Ask the present generation of moviegoers, and they will unanimously agree that Shah Rukh Khan is as big a star as they come. But ask the man himself about stardom, and he says that it is a constantly fading concept.
As we meet him at a Mumbai event, where he announced his association with a new game show, he says he reckons yesteryear actors like Dilip Kumar and Rajesh Khanna had a lot more stardom. The man, who started his acting career on TV, also says he will return if offered an "exciting role".
Of late, a few Bollywood stars took up acting projects on TV, but they didn’t taste tremendous success in terms of ratings. What do you think is the reason?
It’s commendable when big stars work in TV shows. They are trying to do something new. The idea of using a big star is that the story of a show is so different that it’ll be better to get a popular face. Secondly, TV viewing is different... You can choose to watch films with friends, your girlfriend or your family, while TV is invariably watched with the family. So, the stories have to have a wider appeal, keeping the family in mind — from the grandmother to the young kid in the house.
Would you ever return to acting on TV?
I would love to, if I get an exciting role. Perhaps, I would enjoy doing a thriller.
Several TV actors in the recent past, too, have switched to films. They haven’t been successful either...
It’s not just about TV stars, but lakhs of newcomers who don’t make it in the film industry. From the 20 actors who try their luck in films, only one or two make it. I don’t think if you are from TV, you won’t be able to make it. Anyone, irrespective of where they are from, will make it if they have it in them. Ayushmann (Khurrana) and Sushant (Singh Rajput) had something special to offer. And the ones who didn’t make it aren’t lacking, but perhaps didn’t get the right mix at the right time. The stardom I got, no one else did, but if I try to replicate it, even I wouldn’t be able to do that. Perhaps competition today is tougher. I can’t tell my son, if he wants to be an actor, that you should do XYZ things to become successful. Moreover, stardom is waning. (Amitabh) Bachchan saab had more stardom than I do; Rajesh Khanna, too; Dilip (Kumar) saab and Motilal saab had even more. I am fortunate to have become such a big star, who people love. In the next few years, it will be like in the west, where actors are only considered professionals. The system of stardom will wane.
There have been rumours of your son Aryan’s interest in acting. Is there any truth to that?
I haven’t thought about it, nor has he. I don’t know if my kids will work in the industry. My parents didn’t have any connection to films, yet here I am. So why do people assume that an actor’s son will be an actor? My kids have been doing theatre, but many kids do that today. That doesn’t mean they will be film actors. They don’t talk to me about acting. I want them to find a job that they love, and I will support that. They haven’t decided what to do in life yet.
A lot has been written about your fight with Yo Yo Honey Singh.
I haven’t had a fight with him at all. He’s a sweetheart and a friend, and I haven’t met him for a long time as he has been unwell. I hope he gets well. I will surely call him soon, now that you have reminded me. I haven’t managed to keep in touch as I am not a very social person. I keep in touch with the people I am working with.
Why did you choose to host a game show on TV?
I find it interesting to ask questions that help us increase our knowledge. I do that with my kids and friends, and I chose to do this show as the format and concept were fun. Nothing as interesting as this show — India Poochega - Sabse Shaana Kaun — was offered to me, and also, I didn’t have the time to take up a TV show. Although I don’t have much time even now, I will work round the clock to shoot for this show.