It’s been just five days since the release of Shahrukh Khan’s Pathan and in just these five days Pathan broke all the previous box records and set new benchmarks for Hindi films. So far Pathan has collected Rs.282 crores in India and has grossed Rs 550 crores worldwide within these five days and has become the highest grossing Hindi film post Pandemic.
Also read: Pathaan Box Office Collection Day 5- SRK’S Film Is Officially A Blockbuster Worldwide
But looking at the state of affairs just a couple of weeks ago, it looked impossible for this YRF’s spy thriller to achieve these figures even as a film’s lifetime collection. The main reason behind this uncertainty about Pathaan’s box office success among trade analysts and filmgoers was not the film’s content but the ongoing trend of Boycott Bollywood. 2022 was one of the worst years for Bollywood as Hindi cinema witnessed a bunch of flop and disastrous films at the box office.
Also read: LSC To Pathaan: Top 5 Bollywood Films Twitter Boycotted In 2022
It was claimed that films like Laal Singh Chaddha, Liger, Raksha Bandhan, Samrat Prthviraj also failed at the box office because of this Boycott Bollywood trend. Yes, all these films did fail at the box office, but the reason for their lackluster performance was not the ‘Boycott Bollywood’ trend but it was the film’s content. None of these films received positive reviews from critics and there wasn’t any positive word of mouth among audiences for these films too.
Some social media users were trying to dig out frivolous reasons to support this Boycott Bollywood trend. Every day you would wake up and another boycott trend was on its way to rile up people by digging into actor’s past statements, religious and political affiliations, or even their food preferences (remember this boycott gang spreading Ranbir Kapoor’s decade old video where he admits ‘he likes to eat beef’ to support their boycott Brahmastra trend).
For Pathaan, it was Deepika Padukone’s saffron bikini. Many social media users started the BoycottPathaan trend claiming that Deepika’s saffron bikini was an insult to the Hindu community. Some dharam ke rakshaks of our peace loving Hindu religion were burning film’s posters, destroying cinema halls for screening Pathaan in the name of saving our Hindu religion.
Also read: Pathaan- Besharam Rang Song Sparks Outrage, Netizens Start Boycott Trend
This sudden surge of violence even forced Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur to speak out against this recent practice of making calls to boycott certain films, saying such “negative” talk “vitiates the atmosphere” at a time when India is seeking to enhance its influence as a soft power. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told party leaders and workers to not indulge in unnecessary remarks on irrelevant issues such as movies.
The problem with this new Boycott Bollywood trend was that these boycotts were no longer about the content of the films, as in the case of, PK (2014), Padmaavat (2018), or revenge for the death of an outsider who, people felt, was shunned by the industry and its gatekeepers, in fact it simply became a meagre political weapon of so called ‘Dharam Ke Rakshak‘ to divert the common man’s attention from more serious economical and social issues such as surging unemployment, rising fuel prices, growing intolerance towards minorities.
Maybe Pathaan’s success has proved that people have slowly started to realize that this Boycott Bollywood trend is being used to distract them from more serious issues. As they say ‘You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time’.
Although it’s too early to claim that this is the end of the Boycott Bollywood trend, but Pathaan’s success must have instilled some confidence into other filmmakers of Hindi film industry that as long as you make good entertaining movies, people will flock to theatres. The record breaking box office performances of films such as PK (2014), Dangal (2016), Brahmastra (2022) and now Pathaan (2022) despite facing huge backlash on social media, is a proof of this fact.