Dear SRK, thank you for ‘Pathaan’

A letter from a die-hard fan to his biggest idol, the Badshah of Bollywood.

Harper's Bazaar India

Dear King Khan, 

I hope this letter reaches you via your manager or social media team, one way or the other. Like your many fans around the world, I have never had the chance to meet you. I’ve just seen you on the screen, cheered you on standing among the crowd at Mannat, and wished that one day, I will get to meet my idol. If a fan can meet his idol (both played by you) in Fan, this one definitely harbours the hope to do so. And if we're talking about hope and a happy ending, Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.  

The Bollywood buff in me is immensely grateful for the impact that you’ve had on my life. A reason why I have never worn contact lenses in my entire life is because I saw how you fumbled with them in Baazigar. While I don't remember much about my maternal grandmother, I do remember the last film she saw, Dil Toh Paagal Hai, because I was seated beside her in the theatre. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani taught me more about press law and ethics than any media textbook. While Kal Ho Na Ho gave me life lessons on how to enjoy life to the fullest, Om Shanti Om taught me about hope and how it isn't over until it's a happy ending. You were the teacher I never had and every film of yours has been an absolute masterclass. I have had dates at Maratha Mandir where I, to this very day, enjoy Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge as if I'm watching it for the very first time.

So you see, SRK, I am what I am because of you. Be it iconic dialogues, or your songs, many of them have been quoted in the love letters I have written. Right from being someone who loves watching movies, to being a hopeless romantic, and sometimes extremely cheesy, I am what I am because of you today. And I thank you for Pathaan, from the bottom of my heart. 

Four years, one month and four days. That’s how long I’ve waited to see you on the big screen. It’s been a long wait but one that’s been absolutely worth it. Yes, I screamed from my seat when I saw you in Brahmāstra: Part One-Shiva, but I knew that the best was yet to come. These four years, I have wondered whether my favourite actor will ever be able to rule the box office like he always did. I, like every single fan of yours, wanted to see you on the big screen at the very earliest—seeing you occasionally during the Indian Premier League or in an advertisement was never going to cut it. The world needed you, the world needed the Badshah of Bollywood to be back. 

And back you were! You teased us with a glimpse of what’s in store in Jawan and Dunki, and in November you gave me the best birthday gift with the release of Pathaan’s teaser. And then began the countdown to January 25. Tick-tock, tick-tock. What followed was a song that got the entire nation talking and another that just added to the excitement. 

Despite the building excitement, it was only last night that it really sunk in that I was just a few hours away from watching YOU on the big screen. I reached the theatre early. I was smiling ear to ear. I hadn’t cheered during a film in a long, long time. For one, you’ve done a movie after a long time and two, it’s an action movie—a genre that you haven’t explored much before. It is highly commendable. I didn’t care much about the plot, the story, or the character development because I was just happy to see the King return to his throne. 

Considering your fans will be reading this, it’s important to also tell them what they’d like in the movie. If cinephiles were looking for an out-and-out spy thriller, you've given us just that with Pathaan. From winning hearts, to now saving the day, watching you, the king of romance, turn into an action hero brought the same smile to my face that I had when I watched your previous movies. We were looking for something massy, something that played to the gallery and lived up to the hype. Be it the high-octane action sequences—my favourite one being on a train (no Chaiyya Chaiyya this time)—or the song at the very end where my jaw dropped to the floor seeing your abs, or throwing punch for punch against John Abraham, you've made each and every scene worth our while.

Come to think of it, Pathaan had all the ingredients of what one would call a masala potboiler. Boy did we need one so badly! It had slow-motion entries, a good vs. bad battle that had us at the edge of our seats, stunning locations, and a very sexy SRK. If this is how you're going to be in action movies, then here we are, the first to stand in line for the tickets.

You're the king and today, you've proved that you always will be. 

— Adit, a fan, who hopes to meet you one day.