Atlee, the renowned filmmaker, is currently bathing in the radiant glow of the historic success of his latest masterpiece, “Jawan,” starring the charismatic Shah Rukh Khan. This cinematic gem is poised to soar beyond the colossal ₹1,000-crore mark at the global box office, marking an unprecedented triumph in the world of cinema. As Atlee’s fifth directorial venture, “Jawan” also serves as his dazzling directorial debut in the realm of Bollywood, achieving a remarkable milestone by amassing ₹907.54 crore within a mere two weeks of its theatrical release.
The journey leading up to this momentous achievement is not only a testament to Atlee’s directorial prowess but also a captivating tale of collaboration and ambition. Atlee recently reminisced about the reaction of his longtime collaborator and iconic actor, “Thalapathy” Vijay, upon learning of Shah Rukh Khan’s keen interest in working with the young director on a cinematic endeavor.
Describing the moment when the Badshah of Bollywood expressed his desire to collaborate, Atlee, like any other director, perceived it as a rare and momentous opportunity. Without hesitation, he embraced this cinematic challenge with open arms. When he conveyed this exciting news to Vijay, the response was nothing short of enthusiastic. Vijay wholeheartedly endorsed the venture, urging Atlee to pour his heart and soul into it. “Give your life to it,” Vijay exclaimed, a testament to the unwavering support and camaraderie that defines their collaboration.
In an exclusive conversation with The Indian Express, Atlee offered valuable insights into his approach to directing Shah Rukh Khan, an actor of legendary stature. He revealed his unique method, stating, “I just read the actor before I direct them. So, I became their fan, and that way, I read the fans’ pulse also.” This approach allowed Atlee to not only understand the essence of Shah Rukh Khan’s stardom but also to align it with the expectations of his ardent fanbase.
When analyzing “Jawan” as a cinematic thesis, Atlee emphasized that it embodies the perfect blend of familiarity and innovation. He observed, “So, I became their fan, and that way, I read the fans’ pulse also. If you read ‘Jawan’ as a thesis, apart from being a film lover, you see how whatever the fans expect from Shah Rukh sir is there in ‘Jawan,’ and whatever he’s not seen doing in the last thirty years is also there. So, ‘Jawan’ is the combination of newness and the minimum ‘guarantee’ of the fans’ pulse.”
Directing a legendary figure like Shah Rukh Khan may seem like a daunting task, but for Atlee, it was a seamless journey fueled by his unwavering admiration for the star. He affirmed, “It was very easy for me as a fan to direct the star; it was not that difficult. I have been a fan, but I’ve always had the right balance when I was in front of the monitor to direct Khan sir, and we are seeing the result.” Atlee’s ability to strike this balance has borne fruit in the form of “Jawan,” a film that has garnered adoration from over 90% of the global audience, solidifying Shah Rukh Khan’s position as a beloved icon.
Reflecting on the astounding success of “Jawan,” Atlee expressed his profound gratitude, acknowledging both the divine and the audience for this exceptional achievement. He remarked, “I am very happy, and I thank God and the audience, but I feel the same as an individual. I can read the responsibility now. More than taking the success home, I am taking the responsibility home with me.”
As “Jawan” continues its triumphant journey towards the coveted ₹1,000-crore milestone, Atlee’s directorial debut in Bollywood stands as a testament to the magic that unfolds when visionaries collaborate, pushing the boundaries of cinematic excellence. The legacy of “Jawan” will undoubtedly endure as a shining star in the cinematic galaxy, forever etching the names of Atlee and Shah Rukh Khan in the annals of cinematic history.