Posted by Fenil Seta
Shah Rukh Khan says his 25-year journey in films is like his three-and-half-year-old child; beautiful, sweet and innocent...
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 19, 2017)
There is a line of dialogue in his upcoming film, Raees, “Ammi jaan kehti thi koi dhanda chhota nahin hota aur dhande se bada koi dharam nahin hota.” What advice did Shah Rukh Khan’s own ammi give him on his profession? The actor admits that while a chapter in his biography is dedicated to his mother’s advice, the only thing he recalls her telling him on this is never cut your costs and increase your income. “I do that in my profession,” he quips.
He also adheres to the old world belief that when someone works with you from the beginning, you take him along, no matter if he’s outdated and the world has moved on. “I don’t believe in letting people go,” he sips his coffee reflectively.
It’s easy to see that Bollywood’s Badshah is a much loved boss as his Red Chillies team, camped outside his vanity van in the Mehboob Studio parking lot, doesn’t scurry away when he wants to do this interview sitting in the open. The late winter sun is preferable to airconditioned chill inside.
Business, for him, isn’t only about making money, it should touch your life and when you feel like giving up and letting go, you should hold on. Has he ever felt like giving up? “Nooo, what would I do if I gave up? I find even people taking time off strange and shocking. For whatever its worth, I was born to make films and be an actor. I read, write, play with kids, take photographs, have lot of business interests but nothing turns me on as much as acting,” he admits.
Little AbRam who’s accompanied his dad to the studio has been hopping around, playing ball. His father admits that the child has made him kinder and gentler. “I was never mean, but now I’ve become more accepting of the fact that people are different and need to do things at their own time, pace, space and way. I’ve come to understand that they have their happy days and their off-days too,” he says, pointing out that he’s noticed that people have been writing that he is a humble star. “It’s not humility but kindness, with AbRam I’ve come to enjoy people.”
His late night tweets are evocative, even poetic, reflecting his philosophy of life at 51. SRK informs that the tweets are posted late because he doesn’t carry his phone at work and doesn’t look at it all day. “When I read something, I want to reach out to a person but it’s not my nature to say something specific. So I just make a comment on what I feel and assume the person will understand. If he doesn’t its alright, I’ve taken it out of my system,” he grins wryly. “If there is a reference, it will become a headline and I don’t want that. I don’t like explaining myself, giving clarifications, letting people know if I’m happy or disturbed with them. I’ve never liked expressing myself.” Is that why he likes acting, because it gives him a chance to express himself as someone else? “I guess so,” he nods, admitting he uses a lot of his observations of people and puts them in the context of a film.
Rahul Dholakia, in an interview to Mirror, had admitted to being surprised when after his narration, SRK summed up Raees, his character and why Rahul thought he was apt for the part with one line of dialogue from the film, “Baniye ka dimag and miyan bhai ki daring.” The actor points out that the director’s take on Raees is that though he’s in a bad world, doing a bad job, for him it’s business and in the wake of business, whatever he is does is fair.
“In a way it’s the Indian version of the Godfather line, ‘Nothing personal, it’s purely business.’ The moves and decisions he takes may seem wrong to others, but from his point of view he is right,” Shah Rukh reasons, quick to add that he has never been a part of this world, he’s more urban, but he could understand the emotions of the character.
The film is set in the ’80s and there is a Bachchan-esque aura about the character. Was he inspired by the Big B? SRK admits he has grown up watching the veteran star and looks up to him as an audience. “Mr Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor are actors I watched growing up. Yesterday, someone said Raees reminded them of Darr, you’re saying he reminds you of Mr Bachchan, I hope some role sometimes reminds one of me,” he laughs, admitting Bachchan played the common man who fights the system in his earlier films and the film’s first poster did remind people who’ve grown up in that era of Deewar.
He points out that since the film is set in ’85-’90, the cinematic qualities have been designed to remind you of that era. “It’s a world I left behind when I came to Mumbai, became a star and my life changed. Going back, seeing the a bottle of Cantharidine oil and a Ship match box and listening to songs like “Kaate Nahin Katate” made me nostalgic too,” he smiles.
The ’80s also transports one back to Yash Chopra’s Kabhi Kabhie and Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry. He’s reportedly playing the melancholic poet-lyricist in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Sahir biopic. SRK admits he heard the story from Jasmeet Reen two years ago at his office when she had come by with Sanjay. He has also heard a few other scripts but he has not given the okay to any of them. “I’m supposed to meet Sanjay, not just for this but something else he wants to do. We’ve been meeting for the last year-and-a-half. It’s a nice script, everyone has liked it, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it,” he says.
