By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Having started his career as a journalist, Mushtaq Shiekh has indeed come a long way. From writing exclusive columns in film magazines to writing scripts for popular K-serials to writing the story of one of the country's biggest blockbusters Om Shanti Om, Mushtaq has indeed done it all. However, Mushtaq is still best known as the author of Shah Rukh Khan's biography- 'Still Reading Khan'. His proximity with the country's biggest superstar is something that's known to one and all. He even wrote the coffee-table book on 'The Making of Asoka' and 'The Making of Om Shanti Om'. Now after having already penned a book on the life of SRK, Mushtaq is ready to release yet another book on the superstar and this time it's called 'Shah Rukh Can'. In an exclusive chat with Bollywood Hungama, this talented writer speaks about what readers can expect from his new book, his proximity with SRK and his future plans.
Is it true that you have written yet another book on SRK called 'Shah Rukh Can'?
Yes, the book will be released in a month's time. The exact date has yet not been finalized.
You had earlier penned his biography 'Still Reading Khan', what is different this time around?
'Shah Rukh Can' is the paperback version of 'Still Reading Khan'. This book is an updated version of my coffee table book. Shah Rukh is a non-stop machine, he does hundred things each day, to keep up, it's next to impossible but I am trying to do so in the form of my book. The other aspect was that many people had complained to me that reading my earlier biography in the form of a 4 kg coffee table book took a toll on their backbone so I decided to make things easy for many. So this book will be easy on your eyes, your back bone and your wallet (laughs). So in a nutshell, 'Shah Rukh Can' is all things good condensed into one compact book. I have tried to capture the magic of Shah Rukh Khan between the covers of my book. And I sincerely hope and pray to Allah that I have succeeded, because dealing with someone else's life story and telling it as honestly as possible is a huge task.
What made you come up with this idea?
Lots of my fans have been writing in to say that my coffee table book is too cumbersome to handle. In fact, I have complaints from women who say they could not even take my book to bed with them. (Laughs) So this idea came to me. There was a lot to add. A year has passed since I released the coffee table. It's already done exceptionally well and now I thought that I should push the envelope and make the book available to a larger chunk of people.
You are known to be very close to Shah Rukh Khan...How did you first get to know him?
I met Shah Rukh more than a decade ago when I was a journalist. I met him up for an interview and the rest is publishing history as they say.
How much has SRK cooperated during the making of this book?
The book would have been impossible without his cooperation. The only care I took was to curb my temptation and not ask too many questions and irritate him. The advantage you have when you know someone well is that you don't have to re-check many issues. You already know most things. What I had to be careful about is that I didn't take advantage of my friendship with the man. And that's always a tough one. It becomes unfair to harrow someone too much and more so if it's a man who's every second has been pre-booked for the next five years.
Is there a grand function for the release?
I have made a habit of releasing my book as if it's a film premiere. Every launch party seems to take a toll on me. They seem to tire me more than the whole process of writing and putting together a book. So this time I am going the more conventional route of having a book reading session, the details of which are not really planned as of now…
Heard this time over, you are targeting the cyber space in a big way?
Yes, I am because I have always realized the potential of the net and the way the world reaches out to you here on cyber space. The same process takes time in the brick and mortar land. But it happens in an instant on the web. My publisher, OM Books International, is going hammer and tongs on the net simply because the whole book loving clan seems to be surfing the net these days. The day my publisher www.om-books.com opened pre-orders on their site there has already been a thunderous response. Be it Russia, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong or Japan, I am getting pre-orders from everywhere. As an author I don't think I can ask for more. Can I?
How much is it priced at and who is it targeted at?
As I said earlier, this time I am keeping it very affordable and easy on your wallet. It's a modest 395 rupees. Shah Rukh's life has to be devoured by anyone who wants to make a difference. Who does not want to make it big? Who does not want to question destiny and demand more from it? We all do. Shah Rukh is one such exemplary example and anybody who aspires to get more from life should read this book. So my target audience is anyone who wants to be inspired.
And finally the last question…You also co-wrote the story /screenplay of OSO, what else are you working on now with regards to films?
I am currently working on Priyadarshan's next film Billo Barber starring Irrfan Khan and Shah Rukh and I am having the blast of a life time. I am today working with people who I have always looked upto and admired. Could not ask for more from life...actually hold that thought; let's hope for the super success of Om Shanti Om for every film I write (laughs).