Pathaan has opened to phenomenal numbers as expected. The magic of Shah Rukh Khan is working and how. Of course, celebrations are in order for Akash Bhatija, who stands out from the film’s fine ensemble. Sharing most of his screen space with SRK himself, Deepika Padukone in the climax, and Dimple Kapadia, Bathija shines in his role.
Speaking about his experience of working with SRK, who returns to the silver screen after his 4-year hiatus, the actor says, “Right before the first day of shoot with SRK sir, in my head, I was rehearsing things that I could say to him. But on the day of the shoot, when he entered with his entourage, I was just left dumbfounded. Within seconds he was the first one to reach out, shake my hand and give me a hug. Im pretty sure he must be used to such an interaction cause people, especially big fans usually end up with their jaws dropping when they see him. His aura radiates such charm and positivity.”
Longevity in movies comes from enthusiasm, Bathija has deduced after working with SRK. He adds, “As the shoot progressed, we all realised that we weren’t really shooting with SRK sir, we were shooting with a 21-year-old boy, who has the enthusiasm of an actor doing his first film! He was as pumped about the last shot of the day as much as the first.”
King Khan’s warmth is his signature and Bathija is just glad to have experienced it. Raving about how humble he is, the actor says, “Whether it was the action sequences or just dialogues. He made sure you are comfortable. He treated us with the same warmth and respect as he treated a senior actor like Dimple Kapadia Ji. We used to make a joke on set - “humein lagta hai ki Shah sir ko khud hi nahin pata hai ki woh Shah sir hain". His humility astonished us. He’s too chill to be SRK.”
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