All Mahira Khan needs is a little bit of luck

Published: January 19, 2015
Mahira Khan is set to appear alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Raees.

Mahira Khan is set to appear alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Raees.

KARACHI: The shooting for Raees, which will star Mahira Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, is scheduled to begin sometime in March this year but let’s get one thing straight: Mahira Khan has already achieved what no other Pakistani artist aspiring to work in Bollywood ever has.

Over the years, many Pakistani actors have ventured into Bollywood. From the iconic Lollywood couple Mohammad Ali and Zeba to the veteran Talat Hussain, the ravishing Zeba Bakhtiar to cricketer-turned-actor Mohsin Hassan Khan and more recently, Moammar Rana, Meera, Humayun Saeed, Sana, Veena Malik, Sara Loren, Ali Zafar, Humaima Malick, Fawad Khan and Imran Abbas. Not to forget, Salman Shahid, Abid Ali and Javed Sheikh for their portrayal of important characters in quite a few films. Mikaal Zulfiqar and Rasheed Naz also have central roles in Akshay Kumar’s upcoming film Baby.

So, what is unique about Mahira’s Bollywood debut? To begin with, Mahira is debuting in a film with Shah Rukh Khan. Aside from the fact that Shah Rukh is the undisputed king of Bollywood and a global icon, what this means is that there are certain predictions we can make about Raees’ box office collections with a considerable amount of certainty. And in a day and age where films are categorised not as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but as ‘200-crore’ (INR2 billion) and now, thanks to PK, ‘300-crore’ (INR3 billion) films, box office collections are all you need to prove your mettle.

Therefore, it is not surprising that Humaima Malick seems to have disappeared after her film Raja Natwarlal’s disastrous run at the box office. The lifetime box office collection of her film, starring Emraan Hashmi, which received only negative reviews, stands at around INR270 million. Ali Zafar’s much-hyped Kill Dil, co-starring Govinda, Ranveer Singh and Parineeti Chopra, received mixed reviews and made just slightly more – INR320 million.

To keep matters simple, let’s stick to the money these films made at the Indian box office only. Imran Abbas’ debut film with Bipasha Basu also received negative reviews and made around INR200 million. Fawad Khan’s Khoobsurat, starring Sonam Kapoor, was a hit. But in spite of the mostly positive reviews, the film was able to make barely INR250 million.

Mahira’s co-star Shah Rukh Khan’s last film Happy New Year received mixed reviews and made INR450 million – on it’s opening day. The thing with Shah Rukh is that his movies only get either mixed reviews or good reviews. There are no bad reviews. Before Happy New Year, he appeared in Chennai Express, which received mostly positive reviews. Chennai Express‘ lifetime collection is around INR2.3 billion.

That’s the kind of pull Shah Rukh has at the box office. Compare the first day collections of any of his movies with Bollywood films starring Pakistani actors or actresses and you will find his films make more money on the first day compared to the lifetime collection of movies starring Pakistani artists. Happy New Year’s total collection stands at INR2.03 billion.

Add to that Shah Rukh Khan’s international appeal. His fans are scattered around the world — from Germany to Morocco, Indonesia to Peru — giving his co-stars the unique opportunity to reach out to a truly global audience.

So, one thing is for certain: Mahira’s debut film will make more money than any other Pakistani artist’s Bollywood film ever has. And that her film will get a big international release. But to say Mahira’s fate is sealed only because her co-star happens to be one of the biggest superstars in the world is doing injustice to the supremely-talented actress. After all, she isn’t the first Pakistani artist to work with Shah Rukh. Javed Sheikh played Shah Rukh’s father in Om Shanti Om, which probably helped him secure a role as Salman Khan’s father in Yuvvraaj the next year. But despite his appearances in such big films, Sheikh was unable to firmly establish his place in the Hindi film industry.

Mahira is no ordinary Pakistani artist making a run-of-the-mill Bollywood debut. She is a superstar who has already found a place in the hearts of the Indian audience thanks to Humsafar’s special telecast in India. And if Fawad Khan’s Bollywood debut is any indication, we can predict with utmost certainty that a large number of people in Pakistan as well as India simply cannot wait to watch her on the big screen again.

The film itself is being produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, who have given hits like Dil Chahta Hai, the remake of Don, Rock On!!, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Talaash and more.

