Speaking on his intolerance remarks and the box office collection of his latest film, Dilwale, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan maintained that he had not said anything which merited an apology, but regretted that the box office collection of Dilwale was adversely affected due to protests by those who “misinterpreted” and “misconstrued” his comments.
“I have not said anything that I should apologise (for). I will fall in my own eyes if I do that,” Shahrukh said at a media meet to promote his latest film Dilwale. Agonised over protests against the film directed by Rohit Shetty, SRK said it made him sad when his work did not reach the people as that was the only way he could return the people’s “love” for him, and appealed to his fans to watch and enjoy the movie. “I can’t deny the fact that I’ve been reading messages on Whatsapp. I’ve been reading messages on social media, and even on ground that there has been activity all over the country, where the film has been stopped, and not allowed. Yes, box office collections have been hit, I don’t know exactly the places. But they have been,” he further said.
Shah Rukh said his comments on the intolerance issue was not represented properly. “At some point of time, I do regret people could not understand what I said. It was not represented properly. If anybody feels bad about it, I regret it completely. I just want to wish that all the people who wish to see the film on their own, please go out and see it. Don’t get misled by people who perhaps misconstrued what I am saying, so I regret that this has happened. I feel extremely sad,” the 50-year-old actor said.
“I apologise if somebody got disturbed, please go out and enjoy the film because it’s not me, there are thousands who have made it with a lot of love. (It’s) too hard for me to understand why something that we make for your happiness would somehow turn into something that becomes controversial or tainted,” he added.
Angered by Shah Rukh’s statement on ‘religious intolerance’, Bajrang Dal activists opposed the film’s screening in Araria and Patna districts of Bihar. Protests also took place in Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Jabalpur, Pune and many places in Rajasthan.
“I have been an actor for 25 years in this country. I would like to say I received love from every corner of the country, in spite of religion, region, caste, creed, gender. And the only way I can return the love is through my work. And I try my best to do that. I succeed some times, and sometimes I fail, but I try my best to do that. So it saddens me when any of my work can’t reach the people, because I do work two or three times a year. It is saddening.”
There have been images of the superstar in the social media which Shah Rukh found offensive. He said he has even been linked with people he doesn’t have any links with. “A lot of the things I say are misconstrued perhaps, misrepresented, perhaps misinterpreted sometimes. And I am not someone who can sit here and say... this amazing amount of love from my countrymen and women... I have any issue with it in terms of tolerance and intolerance. So I don’t. But of course like the other day, I was sitting in and somebody put a tweet which does not belong to me. And I can’t clarify,” he added.
“I see a news which say I am related to an X person who is entirely against my country but that’s not true. I have no logistic way to explain all this, at my stage and age. I am a representative of my own country and I am thankful to everybody, but I can’t keep explaining that,” he added.
Shah Rukh Khan also said he was happy that his Dilwale was liked by people but added that he didn’t read the reviews. Some critics have panned the film, while many have given average ratings for the Rohit Shetty film. SRK said, “Popular films usually have this logic. They are a popular, blockbuster, in your face, masala film. There are a lot of elements, which are beyond critical and artistic acclaim. But according to me, such films should be liked by the audience. I’m happy that the critics have liked it and disliked it, though I don’t read it. But beyond that, the film we want to make is for a target... the audience, and as long they like it, I’m very happy. But all the views and all the reviews, god bless them all, I don’t read them.”
The collections of Dilwale way behind what films like Happy New Year and Chennai Express earned at the box office. “In some places, there were situations where all families couldn’t venture out. But we have made the film for families and I am hoping that the situation improves and all come to watch the film,” Shah Rukh said.
Dilwale also stars Kajol, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon among others.