Interview: Shah Rukh Khan: The Insecure Superstar!


By Hindustan Times

On Working on Jab Tak Hai Jaan

The Yash Raj team is like a family. I have worked with most of them previously. And our track record has been nice in the sense that people have liked what we have done so far. So I can’t choose between my own films. Each of them remains very special. But then Yashji is no more so I do feel a lot more poignant about Jab Tak Hai Jaan. I don’t wish to capitalize on his death and wish the film now becomes a huge hit; I only wish he was here when the film releases.

I had a lot of fun shooting this film. When I came out in the army uniform on the first day in Ladaakh, the army officers themselves commented that I look good in that get-up and the beard and all really suits my personality. It felt good. I have played that part very early in my career – Faujji, but that was a time when I didn’t even know in which direction I was headed.

It is a nice feeling when someone, like the security guy at the airport, comes up and says that he values a mainstream star playing an army officer. So, in a way, it satisfies me when I am in a position to give some commercial relevance to a service which is undoubtedly the most important job in the country.

Basic jobs are never played enough in Hindi cinema; or at least I haven’t. Maybe I have been very elitist in portraying my on screen persona. So more than masculinity, I think it is something that a common man can identify with. But still my kids are happier seeing me play a Don or a superhero.

The character of the lover-boy – it is not a profession, a job or a role or even a character. In Jab Tak Hai Jaan – I play a character; one who has fallen in love.

On being typecast as King of Romance

It acts as a brilliant excuse. If my other films don’t do well, people can blame it on the fact that it is only my romantic image that works. Girls like me only in romantic roles. And that King of romance tag has overstayed its welcome. So with all due respect, just call me King. Don’t call me King of action or King of horror. Just King. I am an actor. I have been in the industry for over twenty years and acted in about 75 films. I’d like to believe that I have done it differently.

I’d hate it if I would just be called King of romance. I tremendously enjoyed doing Don; I am totally in love with the way I did My Name is Khan. I feel my roles are belittled quite a lot of times. People just say, “Arrey ye to sirf romance karta hai”.

I don’t want to sound too pompous but try doing romance as good as I do. Just try. I must be having something as an actor that people have been constantly watching me and liking me for so many years in so many films.

My parameters are commercial and yet I strive to be unique. I’d like to be remembered as someone who is trying too hard. I don’t know why but I feel I’m the only actor who is asked this question a lot of times.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan is predictable

I am very clear that the film’s trailer should tell everything to the viewer about the film. And that is exactly what Jab Tak Hai Jaan’s trailer does. I mean the trailer is everything that the film is. It is predictable. If you haven’t read it yet, you aren’t looking deep enough.

But there’s a trick here. Very seldom do you get to see a film which you are happy to see. With Jab Tak… I felt that kind of satisfaction and happiness.

Surprisingly, I was on the edge-of-my-seat and this is not even a thriller, it is drama. So, I’d call it a gripping and a riveting watch, nothing less.

On Women

Girls are pretty wonderful. I tremendously enjoy their company.

The definition of romance remains unchanged. I have exhausted all the places to make out with women (Laughs). I am just getting in smaller and stranger places; like telephone booths. On a serious note, love has remained the same, the expression has changed over the years.

Today, boys and girls discuss PMS over SMS, which to me is a culture shock. I can never, and never did talk to a girl like that. When I see young people today, it is startling. Or maybe I’m just shy. I hate when boys treat girls like boys. I can’t call a girl “tu”, I just cannot. At worst I can call them “tum”. Yashji told me to do a scene where I had to say “tu” and I couldn’t get that right, had to do six retakes. That is my idea of romance and love. It is just a notion, not definition because love cannot be defined. The moment you look for a definition, it loses its very purpose.

I respect and I am seriously fond of all the heroines that I have worked with. I love women and love treating women the way they deserve to be treated – with a lot of dignity. It is wrong when people say I make the girls go weak in their knees; it is them who make me go weak in my knees. I have said this over and over again. I love women and thankfully, none of their boyfriends have beaten me up as yet. So, I love their boyfriends too.

On Son of Sardar controversy

It’s a free market. It is not a controlled market; it is not even a restrictively controlled market. We sell our products to everyone. The star-system exists because we exist in a free market. I hope that his (Ajay Devgn’s Son of Sardar) does well. I am not belittling it in any manner; but then my film remains my film.

I have no numbers. I don’t believe in numbers. It is ridiculous to discuss it in public. It should be discussed in account rooms. That’s because numbers confine you, they limit the scope. Why didn’t you book the screens well in advance? There were enough available. And it’s a market dominated by consumers. Come Friday, they have a choice and they’ll sensibly choose. The controversy has disheartened me. Because nothing comes out of it. How do we resolve this? Am I not going to release my film? Are you going to not release your film on the set date? It is entirely a silly thing.

On fanatic admiration by fans

By God’s grace, I have received a lot of love, fame and money and the only way I can repay the same is by giving my fans solid entertainment. And hence, I try to do a Chak De India as well as a Main Hoon Na. I know that My Name is Khan may not do as well as a Om Shanti Om but Shah Rukh Khan cannot keep doing Om Shanti Om over and over again.

Even in my own production house, I don’t design my own films. The only way to thank my following is by providing different but solid entertainment.

On Losing Stardom

It will take some more years. But I have so much work behind me that I’d like to believe I have secured a place in people’s hearts. That would be difficult to take away. If you’ve been working for 20 years, you get a nice, cozy place in everybody’s hearts. This is something Govinda saahb and Amitjee have told me, and I truly believe in that. In the end, that is what matters not the stardom or the superstar or having been the good guy.

The fear of failure is perhaps the greatest motivator. However big or small you are; you shouldn’t lose that. It should be present. But at the same time it shouldn’t overpower your life.

To me the fear of failure forever exists. And that is the reason I work harder and try to achieve more of success.

Most Memorable Moment with Yash Chopra

After Darr, Yashji told me that a man’s humility is judged when he isn’t at home. It is judged when he is out and vulnerable. And literally, I had severely hurt my shoulder in one scene. But that didn’t deter me from stopping the shoot. And he observed that. He said that I was a team player and I do not like to create any kind of hindrance. He said he cherishes me because he felt I was a wonderful guy outside the house, and not just with my family. I think for him to say that at such an early point in my career, meant a lot to me.