How Deepika Padukone is Powering SRK 2.0

Deepika Padukone, a rarest of rare combination of Beauty, Brains & Bravery is additionally powering SRK 2.0. It is something that has never been written about, but a fact that must be told.

By Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri

The vicious Indian political atmosphere had already given Pathaan a great thrust with a failed attempt at boycotting resulting in unprecedented publicity. SRK’s courage and sense of humour, had milked it to perfection at the Kolkata International Film Festival. And yet nothing could beat this.. the mother of all Marketing & PR moments ever in the recorded history of world cinema.

Never ever had any pre-release campaign of a movie garnered more eye balls. As the world waited for the Messi magic to unfold, Deepika Padukone— arguably the most beautiful woman of this century and along with Madhubala & Sridevi, one of the three most beautiful to have ever graced the Indian screens— walked up to the gaze of an estimated 4 billion eye balls to unveil the FIFA 2023 trophy. Even SRK, the Badshah of Indian cinema could only watch it from the studios along with Rooney.

That even without Pathan’s release Deepika, the global face of the biggest of brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier etc., would have been the first choice to do the honours is an entirely different matter. The fact that it happened while people in India were busy burning effigies of SRK & Deepika has almost made sure that Pathaan will get one of the biggest openings for a Bollywood Film. With SRK desperately in need of a box office blockbuster to keep his iconic status intact, he couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Once again it was Deepika to his rescue. Something that hasn’t often been written about.

One look into SRK’s career graph will make anyone realise the fact that while the initial success of DDLJ & KKHH made SRK the heartbeat of billions across the world and he is very rightly India’s only entry into top 50 greatest actors of the world; SRK has never really been able to establish himself as a box office super power the way Salman Khan or Aamir Khan have. The fact also remains that this heartthrob part can’t keep him going forever if it’s not backed up by some genuine box office blockbusters at regular intervals.

And this is exactly where the Deepika Factor comes into play.

Shah Rukh Khan’s three real blockbusters in last 15 years (since 2007) that have kept him afloat have been the three films he has done with Deepika Padukone— Om Shanti Om (the only film that can be compared to his initial iconic films), Chennai Express & Happy New Year (the latter two being SRK’s only two films in the 400cr plus club), making SRK 2.0 synonymous with Deepika Padukone. If Pathan now goes on to become a blockbuster, this time far more than ever before, it will owe its success as much to SRKs huge stardom as to Deepika’s charming screen presence, growing global status and her exceptional presence in the song ‘Besharm Rang’ that has already sent the nation into a tizzy.

In 2007 I had had the opportunity to interview Deepika after the success of Om Shanti Om, the film that created Shah Rukh Khan’s larger than life Megastar status after films like DDLJ & KKHH had made him India’s heartbeat. I remember her mumbling shy words of gratitude for Farah Khan and everyone else when I said that I believed she was going to be the superstar for decades to come. From that extremely shy voice on the other and of the phone to the icon of bravery against fanaticism standing tall at JNU unapologetically making her statement, to coming out in public about her mental health issues and becoming the most vocal and celebrated champion of this extremely important cause, Deepika Padukone has indeed cemented her place in the history of Bollywood as the most iconic combination of sense, sensuality and sensibility as well as beauty, brains and bravery. An incredible combination powering SRK 2.0.