I’ve always been shy of girls, so I don’t know how to romance in real life: SRK
Bollywood’s ‘king of romance’, Shah Rukh Khan says he doesn’t know if he’s romantic or not but says that he is very dignified; adds money has never turned him on.bollywood Updated: Jul 18, 2017 18:24 IST
Back in 1992, a young Delhi boy entered Bollywood with stars in his eyes and a resolve to make a name for himself. Little did Shah Rukh Khan know that he would end up redefining what it means to be a ‘romantic hero’ in a film. However, the effervescent charmer reveals he never wanted to do romantic films. In an interview with HT, Shah Rukh talks about his romantic image, being one of the world’s richest stars, and working with Anushka Sharma again in Jab Harry Met Sejal (JHMS).
You’re considered the ‘king of romance’. Does romance come naturally to you?
Not really, and I never thought so. I had no idea if I could do a romantic film. At least, I never thought I would. In fact, my first condition — to my friends such as Viveck Vaswani — to agree to do a film in Mumbai was that I won’t do a love story. I was like, ‘neither do I understand love stories, nor can I do romance’. So, I didn’t do a love story in my formative years. That’s why you see films such as Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Chamatkar (1992) or even Deewana (1992; his debut film), which was a very different film.
So how was the ‘lover boy’ image cultivated?
I go only by my directors’ beliefs, because I used to think that I wasn’t good at it [romantic films]. So, after a film like Darr (1993), Yashji (Chopra; film-maker) asked me to do Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). And then Karan (Johar; film-maker) offered me Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). I still don’t know if I can do it [romantic roles] or not.
But you return to romance with JHMS. Do you have to put in extra effort to bring on your romantic avatar?
I don’t know if it [romance] comes to me naturally or with difficulty. I recently told someone that since my life has been so beautiful in terms of romance and otherwise, I just feel it a lot more (smiles). Or, maybe I am very sensitive and a part of me is like a girl as far as emotions are concerned. I believe that girls understand love better, and when I talk to them, they have a very different point of view when it comes to romance as compared to men.
What explains your connection with love?
After my father’s death, there was no other man in my family. I had my mother, sister, and after marriage, a wife (Gauri Khan). And now, I have a daughter (Suhana Khan), besides all the heroines I work with. So, I think, somehow, I am girly in the way I think about romance and love. I am very proud to say that. Maybe, it all happened without me even realising it. I don’t feel that I am ‘girlish’ in a literal sense, and even if I am, that’s not an issue (laughs). Maybe, I am able to understand it [romance] and essay it better because somewhere inside, I am a lot like a woman (smiles). Somewhere down the line, I think women have had a lot of influence on me, and that’s why inherently, the ‘woman’ inside me is very strong.
Are you a romantic person in real life?
I have always been very shy of girls, so I don’t know how to romance in real life. I have a good sense of humour, though, if that helps. I can talk well with girls, but the problem is that since I have been a lover in films for so many years, most girls have an inbuilt belief that yeh aise baat kar raha hai toh romantic toh hoga hi (he’s definitely romantic if he’s talking like this). But I don’t know if I am romantic or not. I am very dignified, for sure.
How do you define romance?
First, I know that I will never cross the boundaries of decency with a woman in any way – no matter if she is an older or younger woman or even a little girl. I think being shy is romantic. I remember a lot of people saying that ‘girls love bad boys’, but I am not a bad boy. So maybe, deep down inside, girls like good boys (laughs).
Fame, money, power and an illustrious career, you seem to have achieved everything. What still keeps you going?
A few days back, I was talking to my son (Aryan), and he asked me about some films as he is learning how to make movies. He asked me, ‘papa, what time did you come home last night?’ I replied that I came at 5am. So, Aryan was like, ‘how come you never sit at home?’ I feel when you reach a level of achievement, you cannot sit idle. If you haven’t achieved anything, you start feeling like chilling. Every day, I achieve something absolutely new and better. I find that very exciting. And newness isn’t just about material things. Someone might love my expression in a film or a new song from my film. It’s (newness) a big turn-on and is very exciting.
How have you managed to retain the same level of excitement?
Maybe, success has a role to play. I guess you feel happy with success. God has been very kind to give me consistent –– with usual ups-and-downs –– success for so long. It makes me feel like, ‘I don’t know why I have got it?’ I could have got it all because of my excitement and hard-work. So, I will continue to be like that.
Recently, you were featured in Forbes’ world’s highest-paid celebrities list. In that sense, how much does money matter to you?
It doesn’t. And, I wish I had it in the first place (smiles). I wish I had that much money. But, I think they give rankings taking the valuation of the company into consideration. But I don’t really need lots of money. I think after a certain point post RA.One (2011), my family decided, ‘we are very happy, now just go and make your films; and do what you want’. I do just that. I want to keep on increasing the number of people who are working with me and I want to look after them. I want to make bigger, better and greater films. I am considered one of the richest actors, which may be true due to the valuation [of my company] but that’s never been a turn-on.
In Jab Harry Met Sejal, you worked with Imtiaz Ali for the first time. What made you say yes to the script?
I wanted to work with Imtiaz. He had narrated another story to me, which was a bit dark. I feel he is a very bright person and since he is younger than me, I can sound patronising too but I wanted him to make a happy film. So I asked him, ‘do you have something else?’ And, he told me that he has a love story. He narrated the first 20 minutes of the film and I instantly liked it since his love story is not like the love stories that I have done. I have also not done a love story for a long time now. Also, the language of Imtiaz’s love stories is very different, which I like a lot. It’s very interesting, subtle, quiet, not very underlined but extremely deep and somehow, ghar bana leti hai dil mein.
This is your third film with Anushka Sharma. What’s the best thing about her?
She is very earnest and I like this quality in her. Even if you notice the kind of films she is producing, they have a lot of heart. One of the best things that we both have is that even when we are sitting together for hours on a film set, we don’t necessarily have to talk to each other if we don’t want to. That shows the ease that one has with a person. A lot of comfort level helps develop a trust with actors. Plus, as actors, I feel we still have to discover a lot. I feel like doing something new with her. I like the fact that she is so honest. So, it’s an amazing relationship.
Recently, you called Imtiaz Ali, the modern-day Yash Chopra...
Obviously, you can’t compare anyone with Yashji (Chopra). It’s blasphemous and wrong. I worked with Yashji in Darr (1993) and other romantic films too. He would never force the emotion of love through dialogues or over-the-top lines. He would just make the couple (on-screen) feel like lovers. Imtiaz is also like that and is like, ‘you guys romance each other (on screen) and the scene will work out beautifully’. Sometimes, like Yashji, he understands that lines are there but the feelings can’t be explained. I compare him with Yashji because like him, Imtiaz also doesn’t direct love. He lets love take its own direction.
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