Shah Rukh Khan (57) is making an impressive comeback after a long break. His new film "Pathaan" had a strong start both in India and globally like no Bollywood film before. According to US media, after only three days in the cinema, it grossed the equivalent of 39 million US dollars worldwide.
The launch of "Pathaan" was a massive event in India. People danced in the streets to the movies and decorated movie posters. It is, after all, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's first film in more than four years.
The King of Bollywood took a break from acting after starring in the 2018 romantic comedy Zero. The reason for the break was not only the corona pandemic, which paralyzed film industries worldwide. Rather, he wanted to spend more time with his family again, after "working 18 hours a day non-stop for the past 32 years," as he said in an interview.
Since 2018, Khan has not accepted any leading roles. He limited himself to short appearances, for example he appeared in two films as himself. In recent years, the political climate in India has also become increasingly unfavorable to Khan. As a member of the Muslim minority, he is increasingly being attacked by Hindu nationalists.
The initial success of "Pathaan" is seen as an important sign for Bollywood in India. The colourful, escapist Hindi films flopped recently, as did the films with their workhorse Khan.
In recent years, Bollywood has been overshadowed more and more by Tollywood - that is, by films in the Telugu language, which is mainly spoken in the south of the country. A Tollywood hit was the spectacle "RRR" from 2022, which was also celebrated in the West.
The highest-grossing Indian film of all time remains a Hindi film with "Dangal". Depending on the source, the wrestling drama grossed between the equivalent of 311 and 338 million US dollars worldwide - and that without Shah Rukh Khan. However, experts believe that he could break this record with "Pathaan".