Shah Rukh Khan made his first on-screen appearance on the 1989 television series, Fauji. A second TV show, called Circus, followed, and SRK continued to do a few other TV roles on the small screen until he finally made his Bollywood debut with Deewana in 1992. However, even though he went on to become one of India’s biggest superstars, the actor is still fond of the tube.
Ask him what he thinks of the Indian television industry today, and he says, “I hope we can get into the zone of one-hour shows, short series in 10 parts, etc., like the American TV industry,” says Shah Rukh. He also adds, “What I have been made to understand is that TV’s reach is extending into the heartland of India more than ever before. So, TV series [now] are actually turning to those kind of stories (subjects that audiences from India’s interiors can relate to), which is very interesting.”
SRK also says that TV shows today have over-the-top storylines. “I don’t mean to go against television; I have been a TV star, but I feel some of the content is too dressed up for a certain purpose. For example, ek widow ki kahaani leke, uski do baar shaadi karwake… thoda formulated hota hai (If the story is based on a widow’s life, they will get her married twice; it works on a tried-and-tested formula). But then, who am I to say anything? I make formula [movies] too. Those are required for one’s bread and butter, but they can also be interesting,” he says.
SRK also says that he wouldn’t mind returning to TV. “I’d love to act on television again, because some stories can’t be told in two hours. You need 10 hours for them,” he adds.
However, Shah Rukh points out that it’s important to create content for different kinds of viewers. “India has a huge young population today. You have a lot of people between the ages of 18-35, even in the urban spheres, and we’re (TV) not catering to them as yet. There’s nothing for you (young audiences) to really watch, except maybe a House Of Cards or a Breaking Bad. So, [when it comes to TV shows that are made] in India, what do I watch?” says the actor.
Watch Shah Rukh Khan in the TV show Fauji
Shah Rukh asserts that there have been attempts to revise and bring in new content on television. “Anil [Kapoor] did well with 24, and Amitji’s (Amitabh Bachchan) Yudh was great. But since it’s a new market, it will take some successes and some support [to gain momentum]. But, it will happen,” he says.