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Team of Industrial Engineers


Pathaan: 5 lessons on the Indian Consumer

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Pathaan has been a blockbuster hit appealing to a wide range of audiences. Beyond the mass appeal of the film and it’s actors, there are some interesting lessons to take away for marketers and businesses alike. As human and culture experts we decode some insights into the aspirations of Indians today, as well new learnings for businesses.

Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, consumer, consumer Insights, Pathaan

Pathaan: 5 lessons on the Indian Consumer

  1. Show over Tell

Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan, consumer, India

Each scene in the film seems crafted to perfection- high glamour codes, tanned bodies & stunning locales. It’s like the cover of a magazine – a visual treat in itself.

  • We are an ‘Insta’ generation, taking the perfect photos before we enjoy the gathering.

  • Having lost the patience to read books we rely on book summaries on a few slides/ YouTube videos or TedTalks

  • Being fit and looking good is a non-negotiable for men and women equally.

As a marketer, does your business have a strong visual identity? Is your communication visual enough to grab attention?

2. Machismo Decoded

Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan, consumer, India, masculine

Beyond the personal style of SRK, 3 core values defined this modern male: ​

  • Confidence to laugh at himself even as the action hero

  • Calculated risk taker who is anchored in purpose and humane values

  • Collaborative- the famous Salman cameo was the meeting of equals, camaraderie and partnership to win the bigger race.

Compared to earlier when job stability was coveted, the rise of a new generation of techpreneurs; the availability of multiple avenues to showcase talent and the success of the start-ups has opened up our risk appetite and made us dream bigger. We now live in an ecosystem where collaboration in this specialist-based, fast-paced world is seen as crucial.

Is your brand or business embracing these values? Are you leading or trailing the change it implies in your category? Are you still stuck in a competitor mindset?

3. The Arrival of the Diva

Pathaan, Deepika Padukone, consumer, India

Even though she looks glamorous and hip, Deepika Padukone has a strong character who is following her own path and has even outsmarted the hero.

The new feminine role model has arrived and no longer wants to be seen as the damsel in distress.

Last year Cadbury leveraged this insight in the remake of its iconic ad Khuch khaas hain remake with its #Goodluckgirls campaign.

4. First amongst Equals

Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, consumer, India

John Abraham was shown to be talented, smart, and well equipped – but just pursuing a shallower limited self vs a greater purpose.

Are we perhaps accepting as a society that –

  • With the right passion and vision guiding us, a worthy competitor makes us better?

  • We are moving from a competition-focused era to an idea-first era?

  • Of playing your own game well versus worrying about the others?

5. India: The World is my Stage

make in India, India, Consumer

The scale and style of Pathaan is no less than any Hollywood production catering to the evolved expectations of the discerning global content, reel oriented audience. It speaks to how India has arrived at the world stage

From a generation which looked up to NRIs as the ultimate in the 90’s Pathan does well in showcasing a world where Indians play at a global stage and Made in India is a tag to be proud of. Are we celebrating and leveraging the new identity where we are confident of our place in the world?



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