They may not be the best of buddies anymore, but the baadshah of Bollywood has a soft corner for the reigning Bodyguard of the film industry.
Shah Rukh was his loquacious best while replying to a query on what he felt about the "phenomenon that is now the new Brand Salman Khan", at the 'Express Adda' event, hosted by the Indian Express, in Mumbai last night.
"These are my senior actors. They were working in films (for) about four years before I came. Aamir and Salman. Everybody keeps talking about us, the triumvirate," SRK said.
"We were as friendly as could be. And at times very close, I believe. Aamir, myself and Salman, we shared some really good moments. We used to go for drives and stuff like that. Sometimes you realise that a lot of proximity, closeness brings about you know... too much familiarity and we step on each other's toes."
Shah Rukh said, "To me, any star who does well, is fantastic. Audiences love the way he (Salman) dances. I can't do that. It does not mean I can deride it. I have seen Dabangg and I think it is a fantastic film."
"To be reigning for 24 years as a movie star is a great achievement. I wish, when I grow up, I will also become a great star like one of these boys," he said.
"I have a huge amount of appreciation for anyone who has achieved any kind of stardom. When it comes to someone like an Aamir Khan or a Salman Khan or even the younger boys, I think you have to sit back and say, wow, it is very cool and just appreciate it.
The actor, whose ambitious venture RA.One releases next month, said, "the pressure encourages you to think, that I am gonna try harder and match upto it. You have someone to look upto. I am humble enough and great enough to accept that," he said.
"People believe that because the relationships have soured over the years between some of us, one would not appreciate the stardom (of others)," he said.
Asked if he would join politics, Shah Rukh said, "I want to die an actor." "This profession takes up all my time. When I meet politicians, everybody believes I am joining politics. I say, why don't you believe they are joining films," he said.