He has just wrapped up his quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati and now Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is about to take a long-due sabbatical to spend time with his family and work on a special project.
"I want to take time off with my kids and also work on a project that's very precious to me. I want our production company to become truly FX-savvy," Shah Rukh told IANS in a rare interview.
Shah Rukh is currently looking at various creative and business options for this project.
"When I am asked what next, then I guess this is what I want to do next. This is where my heart is at the moment. I want our FX to be comparable with the best in the world. Dhoom 2 and Don got it right. I want to take optical illusions even further."
He now needs to take a break but with a specific purpose.
"I want to spend the next three months honing up the FX in our production house. Have you seen films like 300? That's the level of special effects (FX) we should be aiming at. And I'm going to go for it," said Shah Rukh with characteristic enthusiasm.
<b1>As excited as ever, SRK says, "For me, there're no real challenges. I need to create them."
He has been in too many places at the same time. His hugely enjoyable stint as the host of popular KBC on STAR Plus is over.
"I'm just about done with all the episodes. I had myself a good time, I don't know about the others," he joked. "But I wouldn't mind returning with another season. Let's see, talks are on."
Talk veers to contestants acting cocky or nervous on the show.
"It happens...I took it all in my stride. For example, the lady who chose to say she wasn't a fan of mine. That's her choice and I respect it. She was a school teacher and probably thought of actors in a particular way. I respect that. What is there to get upset about it? Incidentally, she spoke to me after the show and explained her point of view to me.
"I was also asked why I gave away watches to some contestants who were eliminated and not to others. My watches, my choice I guess."
But Shah Rukh was very clear about the motive and purpose behind his interactions on KBC.
"I wanted the contestants to carry back that experience with them as a special one. Otherwise, there would be no real purpose behind the exercise. Yes, I knew most of the answers to the questions. But when I didn't, I made sure I asked Siddharth Basu - he and I go back a long way to the time both of us did English theatre together in Delhi, or someone else on the sets."
King Khan says KBC was fun.
"Yes, I like my work to be fun and I make sure it is. That's why I don't want to do the kind of films I don't enjoy watching. With due respects, I don't want to be in the so-called offbeat films. I'd rather do my enjoyable stuff. Farah Khan's film Om Shanti Om, which I'm now shooting, is again a lot of fun."
But family gets top priority. "I decided to see you now while my son has gone to his friend's birthday party."
We're in Shah Rukh's newly done-up office. And he is looking as boyish, exuberant and ultra-energetic as the last time I met him.
There are innumerable activities awaiting his attention. But Shah Rukh has the ability to make it all look disarmingly basic and simple.
<b3>"Sooner or later everything does come together. And there's no point in fretting over. I lost both my parents very young. That made me kind of fearless about life and death. Now I fear for those who are close to me. I fear for what such a loss would do to my friends. My father was a freedom fighter. He gave a lot to his country. Now it's my turn...but with the added perk of getting recognition in return."
He then pauses.
"People say I've gone through a lot and that the health and other setbacks are God's way of equalising my success, stardom, whatever. I think that's rubbish. God doesn't have an accounts department."
"I don't think my neck injury was in reaction to the successes I've had. Now I'm asked, what next? Frankly I've no clue. My journey hasn't been mapped or planned. Whatever had to happen has happened."
Coming up is another book on Shah Rukh, this time by journalist Anupama Chopra.
"It's a journey through Indian cinema in recent decades as seen through my career. Interesting and insightful because of the amount of rigorous research Anupama has taken on. I'm still amazed at the amount of interest my work generates.
"Either we talk about these interesting aspects of cinema vis-a-vis my career. Or sensational quotes comparing me to Changez Khan or unnecessarily harping on my so-called differences with Amitabh Bachchan can be attributed to me. The choice is entirely yours."
Shah Rukh also has his own memoirs on the anvil.
"I've been working on that for sometime. But I feel the need to add new chapters constantly. I'll just have to find a place to stop it."