“ I’m an employee of the myth of Shah Rukh Khan”
Shahrukh Khan , on the David Letterman Show
When we see the star King Khan, we see immense love of the public, crazy fans, immense success, and love from global and national platforms, publicity, fame and fortune.
Sure Shahrukh Khan rules the world in many ways. But the journey has been hard and has come at a cost.
On his birthday I trace what all a person will sacrifice to be who he is. Is this madness, is there method or is it just plain insanity?
Shahrukh is many things. A public figure who is loved, the on screen hero people have dreamt about, the family man, a producer and a businessman. He has seen failure and success as well as a special place in the hearts of people.
On the personal front he struggles to survive on 150 cigarettes a day, a history of depression post his injuries and an unhealthy relationship with food.
The man who first hit the Indian screens on our TV sets in the hit series ‘Fauji ‘in 1989.
He has had a long and hard battle. Is he a hero? Or has he become a part of the excess Bollywood fame culture and its effects.
Whatever be the case being Shahrukh Khan is no monkey business. It’s been a journey of hard work, rejections and even with a lovely family he lives a life without peace or sleep.
Let’s step into Shahrukh Khan’s world on his birthday and see what it feels like to walk in his shoes for a bit.
Shahrukh’s parents were restaurateurs and gave him and his sister a good education. During his college years Shahrukh spent more time doing theatre than studying.
In 1989, post his successful debut in Fauji , he also acted in the well received TV series ‘Circus’ followed by small roles in hit Tv series like ‘Wagle ki Duniya’.
After his mother’s death, Shahrurk came to Mumbai, to pursue films and even to pursue his current wife and then girlfriend, Gauri.
After his TV performances he managed to get four films. In1992 he debuted in the film ‘Deewana’ which became a big hit and even got him a Filmfare for best male debut.
Films like ‘Dil Aashna Hai’, ‘Chamatkar’ and ‘Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman’, got him in the public eye for his energetic and fresh on screen presence.
A twist in the negative tale.
Shahrukh is a smart business man for a reason , he always knew how to weigh his odds.
In 1993’ even though he was getting a lot of love for playing the lead hero, he chose to play the antagonist in ‘Darr’ and’ Baazigar ‘ in 1993. He changed the anti-hero image in Bollywood. A Bollywood hero could play the antagonist. This even won him a best actor award for Darr. It was a risk but it paid off.
He was the talk of B-Town by now and in 1994, ‘Kabhi haan , Kabhi Naa’ even got rave reviews from critics. Followed by the1995 blockbuster mega hit ‘Karan Arjun’ confirming his place in the big starry Bollywood world. With films like ‘Yes Boss’, ‘Pardes’, ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’ and ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, the ultimate romantic enigma had been created.
And then came the game changer in 1995, which ran for decades ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’. The ultimate romantic hero, ‘Rahul’ was here to stay and slay in Bollywood.
What goes up must come down.
Shahrukh dealt with a tough phase during 1999-2003.
Some films like “Badshah” among others didn’t do well.
His ventures Dreamz Unlimited and srkworld.com had to be closed down. He had an injury in his shoulder during the making of Shakti. The injury not only hurt him physically but also sent him into depression. He dealt with physical and mental health issues all at the same time.
Post his mother’s death he has had a strange relationship with food as well.
She used to feed him by her own hands till the age of 25 years. I don’t know if this is sweet or codependent. Ever since then Shahrukh has had an issue with eating.
Post his injury Shahrukh had to get an operation done and had to cut back on a lot of work.
And then he came back up rising like a phoenix again!
In the 2000s with big budget family and romance films like ‘Mohabbatein’, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’. The critically acclaimed ‘Devdas’ and commercial successes like ‘Chalte Chalte’ and ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’.
Shahrukh has been candid about his acting skills. In fact he even mentioned in an interview with David Letterman “I realised I am not half as talented as I thought I was. If I can’t do it with skill and talent, then I’d better get into the hearts of people. If they are loving me, let me just be nice and good about it.’
They surely are loving him!
Even when he failed with Dreamz unlimited or his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders turned out to be a failure.
Even when Aryan Khan, his son, was arrested in an alleged drugs-on-cruise case his fans took it personally. People were seen praying for his son. Call it blind faith, love or madness. Shahrukh does enjoy a place in people’s hearts. Any given day the crazy crowd that is waiting outside his house, just to catch a glimpse of the star is awe inspiring.
Shahrukh believes “Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble” .
In the mid 2000s Shahukh learnt from his failures and Dreamz Unlimited was converted to Red Chillies Entertainment. With new zing and pep his production house gave successful hits like ‘Main Hoon Naa’ 2004) and ‘Om Shanti Om’ 2007). His dream project in 2011, ‘Ra-One’ , while a failure in many ways, set the tone for high standards in Special Effects.It even won a National Award for it.
His 2004 film, Swades was the first to go to NASA and remains the best performance by Shahrukh till date even according to critics. A string of critically and commercially successful films followed from the mid 2000s, like ‘Chake De’ , ‘ Don 2’. ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’, ‘Rab ne bana di jodi’
From 2007, younger actresses like Anushka, Deepika, Katrina and Kareena were all paired opposite him. ‘Chennai Express’ , ‘Om Shanti Om’, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ and ‘Ra.On’ . Thus, giving the audiences also some new flavour and feel from the Shahrukh Khan factory.
In 2010 ‘My Name is Khan’ and then in ‘Dilwale’ (2015) he reunited with Kajol and both did well commercially.
In 2016, he took on more mature roles with Dear Zindagi alongside Alia Bhatt.
His production house has started producing some very interesting films like Dear Zindagi and Bob Biswas.
His production house is becoming a name to reckon with especially as a VFX powerhouse. Infact, the 2022 RRR’s VFX are also done by the state of the art work of Red Chillies Entertainment.
Shahrukh has been doing lesser films in the last few years. It’s a good change to keep the audience hooked. His upcoming home production, Jawan, slated for a 2023 release will see him in a dual role.
With three children, one who is making his debut this year, a loving wife and a flourishing production house. Superstar Sharukh Khan has the ultimate life it may seem.
An eating disorder, 150 cigarettes, 30 cups of blaack coffee cups and insomnia.
A sister who suffers from a mental illness. There is a lot the King must deal with.
My birthday wishes for you Shahrukh Khan are that you enjoy peaceful sound sleep, relish healthy food alongwith the love of the common and personal people all year round.
Aur haan yaad rakhna, from the movie Jab Tak Hai Haan
“Jo dil jeetein hai, woh kabhi haarte nahi” –