Timing is the problem. In his next film with Aanand L Rai he plays a dwarf. Fan went ahead by nine months because of the VFX and since in Aanand’s film the visual effects are far more complicated Shah Rukh doesn’t want to give dates to anyone and get into the kind of situation where he is today, still shooting for Raees because Fan got delayed. “This film is important for me as a producer and Aanand as a director. I don’t even have the schedule yet. Aanand says we’ll finish in October but I still tell people I’m going to start in January 2018, so I don’t want to confirm dates to anyone else at the moment, I’m just listening to stories,” he says.
It’s interesting to imagine a larger-than-life superstar coming down in height and stature to play a dwarf. Shah Rukh jokes that he’s not made to be larger-than-life because he’s tall. He points out that the film actually celebrates specially challenged people. “It’s not about empathy or sympathy but about equality, accepting them as normal people. Writer Himanshu (Sharma) and Aanand are happy people so it’s a happy film. For me the exciting parts are the VFX, to get into the world and make people happy being special. If I can pull that off, I’d still be larger-than-life,” he reasons.
Of late many of his roles have surprised people, like Fan and Raees. Has he reached a curve in his career and wants to do something different? “I thought I was always curvy, I’ve done a Baazigar, Darr, Chak De! India, Asoka and Swades. Just because I do one Happy New Year and one Dilwale, people assume I’m doing only commercial films,” he grouses, pointing out that he does act in commercial films with the same aplomb, happiness and curveness that he does a Fan. “I’m an actor and I can afford to have fun instead of constantly being judged. Everybody has an opinion, but they don’t see the world from my point of view. I’m not saying it’s a better place or a higher place, it’s just a different place.”
He works 18 hours a day, he’s not cribbing or playing victim. “I get paid for that,” he says. All he wants to do is underline the fact that for him Fan was beautiful and he’d like to do another film like that irrespective of the box-office, and another Chennai Express irrespective of what the critics feel. “I’ve never done a film for any other reason than that it made me happy. Unless I’m happy how can I make the audience happy?” he argues. “I don’t get turned on by an off-beat film or turned off by a commercial film. I’m turned on playing dwarf and I don’t know if it’s curvy. I know we had fun for 10 days in the first schedule and hope it continues for a year,” he says, pointing out that the reason people are talking about a curve is because three ‘different’ films— Fan, Dear Zindagi and Raees came together—but that was just a coincidence and not by design.
Talking of happiness the fact that Salman Khan and he are friends today have made a lot of people happy. SRK jokes that they don’t hang out to make people happy. “I’m happy if people are happy, but I’m okay if they are unhappy. For me, his family looked after my folks when I came to Mumbai and that’s the most respect anyone has given me. The disagreements and agreements will continue. People react to symbolism but life is deeper than memes and tweets. Since both of us are night birds, we get more chances to meet. We are happy when we meet each other, happy when we don’t meet also. I wish him health and happiness,” he says. On Wednesday, Salman was acquitted in the black buck case. Is he planning to visit him? “I’m going to the Big Boss house on the 20th,” he smiles.
Buzz is, he’s playing an army officer in the cameo he’s doing in Kabir Khan’s Salman-starrer, Tubelight? SRK is wary of talking about that role but admits Kabir is an old friend, his wife Gauri’s batch mate, and he’d go to their school sometimes to teach them theatre.
Quiz him about the ban on Pakistani artistes and he remains tight-lipped, pointing out that the IMPAA has issued a clear cut directive when he was in Europe that films which have been shot with Pak artistes earlier, were exempt and Raees is one of these films. “We should just leave it to that and let the powers that be and the people to decide how, when, what they wish to do. I have a three-pronged job—to make a good film, second, through the media inform people to buy a ticket and give the viewer a cinematic experience. It’s unfair to use me to support someone else’s point of view as it harms the three jobs I’m doing. I am here to release Raees and that’s what I should do,” he asserts, adding that in the end it’s what you believe in and think that matters, and not just say or do something to get reactions or trend.
And how would he describe his 25-year journey in films? Just then, AbRam comes dancing along to ask who I am, what I’m doing there with his daddy and why I need to work instead of playing with him. Ruffling his son’s hair, SRK says, “My 25 years have been like my three-and-half-year-old son—sweet, beautiful and innocent.”
This entry was posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm, and is filed under Aanand L Rai, AbRam Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Darr, Interviews, Raees, Rahul Dholakia, Sahir Ludhianvi, Salman Khan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shah Rukh Khan, Shah Rukh Khan interview, Tubelight . Follow any responses to this post through RSS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.