Shah Rukh Khan on David Letterman’s show: ‘I don’t think my son can act’
Shah Rukh Khan perhaps had the best time at My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman as he spoke candidly about his life.
Actor Shah Rukh Khan got a welcome on David Letterman’s show that few could even dream of. With screaming audiences and a host that was bewildered by all of it, Shah Rukh arrived on the stage of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman with some nervous energy but his wit and undeniable charm made sure it was smooth sailing all through. The episode was aired on Netflix on Friday.
In the one hour long special episode, Shah Rukh talked about his movies, wife, kids and parents, something he has always been open about. However, never to this extent. Shah Rukh talked about how he feels he is not talented enough, how he chased after Gauri all the way to Mumbai when she left him, his kids’ dating lives and the impact his parents’ deaths.
Kicking off the show, Shah Rukh spoke about something he has never told the world. When David asked him about his kids, Shah Rukh says if there is one thing ‘he holds against his parents’ it’s that they did not spend enought time with him. Now, as a father himself, he wants to be there for his kids as much as possible. “So that’s one thing I decided. That I am going to make sure that I live very long, and I make sure that I keep on living with my kids and never let them feel they don’t have a parent. So any given moment I spend with them, I study with them, I sleep with them, I chat with them, I sort out all their problems, and I hate it when they have boyfriend girlfriend problems.”
He added that he always wants them to leave their boyfriends/girlfriends but he knows how to respond. “I just want to say ‘Just kick the person out’ ugh... But I say you know in life it happens that you have to give and take in relationships darling. I hate explaining it to her (Suhana). I want to tell her this guy’s no good. But I have to and choose presents for him sometimes, which is the worst thing possible.”
“‘Papa what do you think he’d like?’ He’ll like this one him (rolls his fist),” he says as the audience roars in laughter. David asks him if he has thought about what it must like be for the boy who wants to be close to his daughter, if ‘it’s a steep hill to climb’. Shah Rukh says, “I think it’s impossible.”
He also talked about Aryan and how he doesn’t want to become an actor. “My son doesn’t want to act and I don’t think he can,” he said. Shah Rukh told David about how in India an actor’s son is expected to become an actor himself. “He looks nice, he’s tall and...okay. But I don’t think he has what it takes perhaps and he realises that himself. But he is a good writer,” he said but revealed that he does not tell Aryan this.
“He came and said ‘I don’t think I want to act’. And his issue was, which I think is very practical and honest. He said, ‘Every time I’ll be compared to you. So if I do well, it will not be because I got skilled at this. It’ll be ‘oh obviously he’s his son, so he will do well’. It’s in the genes. And if I don’t do well, it’ll always be look at him. What his father did and look at him. What is he doing? So he said ‘I don’t want to be in that kind of position’,” he said.
Talking about wife Gauri, Shah Rukh again shared the story of the one time he chased after her all the way to Mumbai with no idea of the city. He visited all the beaches in the city in the hope to find her there and finally he did. To this day, Gauri cannot believe how he managed that. “I just wanted a break because he was extremely possessive about me,” she said in a clip shot with David at their home.
Gauri said her parents did not know about Shah Rukh back then. “I just kept it from them and we belonged to a very conservative family. Back then, there was no such thing as dating. It took a while for them to accept him. They came to Bombay and spent time with him and they learnt to love him,” she said. David agreed, “Well he is awfully charming isn’t he?”
Later in the episode, Letterman asked Shah Rukh about one particulary insensitive article published by a magazine on him. “You were in a film. Forgive me if I don’t recall the name. And the director was directing his wife with you in a scene where there was perhaps going to be intimacy. And the rumour printed in the magazine was that he said, ‘Why don’t the two of you spend the night, get to know...you kids get to know one another and them tomorrow we’ll shoot the film.’ And this was insulting, clearly, to you and to the man’s wife.”
“I got disturbed with it. And I was new,” Shah Rukh said, “So I used to react to every news item as you know, whatever appeared. And thankfully, there was no social media back then. Just the magazines and stuff. I got very angry and I called up the editor and I said, ‘You wrote this.’ He said ‘But listen can you just take it...it’s just a joke.’ So I said ‘I don’t find it funny’. So I went down to the office and I misbehaved a lot and...” Shah Rukh said he screamed and threatened to hit people. He said he was jailed for a day.
“I was shooting for a day and the cops came and they sat down very sweetly and they said, ‘We have a few questions to ask you.’” When Shah Rukh arrived in the jail, the place was so filthy that he pleaded with the cops to let him go and he won’t do it ever again. “It was a small little prison. With all, you know, human faeces and ugh...it was really bad.” Shah Rukh was let out on bail by the evening but recalled how he called the same editor who complained against him from the one call he was allowed at the police station. He tried to intimidate him there as well and even walked by his home at night for added effect. Wrapping it all up, Shah Rukh even poked fun at the episode at Wankhede Stadium. “I would have denied it but it’s on video,” he said.
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