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Total Recall

As Shah Rukh Khan celebrates his 50th birthday on November 2, we look at how the Badshah of Bollywood became the industry’s most bankable star. We walk down memory lane with distributors and exhibitors across territories, and ask them to share moments they cherish from Khan’s films. Here are some priceless nuggets:

Rajesh Thadani, Multimedia Combines, Distributor, Mumbai

When he was younger, Shah Rukh Khan’s fan following comprised mainly youngsters but ever since he started doing mature roles, his popularity has increased and his fans are no longer restricted to any age group. Khan is also very popular overseas. Why, his name is enough to get people to sit up and take notice of a film, which then does not need much marketing muscle. Such is his charisma. This also means producers need not spend excessive sums to promote his films. In Mumbai, every film of Shah Rukh Khan has done extremely well, although with the increase in ticket prices, the repeat value may have declined. But his films have done tremendous business at the box office. I mean, look at the evergreen Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

Brijesh Tandon, HK Tandon & Co, Distributor, Delhi-UP

In Delhi, the response to SRK’s films has always been great and his movies have always done great business at the box office, especially when it releases along with a festival. For instance, Mohabattein and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. When he releases a film with a big banner, it always draws a great response.

Sunil Bansal, Yash Raj Jai Pictures, Distributor, CI

Over the years, Shah Rukh Khan’s graph has risen tremendously. He is a great actor and all his movies have done great business, like Happy New Year, which did extremely well last year. The fact that Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is still running in some cinemas is proof of Khan’s popularity. We have great expectations from Dilwale as well because it brings back the combination of Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rohit Shetty. The film also features Varun Dhawan, so expectations are huge.

BH Basha, Bahar Enterprises, Distributor, Mysore

Shah Rukh Khan caters to a whole different market. From Baazigar to Chennai Express to Happy New Year, his fan following has kept increasing. If I had to choose one film that did extremely well in Mysore, it would have to be Chennai Express and Om Shanti Om.

Sarang Chandok, Sri Rang Films, Distributor, CP

Shah Rukh Khan is a brand that doesn’t need to be heavily promoted to attract the audience. A promo or a trailer of his film is more than enough. The response to his films has always been tremendous from the very beginning, till his last year’s release Happy New Year. In CP, the evergreen SRK movie would have to be Baazigar.

Jeetu Khandelwal, Movie Pioneer, Distributor, Orissa

Shah Rukh Khan has always cast a spell over women and teenage girls but, over the last few years, his fan following has dipped somewhat due to some great releases from Salman Khan. Having said that, SRK still delivers some great box office openings. There are high hopes from his upcoming Dilwale. His films have great stories and that is what captivates the audience. For me, Veer-Zaara is one of SRK’s best movies in terms of collections.

Jaspal Dhingra, Nanaskar Enterprises, Distributor, East Punjab

People have always been crazy about Shah Rukh Khan’s films, and when he works with a good filmmaker, his movies never fail to do well. His films always have great story lines, which is why he has a loyal fan following. This applies to his commercial films too. Khan is an evergreen actor and his fans go crazy when he releases a romantic film and his domination over multiplexes is unparalleled. To my mind, the film I think was most successful was Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham because it was a combination of commercial cinema and romance.

Debashish Dey, Aum Moviez, Distributor, West Bengal

Shah Rukh Khan’s films have always done record business. Even at his age, last year’s Happy New Year brought in amazing collections at the box office and is among the list of highest first-day grossers. The measure of Shah Rukh’s charisma is the fact that his films don’t need much publicity. The simple fact that he’s starring in a film draws fans to cinemas. His movies usually release during the festive season, which means ticket prices are higher than usual. Still, people are more than willing to shell out the extra money because they never fail to get their money’s worth. The SRK film that clocked the most business in Kolkata was Chennai Express.

Gaurav Ruparel, Girish Pictures, Distributor, Gujarat

Shah Rukh Khan started as a television actor who became a film actor, and then a superstar. But Khan is also a good businessman. He has a knack for selecting and telling a good story and making good films and his projects have always been profitable. The reason many who started their careers with him have not done as well as he has is that SRK has great business sense. He has a worldwide fan following. However, he is not as popular in Gujarat as he is in other territories because the audience here prefers comedy, and Shah Rukh Khan has done only a handful of comedy films, among them Badshah and Duplicate, which didn’t do well at the ticket window. So his fan base is limited in Gujarat. The SRK film that still works here is Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

Manoj Desai, Exhibitor, Maratha Mandir and G7 Multiplex

Shah Rukh Khan’s films have always created a frenzy at our cinemas. From his early films to his recent releases, the single-screen audience adores this star. We ran Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge for 1009 weeks at our property Maratha Mandir. The uninterrupted run makes it the longest-running film in the history of Indian cinema. I also ran Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Devdas and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai for quite a few weeks. But nothing can beat the success some of his recent films like Chennai Express. The actor believes in quality and quantity. I wish him a very happy birthday!

Rohini Nag ,Soumita Sengupta and Swagata Panjari
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