Be it bringing the house down with his sense of humour, or giving a completely new spin to things in his inimitable way, Shah Rukh Khan never fails to woo the audience with his charm and knowledge. That’s exactly what happened when he spoke for the first time at TED Talks (in Canada) on Friday morning (IST). HT chats with him about his experience at TED2017, his IPL team and more.
You are the first-ever Indian actor to deliver a talk at TED Talks. How does it feel?
It feels very nice because over the years, I have been a big fan of TED Talks. In fact, it has been a dream to give a TED talk. Of course, I am not an innovator, technocrat or a scientist to ever imagine that I would make it to this platform. But I think the organisers were very kind and said that, ‘you please come and talk about India, what you have learnt from being an Indian and being a star in India’. It was a great opportunity. Also, it was a completely different platform than others that I have been to, and I am happy that I did a fairly well too (smiles).
Are there other speakers (from India or across the world) whom you personally find impressive?
I randomly keep looking for speeches from across the world. I think Ellen DeGeneres speaks fantastically. Also, I feel [the late] Steve Jobs and one of his speeches was brilliant. I also loved Maysoon Zayid’s recent talk at TED. She suffers from cerebral palsy and is a stand-up comedienne.
Actually, there are many of them. I keep casually searching for such talks. I also love some of the actors, producers are writers from Hollywood but to be specific, I like the funny ones. I don’t appreciate the serious ones that much (smiles).
On a lighter note, given an option, would you like to take up motivational talks as a part-time job or a full-time one later in life?
Yes, if they pay me for it. I will be very expensive (smiles). I know of American Presidents, who take lots of money to give motivational talks once they retire. Actually, I would love to, especially since I always wanted to be a teacher, if I wasn’t an actor. Once I reach an age and stage where I think what I know is worth sharing with the kids around the world and if people want to learn about it, I am most open to it.
I have done the same at Yale University (USA), The University of Edinburgh (UK), and a few other conventions where I was called upon to do so. And I will be doing a few more after TED at some colleges around the world.
You are a very learned and erudite speaker. In that sense, what gives you a bigger kick — speaking your mind or sharing your emotions (in front of the camera)?
It’s not something to be compared. In this world where we compare everything, I would like to stay away from comparing two of my most favourite emotions. I think I have an experience of a life, which is very special, not because I am a big star. I became a big star being who I was. And it’s important to talk about it and share things. I am mostly jocular and happy about my life; but I like talking to my children and I like to hear people talk and learn from different experiences.
What’s the best thing about being a part of such talks?
I like it when I can talk to youngsters. TED is a place where I get to learn from so many wonderful people, speakers and even listeners. Intellectually, they are extremely advanced. I would love to share my experiences with kids, and I know that I have a way with words through which I can make it (my talks) funny yet put across a pertinent point, which is simple and straightforward. I consider it a middle class way of looking at the world, and I want people to know that ‘simple’ is the most beautiful thing.
Did you prepare for your TED talk?
No, I am a natural (laughs). I am kidding. The theme, ‘The Future You’ defines Ted 2017. Chris Anderson (TED’s head curator) and Juliet Blake (TED Talks curator) were very sweet and told me that I was free to talk about whatever I wish to. But I tried to turn it into a philosophy of what Indian mind is, and how, for so many years, people have loved me in my country beyond the talent that I have, and in spite of where I come from and what I stand for.
So, I just wanted to explain to the people that ‘The Future You’ has to be according to the Indian philosophy. A person who loves everyone unconditionally like all the Indians do despite cast, creed, colour and sex. We are known to be a genuinely great set of people around the world, who love each other in spite of our differences and so many cultures existing in our country. So, I wanted to bring to fore that India is a land of love, and the philosophy that India has been following since time immemorial.
Does it give you a different kind of a high to participate in such talks?
I don’t know that but I won’t give myself importance about my ‘talks’. It’s quite a feeling to learn a 20 minute speech without having a monitor to read from, and feeling it, writing it, more than learning. That’s a different kick altogether. One day, maybe, when I write my book, I will compile all the speeches that I have made because they are very dear to me. I express myself very personally.
Normally, with due respect, when people from around the world meet me as a star, they don’t ask me these things and so, I don’t have the option to talk about some very personal and emotional things that have happened to me. But having said that, at the core of things, I am just an actor, who loves emoting, and being in front of the camera.
Your IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders is playing brilliantly in the tournament. You must be really happy?
Yes, I am. It has been a long journey of 10 years now. We have seen lots of ups and downs through the last decade. So, whenever we are doing well, it feels great. Inshallah, I should be back fast from Vancouver (Canada) and attend some of the matches. I really care for the boys, and the girls, the wives and their children, who have been working with us for years now. It’s like a family and you always feel happy when the family is doing well.