A humanoid alien (Aamir Khan) lands on Earth naked on a research mission in Rajasthan, but is stranded when the remote control of his spaceship is stolen. He manages to get the thief's cassette recorder, a Panasonic RQ-565D. On the same day in Bruges, Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) meets Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh Rajput) and falls in love with him. Jaggu's father (Parikshit Sahni) objects to their relationship because Sarfaraz is a Pakistani Muslim, while Jaggu is an Indian Hindu. He consults godman Tapasvi Maharaj (Saurabh Shukla) who predicts that Sarfaraz will betray Jaggu. Determined to prove them wrong, Jaggu proposes to Sarfaraz, who accepts. She is heartbroken at the wedding chapel when she receives a letter calling off the marriage due to their cultural differences.
Jaggu returns to India and becomes a TV reporter. She meets the alien and is intrigued to see him distribute leaflets about the "missing" Gods. She saves him when he attempts to take money from a collection box, earning his trust.
The alien tells her that he is a research scientist from another planet. His people know nothing about dressing, religion or verbal communication. They transfer ideas by holding hands. The alien learned to fit in among humans by wearing clothes and using money stolen from "dancing cars".
In the flashback, after being accidentally hit by a truck, the alien is befriended by bandmaster Bhairon Singh (Sanjay Dutt), who takes him along with his troop. The alien attempts to learn to communicate by grabbing peoples' hands but people chase him away, believing him to be a pervert. Bhairon takes him to a brothel, where the alien holds a prostitute's (Reema Debnath) hand for six hours and thus learns the Bhojpuri language.
Bhairon has a conversation with the alien, and suggests that the thief may be in Delhi. The alien leaves for Delhi. Due to his strange behavior, people assume he is drunk and call him "PK" (pee-kay, Hindi for "drunk"). People tell him that only "God" can help him find his remote. PK sincerely practices every Indian religion attempting to find "God", to no avail. He later discovers that Tapasvi has his remote, who claims it was a gift from God, and refuses to return the remote. Jaggu promises PK that she will recover his remote and he can go back home.
PK conjectures that Tapasvi and other godmen must be dialling a "wrong number" to communicate with God, and are therefore advising the public to engage in meaningless rituals. Jaggu encourages the public to expose fraudulent godmen, by sending their videos to her news channel. This "wrong number" campaign turns into a popular mass-movement, to the dismay of Tapasvi. Meanwhile, Bhairon finds the thief and contacts PK, telling him that he sold his remote control to Tapasvi, after which PK realises that Tapasvi was actually a fraud all along and that it wasn't a "wrong number". Bhairon then informs him that they will come to Delhi, but both die in a terrorist attack. The terrorist attack is later declared by Tapasvi's group to be stated as protecting their Gods.
Tapasvi decides to confront PK on-air. Tapasvi asks PK what the "right number" is. PK says that "God that created us all" is the only concept people should believe in, and that the other "duplicate Gods" are created by man. Tapasvi argues, saying that PK is trying to take people away from their Gods and that they will not stand for their Gods being taken away from them either. He claims he has a direct connection to God and refers to his prediction of Sarfaraz's betrayal to try to prove that Muslims are liars, but PK disagrees. PK realises that Sarfaraz did not write the letter. The letter was not for Jaggu. She contacts the Pakistani Embassy in Belgium where Sarfaraz worked part-time. The embassy tells her that Sarfaraz still loves her, and transfers the line to Sarfaraz, who is now living in Lahore. Jaggu and Sarfaraz reconnect, and Tapasvi is forced to return PK's remote, while also being exposed to the whole of India that he had planned to break Jaggu and Sarfaraz through his "predictions".
Meanwhile, PK has fallen in love with Jaggu, but refrains from telling her because she loves Sarfaraz. Having filled multiple audio tapes with her voice Alone, he takes two suitcases full of tapes and extra batteries when leaving for home. After his departure, Jaggu publishes a book about him.
