It has been 25 years since Shah Rukh Khan has been ruling Bollywood (he debuted with Deewana in 1992), and he has acted in a plethora of films over the years. Ask the actor if new releases still make him nervous, and Shah Rukh says, “I don’t know if I am nervous [before a film’s release], but I am concerned for sure. So, it’s not as if I don’t sleep properly or am troubled [if a film is coming up].”
While Shah Rukh says that most movies “aren’t calculated” when it comes to how they are planned, he admits that some movies could be. He says, “Especially when it comes to our commercial films — which have song-and-dance sequences — they might have some calculations, as one does think of a few set parameters such as releasing it around Diwali or other festivals.”
But why is Shah Rukh concerned about how his films will be received even though he’s one of India’s biggest actors? “Mujhko concern rehta hai (I’m concerned), because you always hope that the film you have made and the story you are telling will be liked by more people, because you feel for it [the film]. On the other hand, as a movie star who has been around for 20 to 25 years, you also want to entertain people, and sometimes, finding that mix [between telling a story and entertaining] is difficult. Sometimes, it just happens even when we don’t realise it,” he says.
At the same time, Shah Rukh admits that film-makers and actors are always aware that they are “making a film with a good heart”, and that’s why they also assume that the film’s story will be liked by others too. “For me, it goes like this: somebody tells me a story and then I want to be a part of it (story). But since other people are also attached to a film, I am more concerned now. You start being responsible when you have been working for two-and-a-half decades. So, I’m concerned, yes, but not worried or nervous (smiles),” he says.
Just an actor
Shah Rukh’s last release, Raees, saw his on-screen avatar being compared with his roles in films such as Darr (1993) and Anjaam (1994). “It has been 25 years, and one day, I want to hear that Shah Rukh isn’t back as this or that (laughs); and that he is doing a new thing. I hope someday somebody will say it, or maybe, somewhere along the line, [they’ll say] I have done everything (laughs),” he says.
Despite having played a variety of roles, Shah Rukh insists that he is “not like Rahul or Raj, or like Raees or Sunil”. He says, “It’s just an act. It was very interesting the way Rahul (Dholakia; director) and the writers wrote it (story of Raees). Maybe other actors had done it, but for me, it was new.”