Cut to Yashraj studio. On ground level, he's shooting for Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om and has already made trips to the lounge on the first floor. He smiles that deep smile of his, settles down with a cuppa, puts on his spectacles.. and yeah, so here's Shah Rukh Khan in a sporty conversation with Princy Jain
Sixteen new girls as your co-stars in Chak de India.. this must be a first.
After working for so many years, one becomes a little mechanical. The girls had never acted before. They would say their lines of dialogue in a completely unexpected manner.
It was strange for a while but then they sounded so very right. Often, I would say my lines, and asked them to react. It was all very unlikely and new.
Some of them must be your fans.. right?
Before the shoot, we had several reading sessions which made things casual between us. The girls must have been about five or six when they saw my films. They would seek my advice. During fun moments, they would kiss and hug me. We became co-actors.
Did you learn to play hockey? Or is that acting?
The game's not new for me, I used to play hockey in school. But when I played for the film, I sucked,I was really awful. I have no stamina left.. the technique of hockey has changed. Astro Turf itself is very tiring.
<b1>It's shameful to accept but this, I thought I would be able to beat these girls but they kicked my butt. While playing with them, I realised that it would be better if I use my status as a superstar and not practise at all.. (laughs) To be honest, I did Chak de because I wanted to play hockey. Since I lead a very protected life, it was very refreshing to be on the ground.. to feel the air brushing my and sweat trickling down my body. It was like getting a few days of freedom which I know of, but have not lived for many years.
Earlier, if I could run for 10 km, now I can't go on for even three or four km. But it's still so very important to have some sports in your life. I play soccer every Sunday now.
For years, you have been a conventional lover boy with crazy hair and moist eyes. Of late you have been experimenting with your looks and characters. Why?
I am just an actor. It's often said, "SRK decides his role and films." That's incorrect. I am not one of those actors who goes to a filmmaker, gets myself cast and then become a ghost director. I am an employee of my director and producers.
So if Amol Palekar asked me to grow a moustache, I did that. In Don, Farhan (Akhtar) wanted a stylish look, so I followed his instructions.
Here too, (director) Shimit Amin and Adi (producer Aditya Chopra) said, "You have never had beard." So I said, "Let's do it." But these are minor points. A look makes no difference. SRK will always remain the actor he is.
How did it go with the beard? You have always been clean-shaven.
Oh, a beard's very scratchy. When you wake up in the morning and take a bath, you still don't feel clean. I'm not used to a beard because I shave every day .
You wash your face and water sticks to your beard. It's very stressful. Also, I have grey in my beard and I have to keep dyeing it. It sticks on your skin, so it's not a very good pleasant experience. I hope I don't have to grow a beard for another couple of years at least.
Have you read your biography by Anupama Chopra.. are you satisfied with it?
I haven't read it. Anu did offer me a peep into the manuscript but I refused. I guess reading about my life would be very boring. Also I told her that if I do read it, I will want to change it. So I'm fine with the way it is.
But certain chapters talk about your links with the underworld. Are you fine with that?
It would be unfair to hamper anyone's creativity I have read Anu's other books, I have full faith in her. The book is about me.. and Bollywood through my eyes.
It's not about the underworld. I have received feedback from all corners of the world, saying it makes for an interesting read. I guess that's more important than anything else.
Can the SRK brand value make a film succeed?
I don't know.
Chak De India
doesn't have anything that works conventionally in the Indian film industry It doesn't have a heroine, there's no romantic angle, no songs. It does have 16 new girls, which is kind of unique.
<b3>It does have Shah Rukh which is okay but even his films have failed. So even that can go wrong. A good film is a good film. The SRK brand can't make a film good or bad. I have not created any brand for myself. Other brands have made SRK the brand he is. Every film I do takes away a part of my life. The brand SRK might not be that significant but that part of my life is. For that, I would want the film to have some moments of good cinema.
So as in sport, cinema is all about winning..isn't it?
No, it's not all about winning.. or losing. It's more about team spirit for the nation. Patriotism is not about praying for India to win and Pakistan to lose. That's a wrong perception.. and it needs to be changed.