Discovery Travel & Living trailed Shah Rukh Khan for over a year to put together a special ten-part series on the superstar. An exclusive glimpse into the first two episodes – a London vacation & Mumbai 24x7.
Much as I love Mumbai and Delhi and India, I think London would be my next favourite place on earth. I like the weather, the greenness, the cold. Normally I come here for work and holidays but I love coming here. There were two places in the world which my mom wanted me to see, one was Madame Tussauds in London and the other was the Louvre in Paris. So it’s the greatest moment and achievement of my life that I am in Madame Tussauds. She would have been very proud.
When I’m in London, I go to Hyde Park to play soccer with my kids and their friends. I don’t play unfair. Aryan will cheat a bit but he should not. Since he’s playing against the girls, maybe he wants to win but I think he does that in school also which is not good. I think this is his one bad habit that I need to change. You don’t cheat and win. You don’t lie and win.
You can tell the difference between boys and girls when they are playing. You can spend 20 minutes with the boys and 20 minutes with the girls. You may have fun with the boys but you realise life is best with the women and so I like to be with girls. And I want them to be really tough. At least the girls whom I know, they should be tough and should kick all these idiots around. Guys are a little dumb. I am sorry, I may lose some male fans but the girls rock!
I beat my children, fair and square, when we’re playing. I love them the most. I am the gentlest father. I could never ever hurt them in my life. I don’t think I love anything in this world more than my children. But I am ready to beat them fair and square – and I am very very thrilled if they beat me. Like I said, I am not talking about competition in films, I am talking about my own children. But it will take them a long long time to beat me.
I like kids; I like the company of kids more than adults. I don’t do baby talk with kids. I think they need to be treated like, you know, how you would treat a normal guy and that turns out best.
In a strange sense, as wrong and politically incorrect as it may sound, I like kids how Michael Jackson liked kids. I really understand it. I mean, for years I have understood. Obviously we are from different cultures. We think differently, we behave differently but I fully understand it and appreciate it because I am like that. I can spend the whole day, a whole month in a room full of kids. As a matter of fact, I remember when my own children were small, when Aryan was just five or six, I shared my biggest depression with them. I don’t like to talk to people about my sadness and I think the only people I have spoken to and that too when they did not understand anything were Aryan and Suhana. I sat them down and told them I am really sad while they rolled all over me.One of the fears all big stars have is what happens when all this ends. I think the cutest thing that my kids have made me feel is this: I don’t have that fear anymore. I have this fantastic plan when all this ends. I have the hugest thing to look forward – which is just being with my kids. Maybe they won’t have time for me though. Well, I will bring them up in such a way that they will bring me to Hyde Park when I am 65 and play football with me.
I can see myself at 72 when my son is giving me the cycle or a wheelchair. And I am convinced that my daughter will take me to Hamleys and say, let’s go and buy you a book. Or she’ll say, listen, I have got an interview at 5:30 and after that you come and meet me at Waterstone’s. She might be 35 that time but I know she will take out time for me. I think it’s one of the nicest things that will happen to me.
“Nobody in my house treats me like a star”
SRK was on a year-end vacation to Dubai with his family when we requested a short interview. Though he was on holiday, he agreed and we did this quick Q&A over the phone. Even as he spoke, one could hear kids shouting and yelling in the background – clearly having a great time. Shah Rukh told us that his wife and in-laws had gone out, but he’d preferred to stay back with the kids and their friends.
Excerpts from the interview:
What’s it been like, doing this show for Discovery Travel & Living?
Actually I don’t understand why people want to see my personal life. But it hasn’t been too difficult. If I found the crew intrusive, I’d just tell them and they wouldn’t shoot. Like I don’t like to be shot while I’m eating, so they didn’t do that.
You come across as such a devoted father. But is it really possible for Shah Rukh Khan the star to be a normal dad?
When my kids were much younger, they used to get scared when people would rush up to me. They also found it odd that their classmates referred to me by my name. Today of course they know. But they don’t think of me as anyone special. That has to do with my wife actually, nobody at home treats me like a star. My kids wouldn’t even see KBC (Kaun Banega Crorepati) regularly on TV when I was hosting it.
I’m a little reclusive. I hate going out. I’d rather not go to a party. Even now, seven-eight of them (kids) are around. Everyone else has gone out but I’ve stayed back with them.
Even my meetings… I did a meeting with Lalit (Modi) at an amusement park in Austria. We were there for three hours with all the kids in that park. Tomorrow I have a couple of meetings in the Water World park here.