The world’s most popular actor as her co-star, brilliant producers, a strong fanbase in Pakistan as well as India and loads of talent — all of Mahira’s predecessors who ventured into Bollywood had either one or two of these things. She has them all. In fact, she has more. Recently when asked what edge Pakistani actors have over their Indian contemporaries Mahira replied, “None. Only a good actor has an edge over a weak actor. A hardworking actor has an edge over a lazy actor. Nationality has nothing to do with it.” Proving further, she has the right attitude as well.

All she needs is a tiny bit of luck.

The writer’s twitter handle is @hassanchoudary

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Reader Comments (14)

  • AK
    Jan 19, 2015 - 7:17PM

    Very honest review. !!! But you missed a very important fact, in Khan’s movies, you’ll never be able to prove your worth, no matter who is the co-actress, these films are guaranteed to make billions.


  • Jan 19, 2015 - 8:17PM

    Disagreed. One good example is deepika padokone on her debute opposit SRK due to her nice performance that shd be followed by Mahira khan.


  • sara
    Jan 19, 2015 - 8:30PM

    well a very accurate review ,mahira shall be by far the best pakistani debutant in bollywood,the very fact of her being taken as the main female lead opposite srk speaks volume of her talent and stature of acting.Her fans r confident about the fact that she would make them proud with her performance as she always has and maintain her dignity as well.she has proved that she has standards everywhere and when ever she jumps into roles she makes sure that they r remembered and are dignified .best of luck 4 her movie and hope she makes us proud once again.


  • salman
    Jan 19, 2015 - 9:31PM

    Until and unless she cannot dance like the other bollywood actresses, she won’t be making her mark after just a film or two. She needs to learn dance asap else we know that she can act.


  • Yo2Da2
    Jan 19, 2015 - 9:57PM

    Here’s wishing Mahira the best! Her success in this venture with SRK may very well have spillover effects in other areas of the two neighbors. .


  • Rand Mohammed
    Jan 20, 2015 - 12:35AM

    Mahira khan is so beautiful and talented Recommend

  • Ikram
    Jan 20, 2015 - 3:07AM

    In Bollywood we usually see that directors set Pakistani girl and Indian boy in script movie go rocking I.e Ek That Tiger..
    But this time cast is original… So let’s see, but my predictions are movie will be superhit… Maybe Indians felt bunny bunny to Pakistani actress with Khan for the very first time.
    All the best Mahira and SRK.


  • Abdulrahman
    Jan 20, 2015 - 9:23AM

    Wonderful article & RAEES all time blockbuster for sure. And Mahira Khan will be next Shilpa Shetty, Preity Zinta, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma …. etc.

    All the best.


  • Syed. Ali.
    Jan 20, 2015 - 9:38AM

    We wish success of upcoming film of Mahira Khan, apart from cast having Shahrukh Khan who is one of senior most & peak of his career. It must be a happy moment for Mahira Khan to work with a super star. Besides this, the audience wish to see a good story & acting & production values. Box office collections does not mean that film will be good, PK was an average sci-fi comedy but scored a fortune, so what is needed is a good film which one expects from great Shahrukh Khan.


  • wahid
    Jan 20, 2015 - 9:52AM

    but she looks so arrogant…….fawad is best


  • Rahul
    Jan 20, 2015 - 6:12PM

    The main problem I see with Mahira Khan’s debut is that she will be 33 when Raees is released. Most Bollywood heroines retire by the time they are 34. Bollywood expects its heroines to do item numbers and then play the innocent girlfriend and helpless victim by turns. Can a middle aged woman manage all these?


  • Dabang
    Jan 23, 2015 - 12:37PM

    Agree with author, it is now or never for Maheera!


  • sara
    Mar 8, 2015 - 8:10AM

    The innocence that she exudes makes her look like she is 23 or 24. In my opinion, very few bollywood actresses have it, even though they may be years younger.Recommend

  • Uzma
    Apr 11, 2015 - 5:07AM

    @Rahul,you seem to be so jealous. She is not middle aged yet and you made her a middle aged woman? She is just 32 and very young and far younger than Shah Rukh Khan. You can’t portray a 19 years old girl as a wife or girlfriend of a 50 years old man.
    You need to get a life.Recommend

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