You must have seen stars in the sky. On a clear dark night, they look like diamonds, carelessly scattered on a huge carpet. Ever wondered what may be the life span of these stars, will they shine forever or gradually diminish into oblivion? What are the traits of an ageing star? Is the brightest one in the sky, an ageing star? Does an ageing star shine vigorously? Or it simply flickers to keep its relevance intact in the sea of other shiny objects?
Shah Rukh Khan is one such star. At 45, he is not getting any younger and can definitely not play another Raj. Last 2-3 years have been ‘lean’ for Shah Rukh, given his own high standards. His last outright blockbuster was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), which got a bit overshadowed in the company of Aamir's Juggernaut called Ghajini. SRK’s My Name is Khan got him rave reviews and the film raked moolahs internationally. But it certainly did not set new records in domestic circuit. Apart from Aamir's meteoric rise, a certain hysteria called Salman Khan is busy in reviving his career. His popularity amongst masses has strengthened considerably and he is looking like King of rural milieu.
But I am not much into number game. It is not the threat of Aamir Khan or Salman Khan that worries me, as a Shah Rukh Khan loyalist. My expectations from Ra.One go way beyond the traditional ‘who is the no.1 or which film is the highest grosser’ rhetoric.
I remember one of my colleagues in office drawing an interesting but alarming observation regarding Shah Rukh Khan. He showed to me a slideshow, which traced gradual change in looks of King Khan from 90’s to the recent times. The last picture of the slideshow showed a frail, extremely weak and tired Shah Rukh Khan, with prominent wrinkles on his face. My colleague, who himself is a SRK fan, signed off by saying “I fear he would end up like Michael Jackson when he is 50”. His last words left a deep impact on my mind. Shah Rukh Khan is a workaholic and a chain smoker, a deadly combination to have in your life.
Ra.One can act as the much needed boost Shah Rukh Khan needs in his professional and personal life. Everyone knows that industry’s leading actor is somewhat a lonely man (by his own confession), with a very few friends around. He is happiest when he does well professionally. It is in this regard that Ra.One as a film is very crucial.
- The movie aspires to explore a territory that has been least explored in Hindi Films. Superhero films are very few in number and there is always a question mark over their potential to set the cash registers ringing. If there is a Krish, there was one Drona too. Also, mammoth success of Robot has raised the bar for Ra.one. Both in terms of box-office fate and overall technicality and special effects.
- The think-tank behind Ra.One has played a huge gamble by launching a nearly 8-month long promotional campaign for the film. Cricket world cup provided the much needed eye balls for the film but now the promotion needs to be continuous and subtle. The audience must not forget about Ra.One between all these months.
- Ra.One’s success can give a much needed ‘franchise’ to Shah Rukh Khan. Who knows there well might be a Ra.Two or Ra.Three in the future! A successful formula can secure Shah Rukh Khan as an actor and provide the cushion for him to try out more diversified and varied roles in other films.
- A record breaking Ra.One would set records straight in favor of SRK. He needs that one big, ruthless and thundering success, something that he was so used to till recently. IPL and TV have provided him enough failure, cinema has to come to his rescue.
Hindi Film Industry needs an active, witty and healthy Shah Rukh Khan. I believe, he has much more to offer, now that his career is interestingly poised. Aamir Khan is giving him tough competition in quality while Salman is matching him step by step in popularity. It is time that he rose up to the occasion with a resounding critical and commercial success of his ambitious superhero flick.
All eyes are set on Ra.One and the stakes are enormously high. That 10 second first look, followed by 30 second teaser generated humongous curiosity amongst the movie buffs. He looked dapper in that superhero costume but the trailer was too short and compact to deduce a critical judgement. All in all, the response to the first look was positive and it has further raised the expectations from this film. I wish the film does justice to its hype and SRK's hopes.
P.S. : October 26, 2011: Ra.One Releases, World celebrates Diwali and most importantly, the writer celebrates his birthday. Indeed, a very special day.