25 years of SRK: I’ve no complaints, I enjoy all the trappings of stardom, says Shah Rukh Khan
Actor Shah Rukh Khan says he has managed to retain his innocence even after 25 years in Bollywood; adds that his children also find him “too simple”.bollywood Updated: Jun 29, 2017 18:40 IST
He attained the heights of success right at the start of his career, which started with Deewana’s release on June 25 in 1992. Twenty five years later, Shah Rukh Khan has scaled the dizzying heights of fame, power and sheer stardom. But the actor says he has “just started out.” HT catches up with the superstar about life, career and more.
Be it Diwali, Eid or your birthdays, you always ensure that you share special days with your fans, besides family and fans...
There are a few special days such as Diwali, Eid, or my birthday (November 2), during which people create such an environment that I have to share it with them. And I don’t mind doing it at all — with media or the people outside my house. I think festivals were designed mainly to share happy moments with others. I have started to get bigger opportunities to do that. Earlier, in Delhi, there would be family or four to five friends but now, family has become bigger — they are in thousands. I enjoy it, and even my family knows that. So, the essence remains the same but I’m fortunate that numbers have increased.
Do you ever miss the days when you were not a superstar?
Not really. Honestly, I don’t miss any time of my life at all because I still do the same things that I would do back then. So, I spend time with family and friends. As they say, jab se maine hosh sambhala hai (ever since I have grown up), I have been part of this [Hindi film]industry, and God has been kind, so within a year, I became a star too. So, I never really got to a point to understand what normal life is. It was anyways a bit abnormal with my parents passing away when I was too young. And at 25 when I got a grip on life, this (stardom) happened. So, I have never known any other life and I don’t want to know any other life.
You have completed 25 years in the industry. Do you realise how the years have gone by?
Not at all. About a week back, I was sitting with my kids — my son, Aryan is 19 while Suhana has also grown up — and Gauri; and I thought, ‘How have these 25 years gone by?’ I remember we had moved into a building on the Bandra Bandstand. Even Gauri was like, ‘How did the 25 years happen?’ So, in my personal and professional life, these 25 years have passed by in a blink. My family always tells me, ‘How do you do this every day?’ I feel like I started off day before yesterday only, so I still have the same level of excitement.
I feel like I have just started out. Even now, I wake up in the morning, go for the shoot, meet people and then people either like or dislike the film that releases. But the same routine repeats Monday onwards. Boredom also hasn’t set in. So, things are as exciting. I myself am shocked. I have a belief that you become somebody else when God gives you so much. So, I neither get tired or worried nor do I ever give up. There are a lot of people around me and new ones also keep coming in and I always tell everyone, ‘aaram se ho jayega, sab theek hai’ (it will all be done easily, all is well).
At this point in your life and career, do you ever feel that you have seen it all?
A lot of people tell me that I’ve done everything, but I feel that I haven’t done much. A few days ago, someone made a collage of pictures from all my films in the past 25 years, and I was surprised. I realise it [that I’ve completed 25 years] when I hear people talking about it, but I never sit and ponder over what has happened otherwise. I have never dwelled on yesterday. Sometimes, I am just excited by the ability to surprise myself.
I don’t think I have the best talent in the world and I am open enough to say it. But I surprise myself sometimes, and I am like, ‘How did this happen?’ or ‘This worked out very well’. I get very excited with small things. I think the excitement for small things is the best kind of excitement, but there isn’t much excitement for the big things. Big things take care of themselves. Even in film-making, I always tell people, that the role, the character and the great writing will take care of themselves, but the nuances that you are able to contribute is amazing. It’s the small things that excite you, and keep the excitement going.
For you, what’s stardom all about?
Stardom is an exterior factor. It’s not controlled by me. Why did I become a star? For the first 10 years, I knew that I am hard-working, good-looking, sexy and talented. Then, I realised — after first 10 years — that I don’t have enough of all these things to be a star for 20 years. One answer I know about my stardom is that ‘I don’t know [how it happened].’ If I knew that, I can tell my son to become one. I give lectures on success and failures, and what happened to me in my life but it’s not necessary that it will happen to everyone. I am not being cynical or [saying] that I am the only one it could happen to but I don’t know how it happened.
So, can we say that you wear your stardom very lightly?
At the end of the day, when you don’t know why you became a superstar, how can you attach importance to it? It wasn’t in my hands, what I had in my hands was working hard and doing new kind of stuff as an actor, which I have done and continue to do. If I have to go back in time and try to do the same, maybe, it won’t happen. So, if you do not understand how something happened, how can you stake claim over it? But I am happy and enjoy being a star and would love being one all my life. I have no complaints about being a superstar and enjoy all the trappings of stardom. Maybe, I am the most spoilt superstar (laughs) but I love being one.
When you watch your old movies, especially ones from the ’90s, does it feel like it was a lifetime ago?
Now that you mention it, it does feel like a lifetime. I don’t know when it all happened. Many times, I love a song playing on the radio, and then my assistant tells me, ‘Sir, it’s your song from that film’. And I am like, ‘achha’. But I have forgotten [them] not because they’re not important, but because they have become a part of my nature somehow. But I can’t recognise it when faced with it. Sometimes, when I watch myself on TV, I remember it with a feeling of nostalgia. But for me, even a film as recent as Fan (2016) was a lifetime away. I really enjoy the process of making films, more than one of them starting or coming to an end.
Do you think you have managed to retain the innocence and simplicity that you had 25 years ago?
I think I have managed to retain it, because my children tell me sometimes, ‘Papa, people don’t know this, but you are too simple’. I am not really into material things. From the outside, it may look like that I have a huge house and all of that, but I lead a very simple life. People who work in my house will also tell you that I have the simplest life. I have thousands of clothes and hundreds of shoes, but I wear what I want to and roam [around] how I want, but I spend the nicest time with my children.
I think I am much more experienced than when I began [working], but I think the innocence and simplicity I had back then is still there. When I am sitting with my team or even with my directors, I sometimes have more experience than them, so I can impart that. But I have tried to retain the simplicity of a newcomer and maybe that’s why I don’t know how to do a ‘planned film’. I choose Baazigar (1993) or Fan, because I felt they would be great. I didn’t use my head while choosing them; I didn’t think, ‘ki yaar kamaal ho jaayega’. So, the simplicity and excitement is the same.
In spite of being such a huge star, what has helped you retain that simplicity and innocence?
I’ve never believed that my existence and the things that I do are more important than who I am. A few years ago, I remember before an award function, I was told, ‘Can you please dress up a bit better and come?’ I was very hurt. But I still wore a suit and attended the event. Even now, I wear the same kind of suit with either a white shirt or a black one. The other day, I was taking Suhana to Gauri’s new restaurant (that she designed), so I told her, ‘Suhana, date pe jaayenge.’ When I asked her how I was looking, she said, ‘Papa, you’ve looked the same for 20 years now. You wear the same suit. How can you ask every time?’ I have never believed that there’s something more important than just me.
And lastly, what do you think is the worst thing about being a superstar?
When I was very young, I remember watching a young Madonna’s interview about what she wanted to be. Everyone was expecting a philosophical answer, but she said, ‘I want to be rich, famous and I want it forever’. I’m unabashedly like that (smiles). What’s the worst thing about being a star? I don’t know. I wish stardom upon everyone. It’s the greatest thing. There’s no negative to being a star as long as you don’t lose your hair. Then, there will be issues (laughs). Also, the power you get puts you at a position where you will never be lonely. Wherever I go, people meet me and love me. I think that’s the great gift of God: to be a superstar.
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