One year later, PK returns to Earth on a new research mission on human nature along with several other aliens (including one played by Ranbir Kapoor)
After the success of 3 Idiots, director Rajkumar Hirani and writer Abhijat Joshi started work for next project, they had written a story about a character who had the ability to get into another person’s mind to make that person a better human being. They spent one year to write a story, but it turned out to be similar to Inception. After watching Inception, Hirani and Joshi were shocked by the similarities between the films. Eventually, they decided to scrap the film, then Hirani and Joshi reworked on the script, changing the entire tone and angle. It took five years to make the film and three years to write it.
In the film Khan played nine different avatars and during the course of the film, the actor had to chew over 10,000 betelnut preparations called paan. Betelnut is a psychoactive stimulant used throughout Asia and characterized by its ability to stain users' mouths red. "In real life paan is not a habit, I have it once in a while but for this film I chew paan for every scene. I would at times eat about 100 paans in a day. We had a paanwala [a paan maker] on the sets," said Khan in the report. For every take, Khan had to eat a fresh paan to fill his mouth, also before beginning the shoot he would eat at least 10–15 paans to get the right color inside his mouth and on his lips. Viral Thakkar was the film's visual effects supervisor. The visual effects company was Riva Digital at a point employing 100 artists working on the film.
In 2011, Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma signed on for the film. Khan's nephew Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor were considered for a role which eventually went to Sushant Singh Rajput before the release of his debut movie Kai Po Che. Earlier reports said that Rajkumar Hirani had signed Arshad Warsi for the film when it was reported that Arshad will be playing an important role in the movie. In 2013 Arshad said in an interview "I couldn`t have worked out on dates. I wouldn`t refuse Raju for anything. In fact when he offered me the film, I did not even ask for the script, I was like I am ready to come on whenever you want. So that is the connection I share with Raju,". Before Sushant and Arshad were signed on, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi were said to be cast in the film. Junaid Khan, son of Aamir Khan worked as an assistant director in this film.PK: The titular character was written to be a Chaplinesque, bumbling alien and meant to provide an outside view to the quirks and hypocrisies of the Indian society. To further accentuate the alien look, Khan developed a distinct appearance and mannerisms including wearing green contact lenses and not blinking while talking. Khan also learned Bhojpuri for the role with the help of the language expert Shanti Bhushan. Rajkumar Hirani said in an interview, “When we write a script we usually visualise the characters in the film. How they look, talk and walk. But PK is one such character which was very difficult to visualize. We didn’t have a reference point. PK was one such character, who didn’t have a reference point. A character like him wasn’t there in any book, nor did we meet someone like him in real life. We only knew that we wanted the character to be innocent and child-like. Now the question was, who is that actor who could look like a Child. Someone who is perfect for the role of PK. The answer was obvious – Aamir Khan."Jagat "Jaggu" Janini: PK's friend and confidante, 'Jaggu' is a television news reporter and is instrumental in spreading PK's message. She was envisioned as a fun-loving yet mature and independent woman. The producers wanted a distinct look for Jaggu and ended up trying several options over few days before settling on one. Anushka said in an interview “Raju Sir wanted me to look happy, chirpy and peppy in ‘PK’. Keeping his brief in mind, the team came up with this look,” she also reveals she was not required to cut her hair to get the look. “I have long hair, so hair stylists just wrapped my hair and tucked inside the wig”.Bhairon Singh: Maker's wanted somebody tall and sturdy for the role of Bhairon Singh and that's why Sanjay came in the picture. Vidhu Vinod Chopra reveals, “The character Bhairon Singh is shown to be PK’s good friend. The idea was that since PK is a tiny person, we wanted someone who in contrast is very huge. Such that, when Bhairon hugs PK, it looks funny as the tiny man would go completely unnoticed in Bhairon’s arms.”
In 2011, in its initial scripting stage, Rajkumar Hirani named the film 'Talli' then changed it to 'Ek Tha Talli' which he actually loved it but later on came to know that 'Ek Tha Tiger' was already in production which was released in 2012. So he dropped the idea and after many titles, he came up with a unique title which only had initials, 'PK'. After starting the film, Hirani felt PK was not a good enough title. He decided to change the title to "Talli". But after a few weeks of shooting, Hirani decided to go back to the original title.
Firstpost compared PK to Hirani and Khan's previous collaboration 3 Idiots (2009), as they both involve "A socially awkward and 'different' young man—who walks and talks in a strange, enthusiastic childlike manner—observes the system, questions it, asks you to look at the many ludicrous things that inform it, and eventually brings about a minor revolution."
