The ‘Badshah of Bollywood’ has endless admirers. His name is sufficient to pull crowds to the theatres.

His journey from TV serial ‘Fauji’ to becoming the King Khan of ‘Bollywood’ is remarkable and inspirational. Spontaneous and fun-loving, this Khan also loves appreciation. Sakhi takes a look at his 20 year long filmy career.

When Shahrukh Khan spreads his hands out, it seems he wants to embrace the world. And this posture of his has made female fans sigh with hands on their heart. Shahrukh knows the impact of this posture and repeats this in all of his films irrespective of their genre. This gives his critics a chance to point fingers at him. They say that because of the repetition of his acts and gimmicks in every film, Shahrukh remains Shahrukh in all films and is unable to do justice to the role. Interestingly, King Khan also agrees with his critics on this issue. He says, “My fans come to see me in my films. I cannot disappoint them.”  He adds, “I have also done films like ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hain Hindustani’, ‘Asoka’, ‘Swades’, ‘Paheli’ and ‘Chak De’ where I was totally different.”

Small screen’s ‘Fauji’

Shahrukh is indeed different. He started his career from small screen. He even received national acclaim for his roles in ‘Fauji’ and ‘Circus’. He was an actor who easily made a mark on the audience’s mind. During those days, most of the small screen actors were recognised by the roles they played.

But King Khan was out of the league.

He became known for his talent and acting skills. He was involved with TV and theatres, but soon decided to make a move to Mumbai to earn better livelihood and pursue a career in Bollywood. His first guide Raghubir Yadav and then co-struggler Manoj Bajpayee have many tales to narrate which easily gives us a glimpse of his personality. From the very outset he had the courage to take risks. He says, “I do not like to do what everyone does. I love to be different.”

Shahrukh had a non-filmy background. But when he came to Mumbai he was lucky enough to befriend people like Vivek Vaswani and mentor Aziz Mirza. Over flowing with confidence Shahrukh did not struggle so much to secure a foothold in this industry. He toiled only for a few months. He signed four films in one day- Dil Aashna Hain, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, King Uncle and Chamatkar. Actually, this was the outcome of his strong networking and friendly image.

Hard work brought him luck

It is Shahrukh’s charisma that he can turn any opportunity into success. He has always proved his worth. If we go though the career graph of actors who came before and after King Khan, we shall find that though they managed to achieve little success, they failed to a make a mark like him because of their lethargy and tenacity. Whenever he received any big opportunity he put all his efforts into it to transform that into success. His uniqueness is that every time he came out successful and proved himself a worthy contender of the offered chance. On one hand he did Bollywood masala movies like Baazigar, Darr and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and on the other hand acted in films like Chak De India and Swades. The different genre of films proves his versatility. On being asked if his success is the result of his luck he said, “Since 20 years I have been admired by people. There is something special in me. Do you think all  achievements of mine are a gift of my luck?”

Faithful towards work

With Shahrukh’s arrival in Mumbai, he became a topic of discussion among film journalists. They started discussing, ‘A new boy has arrived. He has oodles of confidence. He is a bit talkative, he is talented too.’ The glimpse of his talent was visible in the first rushes of his maiden movies Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Deewana. He had the attraction of a commercial actor. This Delhi boy was hyper but sensitive as well. His energy impressed one and all. He could captivate anyone with his energy.

When Salman Khan refused to do Baazigar, Abbas-Mastan offered the role to Shahrukh. In this film he was casted opposite Shilpa Shetty and Kajol. Meanwhile, Aamir Khan declined ‘Darr’ offer due to a rift with Yash Chopra. After that, on Juhi Chawala’s recommendation Yash Chopra casted Shahrukh in a negative role in ‘Darr’. He gave a mind blowing performance in this film. During the shooting of this film Shahrukh met Aditya Choopra and they became very good friends and later on Aditya offered Shahrukh ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’. Shahrukh had so much faith in Aditya that he did not even go through the script of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’. Since then, he struck a strong bond with Yash Raj films and has been part of the banner ever since. In fact, Shahrukh never makes any demand for money or script for a Yash Raj film.

Shahrukh is always ready to shoot advertisements, do endorsement and even performs in big parties to earn money but this does not mean that he will sign any film just for the sake of earning fast bucks.

He says, “I cannot cheat my profession.”

Deadly combination of presence of mind and sense of humour

We had the chance to interact with him at length during the release of ‘Josh’. When we went to him he was sitting in a room in Mehboob studio. During those days the trend of vanity vans was not in vogue.

