His hair is perfectly gelled into place, despite the pouring rain. After all, he’s a superstar. We’ve been waiting for an hour, while Shah Rukh Khan wraps up a photoshoot. It’s late in the day, but the actor’s still beaming. "The rain didn’t spoil my hair," he says, as he settles into a chair and looks around, taking in the numerous fans being held at bay by his bouncers.
It seems strange to be sitting with Shah Rukh in a venue that resembles the sets of Devdas — at the entertainment hub Kingdom of Dreams. In fact, the actor seems dressed for the part too — he’s wearing a button down shervani. Can’t he imagine Aishwarya Rai running down the grand staircase behind us? "Ha! It’s nice if it reminds you of that, Devdas is a good film," he laughs.
The actor’s current obsession is his upcoming home production, the Sci Fi film Ra.One. He’s still trying to regain the 10 kgs he lost while working on the film. But that comes later, his first priority is getting the film right — after most Bollywood attempts at SciFi have been lambasted for being immature and unbelievable.
"Actually, I thought Koi Mil Gaya was good, Krrish was nice and Drona was good also," he starts. Really? Even a box office dud like Drona? "Well, in terms of special effects, I mean. We do need to improve our video literacy and learn from new technology. Another problem is that we don’t have budgets."
He’s the highest tax payer in Bollywood, why would he worry about budgets? "I can afford to spend on technology in my films at this point of time, and I feel that those who can, should bring technical advancement. Otherwise, we will lose younger audience. I am attempting that with Ra.One. My team is all international and their knowledge will hopefully set a trend in action films," he says.
In Delhi on the eve of his father’s 30th death anniversary, the actor seems a little pensive, faraway. We ask about his father and a long pause follows. A little while later, we wonder if, perhaps, if he found the subject too personal. “Oh, no,” he smiles, “nothing personal, just that it’s been so long... I can feel my father around me. I wish they [parents] were there to meet my kids. They would teach them a lot, and love them a lot... a lot more than I do.”
As our conversation draws to a close, a few fans gather around us, ready with their cameras. Shah Rukh the star is smiling now, and ready for the cameras too.