This year has been particularly bad for superstar Shah Rukh Khan. His film Raees was an underperformer but still was a 100-crore grosser. But his second release Jab Harry Met Sejal bombed badly at the box office. Directed by Imtiaz Ali, this romantic comedy was seen as too niche. Also, the emotional quotient was weak, the chemistry between SRK and Anushka Sharma was anything but special and even the songs failed to make a mark. Audiences completely rejected the film. Shockingly, the film collected just Rs. 64.33 crore at the box office, sending shockwaves in the industry and trade.
Thanks to the extreme underperformance, the distributors who acquired the film at a big price were at a loss of words. Their world came crashing down as everyone expected the film to at least cross the 100-crore-mark, even in a worst case scenario. The biggest loss maker out here was NH Studioz. It had acquired the all India rights of Jab Harry Met Sejal for Rs. 80 crores. Just around a month before the release of this film, another biggie Tubelight, starring Salman Khan, had failed at the box office. Post this debacle, no distributor was willing to shell out fancy prices for Jab Harry Met Sejal. Narendra Hirawat of NH Studioz had to shockingly undersell the territorial rights of Jab Harry Met Sejal, thereby making a loss for himself. The performance of Jab Harry Met Sejal at the box office was so disastrous that even the distributors who bought the rights of the film at lower prices lost a big chunk of their investment.
Salman Khan had refunded distributors after the debacle of Tubelight. Hence, when Jab Harry Met Sejal began to crash, distributors sent SOS message to Shah Rukh Khan, asking him to follow Salman Khan’s steps. They asked for a refund for the backbreaking losses since Shah Rukh Khan had made good profits from the pre-sale of All India Rights to NH Studioz, satellite, music and digital rights. In the past, Shah Rukh Khan had compensated distributors of his 2015 film Dilwale when they had incurred losses. Readers may recall that Shah Rukh had refunded close to Rs. 25 crores to cover up 50% loss to distributors of Dilwale. Back in 2001 and 2005, Shah Rukh Khan had refunded the individual distributors of his films Asoka (Eros) and Paheli (UTV), after both films underperformed at the box office. As a direct result of Asoka underperforming at the box office, Shah Rukh’s subsequent release Chalte Chalte was sold for a much lower price. On similar lines after the failure of Paheli, distributors of Shah Rukh’s next venture Om Shanti Om were given first right of refusal to acquire the film.
Although Shah Rukh Khan was not legally bound to refund monies in the case of Jab Harry Met Sejal, the superstar decided to compensate distributors since the losses were really huge. It has come to light that he compensated 15% of losses of NH Studioz. To certain distributors, he compensated 30% of the losses incurred. The team of Shah Rukh Khan analysed the case of each distributor separately.
Interestingly, the money refunded by Shah Rukh Khan is less than what Salman Khan refunded for Tubelight. But SRK has proved that he has a large heart like Salman Khan