Kuch kuch hone waala hai OTT ki duniya mein. said Shah Rukh Khan to his 42.3 Twitter million followers Tuesday while sharing a poster for ‘SRK+’.
This layered campaign that seeks to reveal itself progressively has caught the attention of many, as speculations are rife about an SRK+ app, which, at this point, actually seems unlikely. The tweet is an extension of the ad campaign for Disney+ Hotstar’s #SiwayeSRK. But the job of an ad is to grab attention, and that it has done quite beautifully. Many websites rushed to report that SRK+ is an app about to be launched.
Bollywood is in on this campaign — from Ajay Devgn joking that he would have released Rudra: The Edge of Darkness on SRK+ instead of Hotstar to Salman Khan tweeting that the party is on him, the marketing and advertising strategy is on fleek. Anurag Kashyap also plays a key role in the whole hullabaloo. Suspense has been created, and India is sitting at the edge of its seat, waiting for the revelation.
— Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) March 16, 2022
— Salman Khan (@BeingSalmanKhan) March 15, 2022
Let’s be real: If there’s a star in India capable of making people believe that a streaming site in their name is going to hit the Play Store soon, it’s only Shah Rukh Khan.
The actor has been off the screen since 2018, and much has changed about content consumption since, as big studios and prominent celebrities have moved to OTTs. SRK has been sorely missing.
Not only is this campaign a sharp way of capitalising on Khan’s stardom, but it is also an indictment of the hate campaigns that were launched against him last year when his son, Aryan Khan, was embroiled in a drugs case controversy being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau. Despite the backlash, nothing could bring ‘Badshah’ down.
Smear campaigns against Khan
In early February, Shah Rukh Khan was accused of ‘thook jihad’ by the Right-wing when he was offering dua at Bharat Ratna awardee Lata Mangeshkar’s funeral. Forget trolls, elected leaders were not far behind in alleging that Khan was spitting at the late singer’s body. In a malicious attempt, the Right-wing accused the Muslim community of deliberately spreading Covid.
Politics in India is simply not conducive for Muslims to get the kind of reverence that Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Amir Khan are used to. At a time when the villainisation of Muslims is at its peak, it’s inconceivable that heroes bear a ‘Khan’ surname. Their unwavering stardom must ruffle some feathers.
To that effect, Aryan Khan’s drug scandal was the perfect excuse for online trolls to run smear campaigns against SRK, questioning his parenting values.
2020 wasn’t the best for King Khan, as many overshadowed his stardom. With the rise of OTTs, it was prophesied that the star culture of Bollywood would come to an end and crowds permanently stationed in front of Mannat and Galaxy Apartments — SRK’s and Salman Khan’s residences in Bandra — will disappear.
It was also widely considered that post this scandal, Shah Rukh Khan will lose significant money in advertising. BYJU’S had, in fact, hit pause on some of the campaigns they were running with King Khan.
King Khan comes back
The outpouring of love and support for Khan online and in front of Mannat rubbished all the criticism, as the superstar emerged victoriously, his image undented from the controversy. SRK also released a teaser for his upcoming film Pathan and endorsed Thums Up, teasing a new online empire.
The latest #AskSRK session on Twitter only had well wishes, love, and support for him.
Shah Rukh Khan is the embodiment of an India we’re slowly losing. Just hope that all is not lost. He’s the strongest icon of what this country can be, and what its people are capable of. If you’re looking for an antidote to the hate today, look for it in SRK, who shows, time and again, in movies, interviews and now in real life that love trumps hate. His perseverance gives hope to the idea of India we held dear while growing up.
(Edited by Humra Laeeq)