By Devansh Patel, IndiaFM
You won't see him cry, you won't see him clean shaved, you won't see
him romancing his co-stars and you won't see him bash up bad guys. King
Khan, as he is fondly called is back in his third off beat role after Swades
and Paheli where he plays the coach of a women’s hockey team in what's
considered to be one of his most challenging characters he has ever
portrayed onscreen. IndiaFM's London correspondent brings you an
exclusive interview with ShahRukh Khan from his next big release Chak De
Chak De India appears like a very non-SRK film with you having no
romantic liaisons or tear-jerking concerns.
I have known the director (Shimit Amin) for years. He is a very simple,
hardworking and talented guy. He has worked with me in the film Asoka.
He's a very sweet, unassuming kind of a guy and to choose a film which is
on sports and which is normally neglected is daring. Apart from Lagaan,
Hip Hip Hurray and Iqbal we haven't really made sports film now. It’s
something that I wanted to do when I was younger but I didn't get a
chance. So when I am old and grey and over the hill I am glad someone
like Shimit thought that I could sort of fill in to a sports film. Field hockey
has been a personal favourite sport of mine and I have been wanting my
kids to learn it. I do feel I am no one to really comment from the outside
that the state of Indian Hockey is not good but I have always felt that if
there is anything I can do via the medium I love, that is acting, I will go to
any extent to do it. Plus the fact that Yash Raj was producing it made it
even special because they are all friends and family to me.
Also this time your character doesn’t have a lover-boy image.
Yes. I play Kabir Khan. He is a coach and an ex-Indian hockey player.
He is having some problems in his life and wants to overcome them
without being cynical and disturbed. He decides in his mind and heart that
he is going to do something positive about it. It's a film about achievement
in the face of failure and it's a film that looks at failure in a positive way.
The idea is to take on some kind of a challenge and try to overcome that
obstacle which had stopped you earlier so I would say the character is
quite aggressive when he wants to be. It’s a mix of Jaideep's writing,
Shimit's outlook, Adi's belief and my mannerisms and style – all rolled into
You don’t look the regular Shahrukh in Chak De India
I have reached a stage where directors do not want me to look the
same old ShahRukh Khan. Shimit wanted Kabir Khan and that's how I
look. A tough coach and a determined coach. I think the producer, director
and the writer all thought that may be with a beard and shorter hair I would
look different and I was fine with it. Only it’s very scratchy when you wake
up in the morning. Even after a bath, you don't feel clean. I hope I don't
have to grow a beard for another role for the next couple of years.
The entire hockey team in the film comprises of new actors.
Earlier I thought that working with newcomers would be a bit of a
hassle because they would not know their lines. You know you become a
little patronizing and a little kind at times, a little agitated and irritated too
because things are not going the way you think they should go. But I think
the whole production team had worked very hard with them and I do not
want to take any credit away from these girls. I think they are very
hardworking and wonderful. They have put their heart and soul into the
film. They have practiced and learnt hockey, they have learnt the lines, they
know the scenes they knew everything and at the end of it all after having
worked for 18 years as an actor I thought I got a lot to learn.
Among the girls in the team, many of them must have been your
We had a lot of readings before we started the film and couple of
meetings so that we got easy with each other apart from some of them
liking me. It's a little embarrassing because some of them were five to six
years old when they saw my films. Then you suddenly realize, god! you are
old and you've been in this industry for long. It was also important for me
to be comfortable with them and not treat them like kids because the whole
purpose of the character of Kabir is that he doesn't treat them like kids or
girls he treats them like grown up, tough people. I think that little bit of
being fans and stalwart compared to the others got over very fast in the
reading and meeting stage and then we were all co-actors and co-actresses,
just working together and having a great time.
You are known to be a sporty person. Did you play hockey in
Yes. I used to play a lot of field hockey in my school days. I was
good at it but when I went and played for the film I was horrible. I was
really awful. I had no stamina left. I think the technique of hockey has
changed, Astroturf itself is very tiring. As shameful as it is to say but I
thought I would be able to beat the girls but they kicked my butt as they
were really good. I am no good at playing field hockey I realized. I realized
while playing with them that it would be better if I use my status as a super
star and not practice at all and tell them that I can pull it off by acting so I
did that because I knew that no matter how much I practice, I would never
be good at it but I have given it my best shot and hopefully it looks good
What was your experience of working with Shimit Amin?
I think Shimit is a very sweet director. He's very quiet and very
unassuming. He is an amazing technician because he himself is very skilled
at editing which I think is half the battle won for a director and knowing
fully what he wants, where he wants and how he will edit it. A sports film
has to be shot in a very special way and normally it required somewhere
between two to six cameras at times to shoot the film, so its very difficult
to keep track of all that unless you happen to be a good technician. I think
he has had a lot of education in world cinema and not just Indian cinema.
He loves Indian cinema. Thus his exposure to both kind of cinema gives
him an edge over a lot of other directors. He's young and he's made a
wonderful film in the past 'Ab Tak Chhappan' and he's a friend. I have
known him for years and he is very comfortable to work with. A really
sweet guy, he doesn't get angry, is great by nature and knows his job. He's
an ideal director to work with.
Hockey as a sports option is not very common in schools today. Do
you think it's a good game for the children of today?
I just hope the film can educate people to understand that even though
Hockey is played with a stick and white ball it's not pool, it's not billiards,
it's a different sport. It's a national sport. I would tell kids to give it a shot if
they like it and go ahead otherwise there is always soccer, cricket or a
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the
words Chak De India?
Chak De strangely to me is a line from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.
I remember we used to say Chak De Phate in DDLJ. I hope Chak De India
becomes like a sporting line whenever Sachin is playing. Or perhaps when
Dhanraj Pillai is going with the ball, somebody screams Chak De India
which means score a goal or hit a sixer or get Sania Mirza to win the