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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

King Khan: Bollywood's betaaj badshah
Diganta Guha, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, November 01, 2007
First Published: 17:38 IST(1/11/2007)
Last Updated: 19:34 IST(1/11/2007)

Today is King Khan’s birthday. As Shah Rukh gets a year older what would be interesting is to explore how he has stood his ground despite certainly not being one of the most good-looking and versatile actors around. Yes, versatile he is not. And mind you neither is he great-looking. But SRK still sells.

Guts! And add to it tremendous tenacity and perseverance to reach his goal, is what makes Shah Rukh unique. Why are we saying this? It's as simple as that—Shah Rukh Khan did not become King Khan overnight. He has seen ups and downs, faced tremendous criticism and media-built competition from younger stars- read Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and even John Abraham.

But SRK has always bounced back and proved what he is all about. You know why — he knows what it takes to hold on to his thrown, come what may.

What has been SRK’s most unique achievement? People would list the number of hits he has given, they would harp on the fact that he has endorsed some of the most prestigious brands all over the world, there would be praises showered upon him for actually getting the better of his two arch rivals Aamir and Salman and being the superstar he is.

<b1>But in my view, his biggest achievement is the fact that he has actually taken none other than the Star of the Millennium Amitabh Bachchan on. Has he been successful? It is a matter of debate. But he is the only actor who has dared to tread a path already treaded by Big B. 

Look at his career graph and the picture is clear, intentionally or unintentionally, Shah Rukh has redefined stardom like the way Bachchan did in the ’70s. Shah Rukh started off with two clichéd roles in Deewana and Dil Aashna Hai. But rose to fame with his angry young man image or the anti-hero act in Baazigar and Darr.

The angry-young man image is something that we associate with Amitabh Bachchan thanks to his innumerable hits like Zanjeer, Deewar, Kaala Pathhar, Trishul and others. Shah Rukh too epitomized the angry young man that everybody identified with. And the fact that he coupled with it the image of an anti-hero also reminds us of a tall, dark and handsome young man burning with vengeance in the ’70s. You know whom we are talking about.  

And then came the phase when SRK decided to be a bit romantic. And he became the King of Romance with films like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai and others. And who can forget his on-screen tussle with the Big B in their first film together Mohabbatein. The last sequence when Narayan Shankar (Bachchan) with folded hands passes the responsibility of the Gurukul to Raj Aryan Malhotra (SRK) created tremendous excitement. Was Bachchan actually relinquishing the throne to SRK? Reel vs real — the drama was on.


Talk of romance, Bachchan smiling at Rakhee in the Ae re pawan song sequence in Bemisaal was the ultimate of romance in the ’80s. Bachchan did try to be romantic with films like Kasme Vaade, Bemisaal, Mr Natwarlal  or even in Sharaabi and many others. And he was successful.

Media reports that SRK and Big B don't see eye to eye have made headlines. However both have denied such reports vehemently. But there has always been a kind of an unofficial war between the two megastars. Perhaps people felt that if anybody could replace Bachchan it would be Shah Rukh Khan and Shah Rukh took up the challenge by first starring in the remake of Bachchan's 1978 hit Don and then taking over as the Kaun Banega Crorepati host.

There is no doubt that he was a success on these missions. And look at the way he is rediscovering himself with his six-pack in his forthcoming Om Shanti Om. SRK knows he is in his 40s and from now on the real test starts. Bachchan in his 40s was at his best and <b3>had the young going crazy over him. SRK too knows if he is to hold on to his fan base, he has to look fitter and younger. 

So is Shah Rukh deliberately taking on Big B? People close to Shah Rukh know how determined and confident he is. Perhaps SRK himself knew that he had it in him to interpret Bachchan’s achievements in altogether modern format.

Hence, Don, KBC and now the 31-star item song in his home production Om Shanti Om, which actually reminds us of the John Johnny Janardhan number from the film Naseeb picturised on Bachchan. That number had the biggest of stars appearing in it including Rajesh Khanna, Sharmilla Tagore, Raj Kapoor, Dharmendra amongst others.

As I mentioned before whether SRK has been a success in showing the new generation what he could do by stepping into the star of the millennium’s shoes would be debatable, but there is no doubt that Shah Rukh has proved what he is worth. And this is where King Khan real success lies. All the best Shah Rukh! You still have a lot to give to your fans.


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