A classroom full of MBA aspirants and a young teacher who is striving hard to hold their attention. And in comes Shahrukh Khan, flying to the rescue! No, this is not a cheesy scene that was chopped off from Ra.One but a real-life scenario (well, figuratively!) that prompted the birth of Power of a Common Man by Koral Dasgupta.
This is a flashback to a day about two years ago when Dasgupta was trying to engage her MBA students in a conversation about the success of brands such as Nestlé and Nirma, but instead she let the discussion take a cinematic turn. The next few hours were spent on decoding why the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Don was remade with Sharukh Khan in it and the reasons behind casting Arjun Rampal as the modern-day Pran rather than the more obvious choices—Anupam Kher or Paresh Rawal. Flash-forward and you find Dasgupta’s students eagerly waiting to get their hands on this book, slated to be launched tomorrow.
The discussion with the young excited minds triggered a new thought in Dasgupta, and the idea of a book about Shahrukh Khan’s brand pull slowly took shape in her mind. Dasgupta says, “Even when I first started the series of discussions in class, I took down notes to prepare better for the next semester. I did not think my daily class-end scribbles would come handy for my book.”
On asking Dasgupta about her inspiration and choice of star, pat comes the reply, “I have been a Sharukh Khan loyalist for years now. Bunking school to catch several shows of Pardes was probably the simplest thing I did to enjoy seeing SRK on the big screen. I, once, jumped over the hostel gate in Lucknow to dig out a life-sized poster of SRK that had been stuck on a wall. I had crushes on several actors during my growing up years, but none were able to outlive my fascination for SRK.”
Channelising passion towards education
While Dasgupta was in the midst of writing this book, Chennai Express hit the big screens. While she herself caught the movie in the theatre, she was amazed that notwithstanding the terrible reviews it received, the movie ran to packed houses. Dasgupta says, “Several of my friends went to watch the movie in spite of the negative reviews they read and the terrible feedback they got. It is this charisma that makes SRK such a larger than life personality.”
Merging the man and the brand
Dasgupta points out, “Any story about SRK, in all these years, has never been about him alone. His wife, kids, and comfortable home—all are a part of his persona. That is how he has built it and maintains it. All of them have gradually become brands in themselves. It is this complete package that he brings to the brands he endorses.” Dasgupta’s authority about these facts comes from years of poring over newspaper articles that have been written about the Badshah of Bollywood. That she is a complete movie buff only aided the amalgamation of her understanding of movies with her marketing insights to present this innovative case-study.