According to Rajkumar Hirani, PK is a "satire on Hindu god and their godmen". The co-director Khan began looking for shooting locations in July 2012. Second unit filming was set to begin in late 2012, which was stalled after the rumoured departure of three department heads for the film and bad weather stalling initial shoots. Hirani denied rumours that the film would be delayed, stating that principal filming had always been intended to begin in mid-January 2013 in Delhi and Rajasthan to "capture the winter of Delhi". Shooting officially began on 1 February 2013, with the filming scheduled to occur over a 45-day period. A 26-day schedule of shooting of PK started in Delhi from 27 September 2013. When the shoot of the film was going on in Chandni Chowk area of Delhi, an FIR was lodged against makers of the film for allegedly hurting religious sentiments in October 2013. The objection was regarding a scene in the film where a man dressed as the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva pulls the rickshaw with two burqa clad women as passengers.
In July 2014, the makers released a motion poster of the film, revealing the first look. The poster sparked a controversy as it featured Aamir Khan posing almost nude with only a radio cassette recorder covering his genitals. Although the Central Board of Film Certification had already cleared the film, a PIL was filed in the court by the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front to ban its release saying it promoted nudity and vulgarity. The Supreme Court dismissed the plea and gave the film a green signal. A case was lodged against Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani in Rajasthan.
The second motion poster released on 20 August 2014, the poster features Aamir in a red angrakha teamed up with white pyjama and a trumpet in his hand. Aamir said at the launch of second poster "There is a story in each and every image that we reveal. We will have a poster campaign and we will reveal eight to 10 posters till the time the film releases."
The third motion poster released on 15 September 2014, this time maker's launch Sanjay Dutt as Bhairon Singh. In this poster Aamir Khan asks the viewers, "Why are you staring? It's not me. Its my friend—Bhairon Singh." In last poster Aamir who is wearing a "bandwaala" costume, while this time he is seen wearing an oversized police uniform.
The fourth motion poster featuring Anushka Sharma released on 16 October 2014. In the poster first Anushka dressed like Aamir holding a transistor and introducing herself as Jagat Janini after Anushka is seen wearing a plain T-shirt, shorts, & white long dress.
The makers unlock a teaser trailer on 23 October 2014. The teaser achieved 3.4 million views on YouTube within 5 days, subsequently receiving 12 million views and has been regarded most viewed movie trailers on YouTube. The film's teaser was also attached with the film Happy New Year. The makers also released the videos of behind the scenes like making of the movie, characters, songs, PK funnies, PK ki bhasha, dialogue promos & battery recharge dance of Aamir and Anushka on YouTube.
In August the makers find a new promotional strategy to interact with the audiences by introducing talking standees. This is the first time in Bollywood film will be making of a talking standee at varied locations as a part of the film's promotions. The said standee will have Aamir Khan talking to people which will find a prominent place in popular theatres and multiplexes at various cities.
In 7 December 2014, Aamir Khan begun the city tour for promotions with Patna. The character he plays in the film speaks in Bhojpuri which is the main language used for communication in Bihar. Aamir said at the event “I have decided to launch the promotional campaign of my film ‘PK’ from Bihar to connect with the language. My character speaks Bhojpuri in the film.” Hence the actor decided to start his promotional schedule from Bihar. Although he also wanted to visit Bhojpur, which is 60 kilometres away from Bihar, he could not because of security issues. In Bihar he visited the Litti Chokha stall to try the authentic flavor of the city. The Litti Chokha stall owner has renamed his stall on Aamir’s name when he visited him last year and Aamir couldn’t leave the city without visiting the stall again. Then the crew proceeded to Varanasi where they had a screening of their film 3 Idiots and they interacted with the people on a one on one basis. Aamir Khan made an impromptu visit to Krishana Paan shop for savour a Banarasi pan. The actor specially removed time from, his schedule to visit this place. He enjoyed a "mitha banarasi paan" there. After the crew visiting Delhi, Ahemdabad, Raipur, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Indore, Bangalore & various locations in India. Aamir and makers also promoted the film in Dubai.
