Bihar, the buzz for the movie is more because it is a Yash Raj Films production.
"After 'Om Shanti Om', none of Shah Rukh's films have done too well in Bihar. People are not too crazy about Shah Rukh here. Salman Khan is more liked here. However, this time the Yash Raj Films banner is associated with him and their movies do well here; so chances of the movie doing well here increases," said Rajan Sinha, a distributor from Bihar.
This is not the only time since "Fauji" that Shah Rukh has slipped into the 'uniform'. He also donned it in 2004 releases "Main Hoon Na" and "Veer-Zaara".
He played an army officer, Major Ram Prasad Sharma, in Farah Khan's directorial debut "Main Hoon Na". It was a light-hearted role and his character was shown as a saviour who falls for glamorous teacher Sushmita Sen and was a blockbuster.
The same year saw Shah Rukh in cross-border romance "Veer-Zaara". He played an Indian Air Force pilot with conviction.
His heroism, as he helped Zaara, a Pakistani girl in distress, essayed by Preity Zinta, swept his female fans off their feet - as did his rare, old man look when the film's story moved 22 years forward.
Shah Rukh has a certain magic, and mixed with an officer's uniform, the magic is expected to go up by several notches, predicted Qureshi about the superstar's latest army man avatar in Chopra's latest directorial venture.
"Every romantic hero is fantasised in a uniform. There is something about men in uniform which women like and I think it's going to work even more magic for Shah Rukh," Qureshi told IANS.
Shah Rukh, who has also been touted as the king of romance in Indian cinema, owing to films like "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge", "Dil To Pagal Hai", "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" and "Kal Ho Naa Ho", has lately been seen in action-packed films like "RA.One" and "Don: The King Is Back".
Chopra's new movie gives a ray of hope to the star's legion of fans.
Trade guru Taran Adarsh says it's just another challenge that Shah Rukh has taken and added:"I think Shah Rukh is accepted in every role. He has proven his versatility over the years."
Given Chopra's precision and understanding of commercial filmmaking, his hold on the pulse of the cinema-viewing audience and his super-scenic locations in London, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, one can hope the film will bring back Shah Rukh's missing magic once again.
The industry feels the new movie will bring sunny times for both SRK and the box office.