Shah Rukh Khan has played a double role in many films with Don remembered till date and Fan been rejected by the audience. However 22 years back he had worked in a film where he played a hero as well as a villain in a double role act, and still it was a flop at the box office. It had action, comedy, romance, music, emotions, just about every masala, and moreover it was a polished piece of work as well with innovative VFX at play that enhanced the double role look and feel. Still, audiences didn’t give it a thumbs up.
The film in question was Shah Rukh Khan’s Duplicate and it had some of the best in the business coming together, what with director Magesh Bhatt holding the baton for a Dharma Production.
It is still baffling that why did the film not quite cover the distance as Shah Rukh Khan was at the top of the game, promo created good curiosity while the songs were hit too before release (Mere Mehboob Mere Sanam, Kathai Aankhon Wali, Wah Ji Wah, Ek Shararat Hone Ko Hai). Juhi Chawla and Sonali Bendre lent sugar and spice to the proceedings which kept the masses happy.
Moreover, even though multiplexes were yet to open up, this Shah Rukh Khan film had a very multiplex feel to it with a glossy look and classy appeal. As a matter of fact the film didn’t quite seem like a Mahesh Bhatt entertainer as the veteran filmmaker was known more for his rooted dramas with a gritty narrative and this one was more of a feel good entertainer.
One thing that perhaps went against Shah Rukh Khan’s Duplicate was its cost of making. It was made at a budget of 10 crores, a princely sum back in 1998, and hence needed to accumulate at least double to recover its costs. However, its box office returns were a little under 10 crores, due to which the flop tag came calling. Even though it was one of the highest grossers of the year, the ROI wasn’t there and hence it failed.
What it did though was forge a good partnership between Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar. The duo connected well on the sets of the film and went on to make Kuch Kuch Hota Hai together. Released a few months down the line in October, it not just wiped off the deficit caused by Duplicate but went on to add huge moolah to Dharma coffers by emerging as a major blockbuster that remains popular till date.