This year I’ve mostly been home because of my injury so I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my kids. It keeps me young. The other day I was with Yashji and he suddenly hugged me and said, ‘You’re 44 years old but you’re just like a kid!’
I know your kids are, well, just kids right now, but is it a foregone conclusion that they will also get into films?
I don’t know yaar. They’re really into sports. They’re playing all the time and look dirty and unkempt. That’s the way I like them. It’s their choice. They have to be passionate about acting if they want to take it up. Actually we don’t even say it as a joke ki bade hoke hero banega.
You’re hardly doing any films these days. There’s just My Name Is Khan…
I got injured, and so had a lay off for a year. I’m feeling better now. In February I’m starting Ra.1, which will finish by June-July. Then in July, I might do a small film. In September I start shooting for Don II.
My Name Is Khan is so different. I think audiences outgrow similar kind of filmmaking. Om Shanti Om was an in-your-face commercial movie. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was about a regular guy. My Name Is Khan is about an underdog who triumphs. Ra.1 is about a superhero who can fly around. It’s a film very close to my heart. It’s being done by Anubhav Sinha. I’m also having meetings with Vishal (Bhardwaj) and Anurag Basu. Inshallah, something will come out of these meetings.
– Poonam Saxena
(The Discovery Travel & Living show, Living With A Superstar: Shah Rukh Khan, will air in February)
'Everybody has a cool van. so my wife said to me, why don’t you get yourself a nice van?’Time starts when I come to a place. I am not bound by time, otherwise I would never manage. I am never on time for meetings and I am very proud of it or at least I am not ashamed of it. I am disorganised about time but I know I manage to meet 85,000 people in a year. Genuinely, I am able to talk to 45 filmmakers in a year. I am able to do three films in a year. I am able to spend great quality time with my children. I am able to give full attention to my wife and my sister. I am able to do everything that I wish to do. So I have actually in a certain sense, conquered time which makes me feel sometimes that I may have conquered death, but that’s not going to happen. But I have conquered time.
My wife and kids actually started making me do this (waving to fans outside his house, Mannat). They said these people keep waiting, you should wave out to them when you are at home. So I did. I feel humble, I don’t feel any iconic status because of this.
It’s not a feeling which you can really express. I show a lot of graciousness and gratitude and say that it makes me feel really good, and it does. It makes me feel wanted, it does. It makes me love, it does. But I don’t know how to express it.
This is the closest anyone who does not know me, gets to see me really. And I want them to know that there is nothing special about this. I don’t dress up for this occasion and give a speech. If it continues for another ten years, maybe I will start out speaking to people through a megaphone. If I had a choice, I would start dancing out there and let them have a great entertaining evening. I am actually planning to make a little place there so that they can see me better. Put on a little music and do a little dance for them. So that they go back home with some experience.
A van has become a big thing for stars lately. Everybody has a cool van. So my wife said, why don’t you get yourself a van? You deserve it. You work very hard. So you must have a nice looking van.
So I had these people, like Dilip Chabbria, they were really sweet and they said that we’ve always liked you and we have always been wondering what we can do for you. We’re gonna design a very cool van for you. So it’s very cool, it stretches out. It’s really long. I still don’t know what to do with the second half of the van. I have a gym. I have a bathroom now which is clean and nice. I can keep my Ralph Lauren towels there, so it is nice. Feels like a star. I have a watch, which I can’t read without my glasses. I have my family’s picture which is very nice.
I have a computer and the seat moves. So whenever I sit on it and press the button, I feel like I am Don. I can hear the Don music, and if I wear dark glasses, I may have to shoot you if you enter. I have a bed which comes out, but I haven’t used that. None of the actresses have agreed to utilise it with me. I have come to the conclusion that it’s not the van that makes the man. It’s the man who makes the van.
Sometimes, a scene comes in me, goes within. I know I have lost a little bit of myself that day. In every film that I do, there are one or two shots I am very passionate about. Sorry, I may sound silly but I live a part of me in every film. I wake up every morning with this fear that, will there be a day when I’ll wake up and find I have nothing more to give? I have done 65 films, so even if I go by one per cent, then I have already given 65 per cent. So I am like, will there be a day when there will be nothing more to give? Will there be a day when I’ll be completely hollow and empty? Will there be a day when I will be really attempting to cry and I will cry but nobody will feel it and cry with me? Will there be a day when I will not have a third dimension left?