Superstar, Badshah Khan, King Khan, the epithets are many for the man who straddles the worlds of the movies, television, IPL, high power brands, international concerts..
And today he starts off with yet another brand-new Star TV show Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hain..
Excerpts of an interview:
It's been 20 years since your first appearance on TV with Fauji. Does that make this year special?
I don't think years are special. I can't undermine the importance of one year compared to the other. I lost my parents.. that was special.
But was that the most special year?
I got my son.. my daughter.. were those the most special years? The most special year is the next one. When I was young, I remember a saying outside my principal's office, "Count your time by friends not years, count your life by smiles.. not tears." I believe there are many more smiles to go.
<b1>As for television, it's good to be back. Inshallah when we do the second season of Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass… or whenever I'm called upon by Star Plus to do some work, it will be special. People ask me before a big release, "How special is this film?" Well, it is special, that's why I'm doing it.
Once TV mainly had either upcoming or semi-retired stars. But now superstars like you are changing the TV scenario.. would you agree?
Television doesn't become exciting because I'm in it. TV's exciting and that's why I'm in it. Monetarily, it's the fastest growing media industry I remember when television came in, 70 per cent of the shows were movie-based.
Now that content is just about 40- 45 per cent.. which is fantastic. Television had one-third of the film industry's budget of Rs 5000 crore a year. In the second year, it was Rs 15000 crore. So television cannot be small.
Do you get time to watch TV?
No. I just watch the news at maybe 2 am. But I do get to see some TV with my kids, which is mostly cartoons. Once Paanchvi Pass starts I'll watch that as well.
<b2>Okay, tell all about the Paanchvi Pass… experience.
It's much harder work than films. It requires a huge amount of concentration because it's ‘live'. You need to be on your toes, all there. I like that sort of stress. I can work for 72 hours without sleeping. I can shoot, jump, dance and fight for the movies.
Here we take about an hour to shoot an episode, and at the end of it, I'm so tired physically. I just want to go home, have a shower and go off to sleep with the kids.
Do you have any memories of yourself in the fifth grade?
I have very clear memories of most of my schooling. I was in the fifth standard.. my class teacher was Ms Raisinh. Saying this makes you very unpopular with children but I liked my studies.
Kaun Banega Crorepati3, you had mock quiz sessions with friends.
Did you do this again?
I had some of the kids from the show and my son's friends coming in. I've been playing before the rehearsals. Preity (Zinta) came in too. Farah (Khan) couldn't because she'd just had her babies.
The questions in
… really embarrass you because they're from class one to five. In
you would feel, it's okay, I'm not supposed to know this.
On the sets of
KBC 3, you handed out watches and copies of
Still Reading Khan.. will you be handing out surprise gifts again?
There were a lot of crutches added to
because it had already been done and done in the best possible way by Mr Bachchan. The idea was to bring some kind of novelty to it. But
is so novel, I didn't need crutches.
As for the surprise gifts, in KBC 3, when the younger guys came in, I'd read a question and I'd be like, "Aaargh this one." This guy is young, he's got big dreams and he's giving the wrong answer.
I have a soft spot for youngsters. So I wanted them to go back with something even if it wasn't money. On Paanchvi Pass, the contestants are like, if we can't answer this, we don't deserve anything.
<b3>How have the contestants been so far?
Apart from the children, women have been the most intelligent ones.. they comprise 80 per cent of the participants. Earlier, we thought the girls were coming in because I was on it. Later we realised that girls are just purely more intelligent.
How do you teach your kids at home?
I make them go through these treasure hunts around the house. I hide the answers with leading questions. Which is the tallest mountain in the world which has snow on it? Where would you find snow in the house? And they'll go to the refrigerator where they'll find the next clue.
Actually now it's become quite difficult because every weekend, my son's friends turn up saying, "Uncle, can we go on a treasure hunt?" Now, I've run out of new questions and places in my house.
What do you aim to achieve with Paanchvi Pass?
When I was hosting KBC 3, I used to think, if I can get six people to read up stuff on the net, I've made it work. With Paanchvi Pass, I hope I can get people to understand that education can be entertaining. We shouldn't pressurise a child saying, "Chalo, baitho, padho." That's the worst thing to do.
There were times when I wasn't prepared for an exam and my dad would tell me, "It's okay, go ahead just have fun." Also, I want kids to know that there's nothing wrong in saying, "I don't know." It's the world's nicest sentence.
If you can't accept that, you will never want to know. I think parents should understand this. And this show tells you that okay, your father doesn't know, your mum doesn't know. So it's okay not to know.
Will we be seeing the six-pack again?
No, it's a family show. But there was a lady who told me she wanted a six-pack. So I showed her how to do crunches.
Any questions that flummoxed you?
Lots of them. How many legs does a butterfly have? There's another question, you'll remember the answer when I tell you.. what're the little pores on leaves called? Stomata.
Also this format doesn't have multiple choice. KBC 3 has become a generic show for quizzes in India. We always presume that there will be ABCD.
The first few times, I'd ask a question and there would be no answer. The contestant would look at me.. isn't there something more you're going to tell me? And I'd go nope, that's it.
Are you paanchvi pass se tez?
I have no misconceived notions that I can be smarter than a kid. I don't compete with kids. If in the movies, you have to accept defeat from children. So, no I'm not paanchvi pass se tez at all.