New Delhi: Shah Rukh Khan was a commoner who began his journey 22 years ago and now rules the Indian entertainment industry, very often termed as the ‘demigod of Hindi cinema’. This multi-talented actor has come a long way since his Baazigar and Darr days. A versatile actor, a responsible husband, a caring father, SRK has been the real King Khan on every ground whether it’s his professional life or personal.

In an exclusive chat with Ajay Brahmatmaj, Shah Rukh spills the beans on his upcoming film Chennai Express, his future projects, his personal front and more on his inner side.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

SRK-Rohit association to boom or doom? (Part 1)

SRK cherishes his Chennai Express moments (Part 2)

My mother thought I looked like Dilip Kumar: Shah Rukh Khan (Part 3)

I dance at award shows, marriages to mend my livelihood: Shah Rukh Khan (Part 4)

I want people to remember me by my hard work: Shah Rukh Khan (Part 5)

I can fit into decent, high class roles: Shah Rukh Khan (Part 6)

Q. The official trailer of ‘Chennai Express’ has already set the celluloid on fire. Tell us more about the story?

Ans: ‘Chennai Express’ is the story of a 40-year-old man Rahul who leaves Mumbai for Rameshwaram to immerse the ashes of his 99-year-old grandfather. During his journey, he comes across a gorgeous South Indian girl (played by Deepika) and as expected he falls head over heels in love with her. Thereafter, follows the action, drama, comedy and a lot of twists and turns in Rahul’s life.

Q. ‘Chennai Express’ has a complete South Indian flavour as many of the dialogues are in Tamil. Do you think, language plays a pivotal role for the audience in accepting a movie?

Ans. Let’s take it this way. Many of my audience are from non-Hindi regions as well as other countries. But they like my movies and appreciate my work. I had the same experience in England. People loved me there too. Surprisingly, the youths, who are our third generation and who hardly follow Hindi, also like my movies. This shows people love one’s work and performance, no matter what language they know.

Q. You are teaming up with Rohit Shetty for the first time. We have heard that your association with Rohit has been quite a personal affair. Tell us more about it?

Ans. Yes, it’s true. Actually, Rohit first approached me with the proposal to work on ‘Angoor’ remake 4-5 years back and I too was excited to do it as the original ‘Angoor’ is close to my heart. He narrated to me a couple of stories including that of ‘Angoor’ and ‘Chennai Express’.  Since Rohit wanted more time for Angoor remake, he offered me ‘Chennai Express’.

Q. What’s the story behind Angoor?

Ans. My connection with ‘Angoor’ goes back to my childhood days. It was the favourite film of my mother (Lateef Fatima). We have many precious moments of life attached to it. Those were the days of the VCR. We used to watch movies on the VCR. My mother suffered from pain in her legs. So every night, I used to sit by her side and gently massage her legs while watching Angoor. I still remember the dialogues of Dilip Saab. She loved Dilip Kumar and thought I looked like him.

Q. The new benchmark of judging the performance of a Bollywood film, is the famous '100 crore club'. In such a scenario, buzz is all around that if ‘Chennai Express’ fails to make its mark then the era of SRK will come to an end?

Ans: What will happen? I will give up everything and will probably open a grocery shop … I find all these rumours and speculations worthless. They make me laugh sometimes. In the last 20 years, I have come across such questions so many times. Whenever a newcomer performs well, people start making speculations about my ouster. If any of my contemporaries give a hit, people start gossiping that the era of SRK is finished. I don’t know why people co-relate me every time with wrong things. Perhaps, they love me so much so, they care for me a lot.

Q. You have given 22 long years to Bollywood and the entertainment industry. Don’t you think you have limited your appeal to metros and overseas?

Ans. Well, it’s purely a matter of choice and taste. I don’t know about others but I do films that suit my personality, thoughts and moreover my comfort. It’s not like I have limited myself to any genre. I have done action films, negative roles in the early phase of my career. With time and experience, an actor comes at a stage where he can choose different roles. This is the time, when we often go for the roles that describe our inner self. And as far as my audience is concerned, till date, I have not been able to figure out who my audience is and where my films work.

Q. People love you and want to share each and every moment of SRK. Have you ever tried to develop a way to stay connected with your fans?

Ans.  Yeah, earlier I used to tweet for my fans. But there I found many irrelevant comments that were painful. I am quite an emotional person. So, I cannot digest such rubbish. Moreover, my tweets were often dragged into controversies. I remember once during the shoot of Jab Tak Hai Jaan in London, we got a day off due to heavy rain. I was enjoying the off with the awesome weather and hot coffee. I felt like expressing my happiness on twitter. Unfortunately, that day India lost to England in ODI. I found media reports suggesting that I was celebrating India’s defeat in London. It was very painful. So, I stopped tweeting. Now, I am thinking of developing an interactive website where I will share my life moments, my interviews with my fans. I am planning to record my precious moments.

Q. We have heard that you don’t take money for your film projects.

Ans. Yes this is the truth. I don’t take money for films as it is my passion and not business. I still remember what Deven Verma had once told me, “Take up a project in your life time just for your sake, just because your heart allows it.”

Q.  If that is the case then how do you manage your livelihood?

Ans. I dance at award shows and high profile marriages and do advertisements to make a living.

Q. But this has earned you severe criticism?

Ans. I simply don’t bother over such worthless criticisms. I feel my heart is clean and soul is pure as I have not done my films as part of my profession. They have emotional connection. It’s my passion. I never compromise with my films. Whatever project I take up I do it sincerely without pondering over how many crores it will fetch me. See, it’s not that my directors and producers don’t offer me money. They do. But I never bargain with them. Whatever they give me I take. This is why they love me.

Q. What are the lessons you have passed on to your children that you inherited from your parents?

Ans. Acceptance and patience are the two things I have learnt from my parents. My friends consider my patient attitude as my weakest point. My father was a very tolerant person. I believe one should be what he is. I have taught my children sense of competition. I, Gauri and our children, all of us live like friends. Like friends we point out mistakes of each other and pat each other’s back when we have done something good.

Q. Who has understood SRK as an individual?

Ans. People often find me unreal. Initially when they meet, they appreciate me as a person but later on they start finding me weird. I am quite a different person. I have a different thinking. I am frank, open-hearted and emotional. Like everybody I also get angry, I also feel pain. Many times, my stardom also does not allow people to understand me.

Q. You have a huge fan following. You enjoy the kind of female adoration that any other actor would envy. Does Shah Rukh Khan ever feel lonely?

Ans. If I am at the top, I have to pay for it. But I guess people now-a-days are talking much about my decline. So, now I do find some people to chat. Hahaha…Jokes apart, I am extremely lonely. But I have chosen this for me. After giving 22 long years to the industry, I find myself totally disconnected from the basic, normal life. This doesn’t mean I have high class friends only but now I have lost the art of making relationships. My hectic schedule, long working hours doesn’t allow me to engage with people. I think I have inherited this in my personality.

Q. Any regrets in life?

Ans. Well…may be two or three. Everyone has regrets in life. But the best part is that my work and my busy schedule never allow me to think about the regrets.

Q. How would you like to be remembered?

Ans.  I wish people remember me by my hard work and determination. I want people to remember me as someone who had tried a lot in life. The epitaph on my grave will read ‘Here lies Shah Rukh Khan and he tried.’ I don’t want people to count my accomplishments but my hard work. My hard work is my accomplishment. It’s easy to count achievements, even easier to find faults but the one that is difficult, is to realize the hard work and labour that someone has put in.

Ajay Brahmatmaj/JPN

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