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Knight fever

He's about to start a new innings. And as with every little thing he does, there's unbridled enthusiasm, that go-for-it spirit. Shah Rukh Khan starts with his sixers and boundaries to off-spins bowled by Vajir Singh.
Hindustan Times | By Vajir Singh, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 16, 2008 04:35 PM IST

He's about to start a new innings. And as with every little thing he does, there's unbridled enthusiasm, that go-for-it spirit. With his IPL team Kolkata's Knight Riders pitched against Vijay Mallya's Bangalore Royal Challengers, the heat is on.

Shah Rukh Khan starts with his sixers and boundaries to off-spins bowled by Vajir Singh

Was your IPL venture a pre-planned strategy?
I'm a doer, I do a lot of things on the spur of the moment. I'm in a comfort zone. I'm a big movie star.. doing well.. life is good, my family is good. My production company is doing well.

Some are scared to get into new things. (Looks around his office walls) I've always believed in, "It should have been here. When did I last do something for the first time?"

I like to try, take chances. I love sport, this was the best opportunity for my company. It involves loads of money, loads of hard work and loads of risks and chances. That makes me what I am.

Why this love for risks?
If there's no risk, then what's the point of living? Life is a risk.

Has your IPL decision changed your life significantly?
It has taught me a lot. I spend my time with corporate people. It has taught me some managerial skills. I've to do a lot of things for the stars of my team. It has taught my company a lot. My accountant knows how to draw up new kinds of contracts. We have an office of 100 people now, they're suddenly into a new thing, they are all very excited.

Is it possible for SRK to be involved in every aspect of IPL?

If you like something you'll always find time for it. What's the big deal? We get 24 hours out of which we get 19 hours to play with. I could work nearly 10 hours for a film shoot, three to four hours for television and still have six hours for IPL. (Smiles) And there's still time to play with my kids.

But you recently said that you're having sleepless nights because of IPL.

I get sleepless nights when I'm charged. I wasn't sleeping because I was working round-the-clock. I've been doing that for 18 years. It doesn't show on my face, but I do it and I like it.

Isn't this the 20th year of your career?

Your first serial


went on air in 1988?

I started working way before that. But yes my first serial is 20 years old. I started shooting my first film on June 26, 1991.

Are you good at remembering dates?

(Smiles) I remember that date.. because it was Hemaji (Hema Malini) who took my first shot (

Dil Aashna Hai


Team owners are promoting their teams aggressively.. will it be worth it?

Finally, the best team will make it. All the teams are fantastic on paper. The team which will make it, will be the one which plays better on a particular day. As far as aggression is concerned, I spread love and not aggression.

I'm releasing a full music album of my team for the youngsters. I've sung a song in it.. after a long time. I want spectators to have fun.. a carnival time.

Don't you think the matches will have more glamour than cricket?

I don't think so.

If eight corporations had bought the teams, would you have called them glamorous? It's just that Shah Rukh Khan has bought a team. Shah Rukh Khan has not brought glamour to cricket, he has just gone and bought a team.

But yes, it needs all the hype it can get initially. Five years down the line, when you're older and I'm still young, you'll understand what I'm saying.

Seasoned cricketers have remarked that ICL and IPL can kill the purity of the sport.

I've no take on that. Lots of people say that the older films were so much better. Okay, so there was a huge hue and cry when the 50-over matches started. Did that destroy cricket? No.. 20:20 will have its own excitement.

Reportedly, the ticket sales have been disappointing.

Ticket sales started on Monday actually. Earlier it was only for the association. I think we've sold a couple of crore tickets of the eight or 10 crore we wanted to sell. The fever will catch up.

Would you stick by your statement that if your IPL team doesn't reap profits in a year, you will return to films full-time?

If my sponsors are not happy with something, I wouldn't run it beyond a point. I don't have that kind of money.. it's very expensive.

I'm just saying that if IPL doesn't become big, the central sponsorship will also go. Then you won't have this kind of money to sustain it. That's applicable not only to me but to everyone else. If IPL doesn't take off, then it's the business which doesn't take off.

Are you disappointed that Shoaib Akhtar isn't a part of your team?
Yes, personally yes.

Who has replaced him?

No one, it was at too short a notice. We're still hoping that after the tribunal hearing, Shoaib is allowed to play. He'll be part of the team, we'll wait till the hearing is over, whether it's before or after the matches. If he's not available next year, then we'll think of someone else.

Why not this year?

We don't need to. John Buchanan (the coach) says what we have is the best team.

Your captain, Saurav Ganguly, and also Ishant Sharma, appear to be back in form with the Test win at Nagpur.

We're thrilled. The newspapers have been saying South Africa lost the match because of Ishant Sharma. Saurav Ganguly got the Man of the Match award and played two great innings.

When do you intend to introduce Katrina Kaif to Ishant Sharma?

(Laughs) I don't know. If he comes home and Katrina is there too.. they can meet. He's a young guy and is very sweet. It was just a little joke.

Have you met all your team members?

They landed just yesterday and I've been shooting.

There seems to be cutthroat competition among the actors about who's making more money?

I've no idea what that others are paid. And I won't give you a clue about what I'm paid. I take what I decide and need. I've been doing ads much before anyone else.. in a big way. The other day the Pepsi guys told me that I'm their oldest employee in India.

Some of my associations go so far back, that I can't even think of disassociating myself with them in my mind or heart. They just come and tell me, "Shah Rukh next year's renewal." The contract goes and it's done. I've never cared to know about what others are getting.

Are you planning Shah Rukh Khan concert shows this year?
Not really. I like to do three films a year. Shows take away 70 to 80 days. I'm doing Billoo the Barber. Then there's Aditya Chopra's Rab Ne Bana di Jodi to be followed by Karan's (Karan Johar).

And then my next home-production which will be a big film. It will take a lot of pre-production work, it has lots of special effects. It will be a costlier film than Om Shanti Om.

Isn't that risky?
Every film I make or do is a risk.

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