Last year was quite eventful for Shah Rukh Khan, to say the least. He had one release, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, which didn’t go down too well with the critics.
His IPL team’s victory in the tournament was overshadowed by his scuffle with security guards at Wankhede. If that wasn’t enough, he also had to constantly field questions about an alleged affair and a slapping incident at a nightspot. Yet, the actor refuses to call it a bad year. Visibly exhausted when we meet him at the Nerolac Paint the Change event on Friday, he issues a lot of clarifications.
You look tired…
I am! I work a lot, so I’m bound to be. Fortunately, it isn’t taking a toll on me.
With an IPL team and a production house to look after, do you think it leaves you with less time to focus on good cinema?
I don’t do any of those. If you spend a day with me, you’ll realise I don’t do any production. I completely trust the heads of my companies. I don’t even look into stuff like costing. As for the IPL, I just go for the matches. Although I look like the face behind all of this (laughs), I don’t know anything apart from acting.
Where’ve you been otherwise?
I’ve just been working. I guess when people don’t see me attending too many launches, they assume that I’m away. Recently, I’ve shot in Goa and Wai and holidayed in Dubai.
Chennai Express is your only release this year. Is that a strategy now — one film a year?
I take a lot of time to make a film — 120 days or so. I like them to be big, and that’s not possible in a short span of time. The ones I produce, I try to make them quicker and then take a break. But the next film I’m doing, Farah Khan’s Happy New Year, is quite intricate in terms of casting, acting and dancing, so it will take a long time.You couldn’t attend your friends’ birthdays recently because you were working…
Yes, I’ve been shooting all night at times. I sent messages to both of them, but couldn’t make it for their parties.
But how important is it to have close friends in the industry?
Look, I came here to make films, not friends. I have a fantastic family, and I don’t need to clarify my friendships. I’m not going to tell you who I speak to over the phone. What’s for the public to see is myself, promoting the brands I endorse or speaking about my upcoming films. What I do in my personal time is not even two per cent of what it’s speculated to be. And while that makes for interesting journalism for many, my life doesn’t depend on what people write about me.
Doesn’t it frustrate you that you can’t change that?
No, the only thing that can frustrate me is the truth — stuff like whether my movie is shaping up well or whether people still want to see me on screen, among other things. These things disturb me. Not what’s written about me.
You had one release last year and a bunch of controversies to deal with. Are you hoping 2013 is bigger?
Why is bigger better? I’m enjoying what I do. Yashji’s (the late filmmaker Yash Chopra) passing away was sad, but I was happy that the film (Jab Tak Hai Jaan) did well. My IPL team won, which was great, but I beat up a few people, which wasn’t nice. Eventually, I don’t assess my success in terms of material achievements. I had fun, spent time with my family, my swimming pool at home is ready, so overall, I think it was quite a nice year for me.
Let’s rephrase that. How do you intend to avoid controversies this year?
I can’t avoid friendships, relationships and what I do, can I? I’m too old for that — not in terms of age, but the amount of time I’ve spent in the industry. Everyone wants to discuss what went right and wrong for me, which friend came and went away, but with all due respect to everyone, I don’t give these opinions as much credibility as you’d expect me to. You might write something about me, believing that it’s an important story, but I have to look at it like I look at my daughter and say, ‘Yeah she makes some mistakes, but I’m not going to hold that against her’.