We still remember…the air conditioner of the room was not working. We had to find comfort under a fan. Having been not disturbed by the sound of the fan Shahrukh kept on talking. We became his fan in my first meeting. He always gave satisfactory answers to all our queries and even made me feel comfortable. After a few meetings We realised that he is a supporting star. During interviews he sticks to the question and answers accordingly. His presence of mind and sense of humour made our copies and articles more readable. In this connection We would like to share one incident. One day he asked, “What type of interview you want? Spicy, serious or for any special coloumn? Even our peers agree that Shahrukh never disappoints when it comes to an interview. If you can adjust with his busy schedule and do not rub him the wrong way, he will always give you time.

SRK loves eulogy

It is absolutely true that many a times he is just inaccessible. His mansion ‘Mannat’ is surrounded by big walls and entry is limited. But Shahrukh makes it a point to allow his close ones to meet him through a backdoor. But at times, he does make his fans wait for hours outside ‘Mannat’ despite being present at home. He is ‘yaaron ka yaar’ but can be revengeful as well. According to his close ones he does not forget anything easily and believes in ‘tit for tat’ policy.

Describing this side of Shahrukh’s personality aptly, Abbas Tyrewala who has worked with him says, “It is tough to know him as a good friend and a person. He always stays behind a semi-transparent curtain. Neither does he hide himself totally nor does he come forward fully. ” Actually, he has very few close friends. Like any other star he is also a self–centred person and loves praises. He cannot handle his criticism in a healthy way.

Messiah of cinema

Baazigar, Darr and Anjaam- these three films gave him a special identity. A common feature of all the three films was that the protagonist was a villain who could go to any length to achieve what he wanted. At that time the Indian society was witnessing the rise of ambition and personal greed among the youths. Economic openings in India saw the rise of new youths in cities. Shahrukh played the role of such a youth in films and made names like Raj and Rohit popular among the masses.

In Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge we see such a Non Resident Indian (NRI) youth. He portrayed a character named Raj who had respect for Indian tradition and culture despite being a Non -Resident Indian. Raj does not elope with his girlfriend but rather tries to woo her parents’ heart. This role gave him international fame and each and every girl of India fell in love with him. Raj started to rule the hearts of millions of women. After this film he did not look behind and with the passage of time he became Bollywood’s King Khan.

‘He came, he saw, he conquered’ is how one can sum up Shahrukh’s career. A boy from another city came to Mumbai and dared to rule Bollywood.  He emerged as the hero championing the expectation and aspiration of middle-class families and for the past twenty years he has been living up to these expectations. In a way he became the messiah of cinema for middle-class people.

Culture and upbringing

The son of Mir Mohammad Taj Khan and Latif Fatima Khan, Shaharukh inherited kind-heartedness from his father and daring nature from his mother. Remembering his childhood days he said that his father was like a friend to him and he used to address him as ‘Yara’. One day when he was roaming around with his father in the market, he told him that he wanted to eat something.

His father replied that he had no money. Shahrukh thought that his father forgot to bring money with him and therefore he could not buy Shahrukh what he wanted. But his father clarified that he did not forget to bring money but actually he did not have enough money to buy the desired thing for his son. Then his father said, “Yaara, mungfali khatein hain.” From that day he realised the importance of money.

Even his father wanted to become an actor and landed in Mumbai with similar dream in his eyes. He also got the role of Durjan Singh in ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ but somehow things did not work out. It might be possible that Shahrukh became an actor to fulfill his father’s dream.

Shahrukh never failed to mention about his parents during award ceremonies. Born and brought up in a Muslim family in a metro, Shahrukh’s upbringing was free from religious fanaticism. But still Shahrukh feels proud to be a Muslim. He proudly says, “I am an Indian Muslim. I feel proud to be a superstar of India where majority of the people are Hindus. My wife is a Hindu and I have never faced any problem in my country because of my religion.”

Starting his biography

Shahrukh now wants to do something innovative and unique. He has been trying hard to make ‘Bollywood’ a world famous name. His home production film directed by Anubhav Sinha ‘RA. One’ is the first step towards this goal. At the advice of producer – director Mahesh Bhatt he has started penning down his auto-biography but he is finding it hard to complete. May be, he is waiting for an extraordinary event to happen to draw an end to his auto-biography.

(Courtesy: Sakhi)