Mohabbatein vs Mission Kashmir
Date: October 27, 2000
Five years after delivering his debut blockbuster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, director Aditya Chopra returned with not only Shah Rukh Khan but also other big names like Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. Mohabbatein, which told the story of love lost, found and lost across generations may have not had the zing of DDLJ, but it did have star power and a story that explored the various facets of love.
But Mohabbatein didn’t have a straight-up smooth ride in theatres, all thanks to Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Mission Kashmir, which decided to release on the same day. Hrithik Roshan, already a heartthrob after his debut film Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, starred in this human drama with Sanjay Dutt and Preity Zinta. Though Mission Kashmir did find its takers, SRK (with that iconic image of him playing the violin dominating every memory of the film) and gang Mohabbatein surged ahead, becoming the biggest Bollywood hit of the year.
Veer Zaara vs Aitraaz
Date: November 12, 2004
Yash Chopra’s emotional cross-border story was released on the same day as Abbas-Mustan’s masala remake of the Hollywood film Disclosure. Veer-Zaara, with its poignant love story, a winner of a soundtrack, a vintage Shah Rukh and his searing chemistry with Preity Zinta, was the top choice for movie-goers, with Akshay Kumar-Kareena Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra’s Aitraaz coming a distant second. Veer-Zaara was the highest-grosser of the year.
Don vs Jaan-E-Mann
Date: October 20, 2006
This fight-to-the-finish had SRK racing ahead by a mile and much more. Farhan Akhtar’s reboot of Amitabh Bachchan’s Don saw the Bollywood Badshah slip into the shoes of the suave gangster. Don came in with a lot of hype but also had to contend with competition from big stars like Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar in Jaan-E-Mann, directed by debutant Shirish Kunder.
While the merits of Jaan-E-Mann are acknowledged today, on release, its seemingly ‘bizarre’ style and substance didn’t find many takers, and the film was a commercial failure. Don, on the other hand, was a bonafide hit, grossing over Rs 100 crore at the box office.
Om Shanti Om vs Saawariya
Date: November 9, 2007
This was the mother of all clashes, not only because of SRK but also because it was pitting two promising stars-in-the-making (Ranbir Kapoor in Saawariya and Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om) against each other. The masala madness of Om Shanti Om, with SRK and Farah Khan reliving good ol’ Bolly nostalgia, proved to be too formidable for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s blue-hued story of young romance in Saawariya. Team SRK won once again, with OSO bringing in more than Rs 150 crore. Saawariya flopped.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan vs Son of Sardaar
Date: November 13, 2012
This was a clash that got ugly. Jab Tak Hai Jaan, starring Shah Rukh, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, was not only the bigger film, it also brought in a strong emotional connection, being director Yash Chopra’s last film, released posthumously after his death. A war of words erupted between Ajay Devgn, who announced the release of his Son of Sardaar on the same date, and Yash Raj Films, with requests to Devgn to postpone his film falling on deaf ears. Jab Tak Hai Jaan organised a huge premiere, with all of Yash Chopra’s leading ladies from his films present, except Kajol, Devgn’s wife.
On release, Jab Tak Hai Jaan collected a whopping Rs 230 crore worldwide, but even Son of Sardaar had its takers and brought in a neat Rs 150 crore. The standoff remained for a few years and then resolved itself.
Raees vs Kaabil
Date: January 25, 2017
Shah Rukh’s turn as a bootlegger-turned-don in Raees was up against Hrithik Roshan’s revenge drama on the same Republic Day weekend. King Khan, as expected, went into overdrive with his marketing strategy, ensuring that Raees grabbed more eyeballs than Kaabil. In the end, both films found an audience, but SRK’s magic ensured that Raees had the bigger numbers.
Dilwale vs Bajirao Mastani
Date: December 18, 2015
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, undeterred by the Saawariya fiasco, went up against Dilwale on the same Friday... and had the last laugh. While Dilwale, which brought SRK and Kajol together, was directed by hit machine Rohit Shetty and also boasted young stars in Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon, was the undisputed favourite, it was Bajirao Mastani (Bhansali had a dream cast in Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra) that proved to be the dark horse, winning over both cine-goers and critics after release. Dilwale turned out to be a dismal film, but the hyped-up pre-release publicity and SRK’s strong overseas market helped it to recover to some extent. But Bajirao Mastani was the clear winner here.