Indiagames, a part of Disney India’s Interactive business, announced the launch of the official mobile game ‘PK’ based on the film. On 14 December 2014, Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Managing Director of Disney India and Sameer Ganapathy, VP and Head, Interactive of Disney India launched the game at the Reliance Digital Store in Juhu amidst much fanfare. The game developed for both feature phones and smartphones, the game was launched on Google Play, iOS App Store and Windows platform. In the game, the player gets to don many avatars of Aamir Khan as seen in the movie, along with a special avatar of Anushka Sharma, as he embarks upon an exciting endless running adventure. Set against an Indian background, the gamer will run amidst the by-lanes of Delhi, railway tracks in a desert (as seen in the movie), and collect a maximum number of paans, as PK is seen enjoying eating paan in the movie. The gamer has to avoid a number of obstacles on the way, which include cows, buses, Delhi trains, rickshaws, traffic jams and more. The various backdrops used in the game will give the player the feel of the actual movie.
The film was earlier scheduled to release on June 6, 2014. The director who is also editor of the film, Rajkumar Hirani, wanted to spend more time on the editing. Besides, some portions with Sanjay Dutt were yet to be shot. Also, the second season of Satyamev Jayate was to kick off from March. So Aamir was not sure if he would be able to promote PK in June. Hence the makers of his film settled for a December release.
Finally the film was released on 19 December 2014, as the 200th Bollywood release in 2014. The film's release was later expanded to 6000 screens worldwide, which included 5200 screens in India and 844 screens Overseas. PK was initially released in 4844 screens worldwide. PK has been made tax-free in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. PK is the widest Indian movie released in the U.K. (198 screens), Pakistan (over 70 screens), Australia (35 screens) and outside of India (844 screens in over 40 overseas markets). PK was released theatrically in China on 22 May 2015 across 4,600 screens and in Japan on 29 October 2016.
Koimoi reported rumors of a satellite deal in which the satellite rights were sold for ₹850 million (US$13 million) to Sony Entertainment Television if the domestic business reached ₹ 3 billion nett. The music rights were sold for ₹150 million (US$2.3 million). DNA reported, "Being the first film to use Rentrak, Aamir Khan has taken the first initiative to bring in a paradigm shift from the usual norms followed in Bollywood. He had clearly enforced the idea of Rentrak to be brought in to bring more accuracy when it comes to box office figures."
The film's soundtrack is composed by Shantanu Moitra, Ajay-Atul and Ankit Tiwari with lyrics written by Swanand Kirkire, Amitabh Varma and Manoj Muntashir. The full soundtrack was released on 17 November 2014.
The song "Tharki Chokro" is the first single, released on 8 November 2014. The video focuses on Aamir Khan and Sanjay Dutt, with the song sung by Swaroop Khan and composed by Ajay-Atul with lyrics penned by Swanand Kirkire.
The second single, "Love Is a Waste of Time" featuring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma, was released on 13 November 2014 on YouTube. The song is sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal, composed by Shantanu Moitra with the lyrics of Amitabh Varma. "Chaar Kadam" was released on 22 November 2014 on the T-Series YouTube. The song is sung by Shaan and Shreya Ghoshal, composed by Shantanu Moitra with lyrics by Swanand Kirkire.
Srijana Mitra Das of The Times of India gave the movie 4 stars out of 5. Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave 3.5 stars to the movie quoting "It's a courageous film that sticks to Hirani's well-oiled formula". NDTV gave the movie 5 stars calling it "PK is a winner all the way, a film that Raj Kapoor, Bimal Roy and Guru Dutt would have been proud of had they been alive. Rajkumar Hirani is without a doubt their most worthy standard-bearer." Bollywood Hungama described the film "a solid entertainer that will surely entertain the masses and classes alike" and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Raja Sen of Rediff.com gave PK 4 out of 5 stars and called it "a triumph" and argued that Aamir "soars high". However, Sukanya Verma of the same publication called the film "a mixed bag of spunk and sentimentality", while still giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times gave the film 4 out of 5 stars and said "Aamir Khan steals the show with his performance". Rohit Khilnani of India Today gave 4.5 stars, and said "Go watch the film & watch it ASAP!" Edmund Lee of South China Morning Post gave PK 3.5 stars.
