His name is Khan. But who cares? Shah Rukh Khan by any other name would’ve shone just as brightly.
He’s a natural-born man of the masses. His level of connectivity with his friends and fans is so exceptional because it’s so natural. Shah Rukh doesn’t have to try to be nice to those who reach out to him. His empathy flows naturally.
Very few actors have a natural bonding with their surroundings. Some try too hard. Others don’t even try. Shah Rukh gets it just right.
It takes guts and glory to say no to injustice and wrong being done around you. Shah Rukh Khan has always stood up to what he thought to be right. I’ve never seen any actor who invites so much adulation and such staunch loyalty from family fans and friend—not necessarily in that order.
As Karan Johar one of his closest buddies says, Shah Rukh is a healthy nourishing addiction that you simply can’t kick off. Why should you?
No one abandons SRK.
Neither is he the kind who would shrug off friends at his convenience even in a dog-eat-dog world of show business. Though lately Shah Rukh and I have been interacting less specially after a non-entertainment website quoted him as saying he “hates” me (a comment that he stoutly denies, and I’ve no reason to doubt him, not after last week when he stood by his words without fear of hugely-damaging repercussions) I recall our earlier interactions with much fondness.
The first time that I ever spoke to SRK was when his grossly-underrated film on the excesses of the electronic media ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani’ had just been released.
SRK addressed me respectfully as ‘Sir’. Later when we met at his residence he looked at me smirked and turned to his wife to say, “Do you know I called him ‘Sir’ when I spoke to him on the phone?”
By the way his wife Gauri is far from the cold and aloof person she’s seen to be.
Nothing and no one around SRK can ever be cold. He exudes an inherent warmth that melts the most obdurate entity. Most of the time even when under attack he’s supremely composed and articulate. I’ve seldom spoken to a person whose voice can keep such lucid pace with his restless thought processes. But then I’ve seldom seen a star with such a compelling carousal of thoughts to put forward.
Shah Rukh is a man in a hurry. He wants to be the most popular person on this planet. And he’s getting there. He has never felt threatened by any actor male or female. Nor has he allowed himself to get intimidated by goons of any kind political or apolitical. I remember once in our early interactions he told me, “I need to change my number. Because the wrong kind of people (from the underworld) keep calling. I don’t care about such threats. But my wife and sister get scared.”
Even when Shah Rukh’s home Mannat was under siege his concern was for his near and dear ones… how would his children get to school? Would his wife be able to do her shopping? Would friend Karan be able to release his film without mishap? Would Farah Khan be able to call her film ‘Tees Maar Khan’, or would she have to change to Tees Maar Kumar?
Shah Rukh has always been more concerned about those around him than about himself.
It is no coincidence that my hard-to-please daughter’s favourite actor became her absolute favourite after she met him. In the one hour that SRK spent with her he counseled her on future career prospects, guided her on ethics and mores and found time to make sure we had lunch.
Yup, SRK packs in the maximum punch in the minimum space.
He isn’t as great an actor as he’s an entertainer. I’ve been privy to some of his unguarded revelations. Strangely now when my admiration for this man’s conviction has gone up manifold I recall his deliciously tongue-in-cheek comments.
Once when I was speaking to SRK on the phone he was changing on the sets while talking near his leading lady. When I reminded him that the lady might take offence he quipped, “Why? She has never seen a naked man before?”
Once I (stupidly) advised him to give up smoking. To this he replied, “Why? Your other friend (he named a fellow-actor) likes to f…k. I like to smoke. That’s my vice.”
There’s an absolutely unpretentious side to Shah Rukh that remains immune to the hard knocks of life.
A couple of days before he went through intricate back surgery in London he was on the phone giving me gyan about a leading lady whom I was close to. “She’ll be good with you as long as you’re useful. I keep telling my friends not to be so self-centred to come out of their small world.”
That’s what SRK did. He stood up to say what he believed in and was ready to face the consequences. I don’t think SRK belongs to Maharashtra, Delhi or even to just the whole of India. He is a global possession, as capable of being our representative in foreign countries as being a liaison officer in our own land where, if some politicians had their way, we would needs visas to enter.
Among the Khan superstars Shah Rukh Khan stands the tallest, in more ways than one. While one of them is overrated and excessively lucky in his career choices, the other Khan does nothing in front of the camera or in person except be his cocky self. The other two Khan stars don’t even count because one is too uncertain about his convictions and the other too raw.
Only Shah Rukh Khan knows which way to take his stardom without appearing to take it for granted. Have you heard SRK declare he’s the best lately?
Finally he has proved it.