How Fauji’s director convinced Shah Rukh Khan to be punctual: ‘I ran after him with a stone’
Shah Rukh Khan was supposed to play the second lead in his TV debut, Fauji. Here’s why his Abhimanyu Rai got a promotion.Updated: Jul 08, 2020, 06:32 IST
Fauji was the show that introduced India to a dimpled youngster back in 1988, who would go on to become the superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Not many know that the actor’s Lt Abhimanyu Rai was never supposed to be the lead of Fauji. “But the camera chose him because it simply loved the boy,” the show’s director Colonel Raj Kapoor once said in an interview.
It all began when Shah Rukh’s mother was looking for a house with the help of Colonel Kapoor’s son-in-law Kamal, who dealt in real estate. She mentioned that her son was an actor and he said his father-in-law working on a new TV show.
Colonel Kapoor, who died two years ago, had said about meeting the 23-year-old SRK for the first time, “I was looking for commandos and he turned up at my office. I took a look at him and asked ‘You are going to be a commando?’ He said ‘Yes, sir. I will do the role really well’.”
To play commandos, Shah Rukh and other shortlisted candidates were put through a physically exhausting routine. “I took these guys, there were around eight or nine boys, for a run. I was pleasantly surprised that he (Shah Rukh Khan) hung on but half the people left and didn’t come back from the run,” Kapoor recalled.
Shah Rukh, famous for never arriving on time, was late for the shooting of Fauji too. “Once, I ran behind him with a stone and that put an end to his punctuality ills,” Col Kapoor had joked in an interview.
On his death, Shah Rukh had pid a tribute, “He loved me so much. Encouraged me. And today if I am used to being mollycoddled on sets it’s because of this man who made a ‘Fauji’ out of a boy, like his own. Will miss you Sir...always. May u find peace in ur new mission.”