Activists of pro-Hindu organizations Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal protested against certain scenes in the film, which they considered to be hurtful to the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. Subsequently, some theatres were vandalised by those activists, who demanded a ban on the movie and a Public Interest Litigation was filed against the film for the same. Amish Tripathi of Hindustan Times and Madhu Kishwar of Firstpost took issue with the film for mocking idolatry, which they believed in part was intended as criticism of Hinduism, along with other faiths. Government officials, such as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and the then chief minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi exempted the film from entertainment tax to encourage wider viewership.
PK opted to have its box office figures tracked by Rentrak a United States-based company that specializes in audience measurements. PK has become the first Bollywood film to earn ₹1 billion (US$16 million) nett from online bookings. PK grossed ₹175 crore (US$27 million) worldwide in its first weekend. It is the 2nd highest-grossing Indian film, in both domestic as well as international markets. till 2016.The final worldwide gross of PK was ₹743 crore (US$120 million).
PK earned ₹260 million (US$4.1 million) nett on its opening day. The film showed growth on its second day, earning around ₹290 million (US$4.5 million) nett. On its third day, the film brought in ₹370 million (US$5.8 million) nett, bringing its weekend take to ₹925 million (US$14 million) nett.
PK had the highest collections for a Hindi film on its first Monday, earning around ₹210 million (US$3.3 million) nett. Over the next two days the film grossed ₹190 million (US$3.0 million) and ₹200 million (US$3.1 million) nett respectively, taking its total to ₹1.53 billion (US$24 million). On Christmas Day the film earned approximately ₹275 million (US$4.3 million) nett and taking its first week total to ₹1.80 billion (US$28 million) nett.
On its second Friday, PK brought in around ₹140 million (US$2.2 million) nett. The film kept growing in its second weekend, earning ₹170 million (US$2.7 million) on Saturday and ₹220 million (US$3.4 million) on Sunday, taking the weekend total to ₹533 million (US$8.3 million) nett. It earned ₹92.5 million (US$1.4 million) on its second Monday, ₹90 million (US$1.4 million) on Tuesday and ₹97.5 million (US$1.5 million) on Wednesday. With this, the film took its total to around ₹2.63 billion (US$41 million) nett and became the highest-grossing film in India in just thirteen days. The film set a record second week figure of ₹945 million (US$15 million), taking its total to ₹2.76 billion (US$43 million) nett. PK made an all-time record in the Mumbai circuit by grossing there more than ₹1 billion (US$16 million) nett.
The film netted around ₹275 million (US$4.3 million) in its third weekend, reaching ₹3.05 billion (US$48 million) nett in seventeen days. The film went on to nett ₹3.19 billion (US$50 million) in India and grossed ₹1.53 billion (US$24 million) overseas for a worldwide gross of ₹5.77 billion (US$90 million) in three weeks. The film earned a final domestic nett of ₹3.37 billion (US$53 million).
The film opened in 22 international markets during its opening weekend (19–21 December) and grossed $28.7 million, placing it at No. 3 at the worldwide box office behind The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Gone with the Bullets. In North America, the film set an opening weekend record for an Indian film collecting $3.75 million and placing at No. 10 at the box office. PK is the first Indian film to gross US$10 million in North America (US and Canada). The international gross of PK is US$46.52 million(Rs 294 crore)—currently 1st in the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in international markets. In Pakistan, PK had grossed ₨18 crore (US$1.7 million) as of 10 January 2015.
PK has a second phase of overseas release in China. PK became an instant hit grossing US$5.14–5.3 million in first three days of release due to good word-of-mouth—a record for an Indian film (previously held by Dhoom 3), debuting at second place at the Chinese box office behind Avengers: Age of Ultron. PK became the highest-grossing Indian film in China in just 72 hours and grossed US$19.5 million(Rs 122 crore) in China. It became the first Indian film to pass the 100 million yuan ($16.11 million) threshold, which is considered rare for a non-Hollywood foreign film.
PK received two awards out of eight nominations at the 60th Filmfare Awards. The film won five Star Guild Awards, and two Life OK Screen Awards.