Last Updated: February 20, 2023, 08:42 IST
Shah Rukh Khan made a comeback with Pathaan after almost four years.
Pathaan writer Shridhar Raghavan opens up about Shah Rukh Khan’s involvement in film’s action scenes. It is no secret that Shah Rukh loves the action genre.
Even in its third weekend, Pathaan’s dream run continues. Having grossed Rs 988 crore at the global box office, the all-time blockbuster is set to cross the coveted Rs 1000 crore mark worldwide and Rs 500 crore nett in the Hindi version this week. It marks a watershed moment for superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who has returned to the big screen after more than four years. Not only has it revived Bollywood’s glory and set the ticket counters on fire like never before, but many believe that the action spectacle has also helped Khan regain his metaphorical crown and throne. Pathaan’s charisma, sense of humour and scintillating presence has grabbed the attention of many, who believe that the character is an extension of the actor’s real-life persona.
And now, in an exclusive interaction with News18, the screenplay writer of Pathaan, the third film in producer Aditya Chopra’s spy universe, Shridhar Raghavan, tells us that Khan’s off-screen demeanour and disposition had bled into the character and that helped the audience resonate with him. “We went to Shah Rukh sir very early on and told him about our plan and how we want the character to shape. Thereafter, he brought more layers into it. If we brought twenty per cent to the script, he brought about eighty per cent to it. A lot of the vulnerability, humour and self-effacing trait in the character was brought in by him,” he says.
Often hailed for his marketing and creative acumen, Khan contributed ideas to certain portions of the script and Raghavan reveals that it also comes from his love for action thrillers as a genre. “He contributed a lot to the idea of a squad of people who aren’t allowed to be a part of the service anymore – JOCR. He told us that these people need not be so tough. In War (2019), the character played by Tiger (Shroff; actor) had a slight eye defect, which was crucial in the plotting. Keeping that in mind, Shah Rukh sir told us that such people can come together and form a squad,” he says. Raghavan further continues, “The humour and the idea of how Pathaan talks came from him. He also added layers and gave inputs on the scene where he’s at a hospital after failing a mission and is injured. He’s also heavily into action and so, he gave lots of suggestions pertaining to the action bits.”
Raghavan also divulges that Khan did his own share of study and research and maintained a journal where he put down his analyses related to action films, which eventually helped the makers with plot points and action sequences. “I hadn’t worked with Shah Rukh sir earlier. We all think of him as a romantic hero or a boy next door. But he knows the genre of action, inside and out. He had written a 1700-page document which was a study and analysis of the genre. It was a fun document,” he states.
Shedding some more light on it, the writer, who has also penned the screenplay for Tiger 3, elaborates, “You would imagine him doing that for a new romantic film to point out what’s similar and what’s different it is from the ones he has done previously. But he actually did it for an action film! One day, I asked him if I could see those notes. It had a lot of stuff there about action films which I didn’t know earlier.”
He continues, “It was a product of 25-30 years of discussion which he had been having with Adi sir about making an action film. That file became something I could run my script by. I found some really interesting bits, elements and moments in it and incorporated them in the script of Pathaan. The file was a tick-box kind of a thing for me. I would attribute a lot of what worked in the film not just to Shah Rukh sir’s star persona and performance but also his inputs and the time he gave us.”
Lauding the actor, who will next be seen in Jawan and Dunki, Raghavan confides that he would spend long hours with director Sidharth Anand, Chopra, dialogue writer Abbas Tyrewala and him jamming on ideas and exchanging interesting thoughts. “A superstar like him gave 50-100 hours of his time discussing and brainstorming the script. It was a luxury for us because he’s so busy and is in demand all the time. With a base like that, it became easier to create a character like Pathaan. He knows how to make a character strong,” The Night Manager writer says.
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