Shah Rukh Khan’s “Pathaan,” which has played to packed shows across South Africa, has established itself as a sign of optimism for Hindi cinema, which has a devoted fanbase in the nation. Over the course of the weekend, thousands of fans watched the movie on 21 screens around the nation, with up to seven showings per day at both major chains and independent theatres.
The last time something like occurred was over 25 years ago, when Shah Rukh’s “Kuch Kuch Hota Hain” experienced an extraordinary fan frenzy, according to AB Moosa, CEO of the Avalon Group, the main Bollywood film distributor in South Africa.
Since his grandfather showed the first Indian movie in the nation in the 1940s, Moosa’s family has led the charge in introducing Indian culture to South Africa.
He claimed that the coronavirus pandemic had severely damaged the South African Hindi cinema industry, but that “Pathaan,” which has made close to Rs 600 crore worldwide, has provided much-needed relief.
“Certainly, the Covid pandemic was a major blow to the cinema industry here, as it was globally, but the recovery, though it has taken over a year now, has been encouraging. Our faith in Bollywood has been consistent through the decades and we were confident that it would find renewed support in a post-Covid era.
“The incredible boost that ‘Pathaan’ has brought to this revival is immeasurable. There were rare occasions in the past decade or so where we would have queues at specific shows for films featuring the Khan triumvirate of Bollywood – Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman – as well as Hritihik Roshan and Akshay Kumar, but nothing like what we saw over the past weekend,” Moosa said.
Over the weekend, there were seven showings every day at the Johannesburg Killarney CineCentre, a first for a single Bollywood film. The first significant release of 2023, according to Moosa, bodes well for Bollywood cinema in South Africa because numerous more high-caliber films are scheduled to arrive over the coming months.
Yash Raj has worldwide success with the correct recipe at the ideal time, according to Moosa. “People want to come out and experience the escapism that cinema gives by watching entertainment on the big screen,” he added.