Ever since the underperformed Zero back in 2018, Shah Rukh Khan has gone two years without a movie release, a first for the superstar. And by the looks of it, it will be now three years that we will not be having an SRK release where he is the lead, with Pathan touted to come out in 2022. We all know and have read about his big-budget, Pathan, a spy thriller that is directed by Siddharth Anand of Bang Bang and War fame. We have been getting a lot of updates on the film, from its cast to its shooting locations to even its release, And yet, Pathan remains curiously unannounced, with its actors and even the production house, Yash Raj Films, mysteriously mum about it. Pathan: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham's Film To Release In 2022!

So on paper, Pathan is a film that officially just doesn't exist, because for a movie to exist officially in business, it HAS to be announced by either the production house or its lead stars. Yet, the only 'official' update that came out was from Salman Khan, who is believed to have an extended cameo in the film.

The funny part is that no one believes that Salman was prompted to do so by the producers of Pathan. Knowing the superstar's flippant nature, the 'reveal' that he will be shooting for Pathan soon is more like a gaffe rather than a deliberate decision. If that's the case, then YRF would have been pissed about it, but how can they confront one of Bollywood's biggest superstars on this? Especially when he is about to give them a huge hit ahead with Tiger 3!

Shah Rukh Khan, who likes to attach grandiose with every project he is associated with, might also be planning to announce Pathan in a similar way. But is he already late about it? And when is he planning to do so? There were reports that the film would be announced during YRF's 50th anniversary date, which has now come and gone. And I don't think King Khan would want Pathan to be clubbed with other YRF announcements.

And yet without an official announcement, we know a lot about Pathan by now. Or we think we know. We 'know' that Pathan would reunite SRK with Deepika Padukone, while John Abraham is reportedly playing the main antagonist. We 'know' that it is a spy thriller made on a huge budget and being shot in several locations, including Dubai. We 'know' that SRK is having a new look for the film that he is trying his best to hide from paparazzi and fans, and still got leaked. We 'know' that Pathan is going to be part of a 'spy-verse', where Ek Tha Tiger/Tiger Zinda Hai and War exist. As part of this 'spy-verse', Salman would be reprising his role of Tiger in Pathan. We 'know' that a major action sequence will be shot in Dubai's famous landmark Burj Al-Khalifa, the second one to be done so after Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol's stunt sequence. Pathan: Shah Rukh Khan Spotted Shooting for High Octane Action Scenes in Dubai.

The point is we 'know' so much about a movie that hasn't been officially announced yet! When YRF announced the release dates of its films of 2021, Pathan, which reportedly was supposed to come out on Diwali 2021, was not in the list! When the noise for the film's release date announcement by the fans became louder, the makers chose to make the announcement throughout trade analyst Taran Adarsh, instead of doing so themselves!

We spoke to Girish Johar, Trade Expert and Film Producer, to know his thoughts on the whole Pathan matter. He, first of all, dissed the idea that Pathan's release date was pushed from 2021 to 2022, accommodate Akshay Kumar's Prithviraj on Diwali. He said, "They never announced 2021 in the first place, so the question of pushing it to 2022 doesn't arise." When asked if Pathan never went for another holiday date this year because all the slots are booked, he denied that possibility, saying, "No, I don't think so. They could have easily slotted it on any date. SRK still has a strong pull at the box office."

Interestingly, Shah Rukh Khan in his New Year-wishing video had said that he would see us on the big screen this year.

Now that Pathan is coming out in 2022, it looks like all we might be having on the big screen are his cameos in Brahmastra and Rocketry: The Nambi Effect.

Speaking on the whole (not so )secrecy around Pathan, Johar added, "It could be the way they are perceiving the film. They have only confirmed that the film will release in 2022 and not even the cast. Each film has its own strategy to market or mount it. These leaks have intrigued people, that's why we are talking about them. So I think their ploy is to build intrigue till the film is complete. When the time is right, they might make it official. It is a big film and I am sure they have certain plans up their sleeves." Makes sense...

So when is the right time for either Khan, Deepika, John or YRF to come out and officially make their film canon in Bollywood? Especially now that even Salman has spoken about it. The entire industry and fandom are eagerly waiting for that to happen!

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 22, 2021 03:44 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).