Will Rohit Shetty's midas touch work for Shah Rukh Khan?

By HT

Shah Rukh Khan is a brand to reckon with. King khan is the baadshah of romance in Bollywood. But can you remember one out-and-out comic caper which set records? No, right?. That’s because he hasn’t done very many out-and-out comedy films.

It’s not as if he hasn’t tried his hand at the genre. Films like Chamatkar (1992), Yes Boss (1997), Duplicate (1998), Baadshah (1999) and Ra.One (2011) had shades of funny in the characterization.

And then there’s director Rohit Shetty who has delivered five consecutive hits in the genre — Golmaal (2006), Golmaal Returns (2008), Golmaal 3 (2010), All The Best (2009) and Bol Bachchan (2012). He is the anointed king of comedy when it comes to raking moolah at the ticket window.

Now Rohit’s next comic caper Chennai Express is ready for release next month (August 8). With king Khan in the lead, will the film carry forward Rohit’s legacy? We explore past records of both Rohit and SRK.

About working with SRK, Rohit told Priyanka Jain of Hindustan Times last year, “I was in talks to remake Gulzar’s Angoor (1982) for UTV then,” says Rohit. “They asked me who I’d like to cast, I said SRK.”

Shah Rukh, too, was eager to work with the director. After UTV Productions arranged a meeting with SRK, the actor told Rohit, “I want to make a film with you.” Though the actor agreed to work in Angoor, once the script was ready, Rohit felt it was too small a project for them to collaborate on and said so. “I thought that would be my last meeting with him. But he was okay.”

ChennaiInterestingly, the actor said that he would do any film the director felt comfortable with. “I narrated Chennai Express to him the next day and he offered to produce the film,” Rohit says.

Except for his first directorial venture Zameen, most of Rohit’s films have made decent earnings. Zameen (2003) has a lifetime collection of around Rs. 10 crore. But time would prove it an exception.

The director began his success journey with Golmaal, which is now a cult comedy. Made on an estimated budget of Rs. 15 crore, Golmaal Fun Unlimited earned around Rs. 29 crore and the sequel Golmaal Returns collected over Rs. 51.6 crore. The third in Golmaal series - Golmaal 3 – was Rohit’s first entry to the Rs. 100-crore-club.

Before Golmaal 3, Rohit directed Sunday. Produced on a budget of Rs. 25 crore, the film averaged Rs. 21 crore on box offices. Rohit also brought All The Best, a movie starring Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu and Fardeen Khan apart from his favourite Ajay Devgn in the film that has collected around Rs. 41 crore.

In last three years, Rohit Shetty has made it to the Rs. 100-crore-club thrice with Golmaal 3, Singham and Bol Bachchan. Rohit’s last venture Bol Bachchan grossed over Rs. 100 crore, making him one of the best earning directors in the industry. Though Singham was more of an action movie than a comic one, it still had streaks of Rohit’s signature comic style with flying cars and the villain displaying his satirical side.

On the other hand, king Khan has not impressed the box office with his attempts at comedy.

Shah Rukh Khan’s comic ventures, namely – Duplicate (1995) and Zamaana Deewana (1998) – did not work at the box office. Only Baadshah (1999) scored better than the others, averaging Rs. 14 crore. While Duplicate earned around Rs. 9.25 crore, Zamaan Deewana grossed Rs. 4.5 crore.

SRK has also attempted comic scenes in films like Chamatkar (1992), Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), Yes Boss (1997), Duplicate (1998), Baadshah (1999), Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000) and Ra.One (2011), Main Hoon Na (2004) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008).

In Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, SRK performs some comic scenes where he plays the innocent guy who wants to woo the leading lady. He is cute at best in these scenes.

The King Khan excels in perfectly executing the roles of the funny guy who woos with ease. However, he has not played a totally comic role. Chennai Express will be his first comedy, albeit Rohit Shetty style - action-packed-comedy.

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