Shah Rukh Khan has made an impressionable comeback on the big screen with Pathaan after a four-year hiatus. Needless to say, the Siddharth Anand directorial, which also stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham among others, was a big deal for both SRK fans and Bollywood. Pathaan became the first Bollywood film to cross the Rs 100 crore mark at the global box office within 24 hours of its release, without any press interactions.
#AskSRK, the 15-minute-long AMAs that SRK frequently hosted on his official Twitter account, played a significant role in building the hype.
Engaging Fans With #AskSRK
Everyone loves King Khan's sense of humour, and whenever there is an #AskSRK Twitter session, all eyes are on his witty remarks. These sessions were carried out throughout the pre-release of Pathaan, and it turned out to be a clever promotional strategy for the film.
Shah Rukh, who has over 43.2 million followers on Twitter, stoked enthusiasm in his fans by providing them with a platform to directly interact with him through #AskSRK. He personally answered fan queries that would otherwise be satisfied by media interviews.
The first #AskSRK session for Pathaan was hosted by SRK on 2 March 2022, when he first made the announcement for his upcoming film.
SRK owned the social media space by responding to questions about both his personal and professional life with equal aplomb. The actor also conducted the session after his film's record-breaking success at the box office to thank his fans.
While millions of fans engaged with the actor in his live session, he simply kept winning hearts with his answers that were a perfect blend of humour and inspiration.
Here are some of his memorable tweets:
Appreciation For #AskSRK
The biggest reason for Pathaan's success is the film's star himself. According to the 2021 celebrity brand evaluation report from advisory firm Kroll, SRK's brand value stood at $46.3 million. The makers of Pathaan significantly capitalised on SRK's brand value and star power as part of their marketing plan, which undoubtedly paid off for the film.
#AskSRK was clearly one of the most impressive promotional strategies for Pathaan, which chose to steer away from traditional methods of marketing, including press interactions, appearances on reality shows, and making reels for Instagram, among other things.
While the live sessions received a great response from SRK fans, several took to social media to praise Pathaan's marketing strategy.
"SRK promoting his movie entirely through 15 mins AMAs for a month needs to be studied in marketing classes," said a Twitter user, referring to SRK's "ask me anything" sessions.
Here are some reactions:
SRK & Deepika's FIFA World Cup Presence
Amidst the controversy and boycott calls for Pathaan, Deepika represented India, ranked a lowly 106th in world football, at the FIFA World Cup 2022 finals in Qatar, undauntedly. The actor became the first Indian to unveil the prestigious golden trophy that went to Argentina after their historic victory over France on penalties.
SRK, on the other hand, was spotted interacting with English football legend Wayne Rooney in the studio of Sports 18, which served as the official broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup 2022. During their conversation, Rooney referred to SRK as the most popular Asian celebrity in the UK. SRK also taught Rooney his signature pose and danced with him.
As pictures and videos from their visit surfaced on the internet, many fans flocked to Twitter to defend Deepika and SRK, who have time and again represented India on the international front.
Here, take a look:
Besides, SRK's Pathaan promotion in Dubai also helped create a buzz before the movie's international release. A grand event that saw thousands of SRK fans line up to see Pathaan's trailer light up the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was truly a memorable comeback for Bollywood's King Khan.
YRF's Organic PR
Pathaan's lead actors did not take part in any promotional interviews throughout the release of the film. The production house of the film, Yash Raj Films, only engaged in organic PR activities to promote their film.
In the first few months of Pathaan's pre-release, the makers primarily relied on its songs and teasers for traction. Instead of scheduling interviews with different media publications, YRF itself organised a sit-in interview for its cast to gain audience engagement.
The interview series titled "Pathaan Conversations" featured the film's lead actors, SRK, Deepika, and John, as well as the film's director, choreographers, and music composers.
In the 8-minute-long interview, the actors answered six questions each, which were predominantly about Pathaan, their characters in the film, and their on-screen and off-screen camaraderie with each other.
Besides, the makers also carried out a campaign that urged fans to report piracy and support filmmaking by watching films only in theatres.
The Big Comeback
SRK's return to the silver screen after four years was no less than an event for his fans. The King of Romance's return to the big screen as an action hero in a never-before-seen avatar was more than enough to draw SRK fans into the theatres.
The promotional efforts that his fans engaged in also helped Pathaan with its organic marketing and created an unavoidable frenzy around the film. Several fans took part in rallies with SRK's posters, handed out Pathaan merchandise, and even organised blood donation camps to promote their beloved star's comeback film.
The high-octane action thriller, which hit theatres on 25 January, has surpassed Rs 300 crore at the global box office so far. It goes without saying that both SRK and his fans equally share Pathaan's success.
King Khan has proven that he does not require any media promotions even at the age of 57; the strong bond that he shares with his fans is sufficient to turn any film into a blockbuster.