One Of Pathaan's Funniest Lines Was Improvised On The Spot 

Before the release of "Pathaan" this year, the last project Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan (lovingly dubbed as SRK) starred in was 2018's "Zero," which performed poorly at the box office. Despite boasting phenomenal performances, "Zero" failed to captivate audiences due to its meandering plot that lost steam halfway through. SRK took a four-year hiatus after this (barring a surprise cameo in "Brahmāstra: Part One — Shiva"), fueling added anticipation for his comeback film, "Pathaan," which grossed $6.8 million on its opening weekend alone when released in North American theaters. While the film's global box office earnings since its release speak for themselves, what makes audiences revisit "Pathaan" time and again is SRK's return to the big screen, and how electrifying it feels to see him perform in an action-intensive role.

In "Pathaan," SRK plays the titular spy, who is effortlessly suave in the way he goes about his job, taking down baddies with style while jumping off high-rises just for the heck of it. While the film's core narrative is pretty serious (a terrorist plan to destroy India must be stopped before time runs out), "Pathaan" has its fair share of humorous moments, especially when SRK features in a scene. After all, SRK is no stranger to belting out comedic performances — his "Chamatkar" and "Duplicate" are lauded for his ability to be effortlessly funny — and the actor channels this aspect into certain scenes in "Pathaan," including a memorable phrase that SRK seems to have improvised on the spot.

King of improv

Speaking to Film Companion, "Pathaan" director Siddharth Anand talked about how actors are often "very bad dialogue writers," but SRK has a gift for improvising one-liners that end up being adored by audiences, and the same was the case with the "Boobles" joke in the film (a play on the Russian currency, Rubles). Anand explained that SRK's ability to be "tongue-in-cheek" was reflected in some of the improvisations he came up with on set:

"Shah Rukh Khan is great at one-liners; he's very tongue in cheek, as you know. So, I must say, the 'boobles' line is his. [...] So he came and said, 'Can I do this?' I laughed, I said, 'Now that I've laughed, let's do it. But, let's do an alternative also' [...] A line like 'boobles' I cringe and die at because it's so not me [laughs] but people seem to find it funny."

Apart from improvised lines, one of SRK's many appeals lies in the way he chooses to deliver certain dialogue, immediately making them memorable enough to be quoted incessantly by casual moviegoers. "Pathaan" screenwriter Abbas Tyrewala spoke to Hindustan Times about SRK's ability to ground even the most outlandish of scenarios with his screen presence and dialogue delivery, allowing blockbuster superstars like him to "get away with a degree of over-the-top flamboyance because they have the personalities that can carry it off."

This is also the case when it comes to the larger-than-life character he plays in "Pathaan," whom SRK helps to make feel believable with just the right amount of nuance. After all, any Shah Rukh Khan film that allows the actor to demonstrate the incredible range he's capable of is bound to be a memorable one.

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