Bollywood Badshah turns 40


Shah Rukh Khan turned 40 on November 2, crowning a year in which he has got not just the Padma Shri but also popular awards for three very diverse films — Veer-Zaara, Main Hoon Na and Swades.

To describe Shah Rukh as the single-most influential star-actor of the post-Amitabh Bachchan era would be no exaggeration. In the last 12 years, he has redefined Bollywood superstardom and also extended the frontiers of the box office. According to Khan, his efforts to bring social awareness should not be restricted to short films on cancer, polio and AIDS. “I think cinema is a very important medium of putting social messages across,” he says, pointing to his last film Paheli that talked about women’s emancipation but was not a “bra burning propaganda film”.

“I want the message in my film to be more fun oriented,” he says, recalling his early days with street theatre where ideas on family planning or dowry were put across with a “lot of enjoyment”. On his future plans, he says direction is too lonely a job. What he’d like to make would be a huge action film that would go over budget. “My vision is too wacky to be budgeted... right now, I don’t have a story to act in, let alone direct.”

From the Khan’s mouth:

• I don’t kiss on screen. Period.

• I work like a retailer. I sell my services, take my money and keep it in the bank.

• I’d like to believe there’s a little of Hitler and Napoleon in me. Even if I try, I can’t be as selfless as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa.

• I’m no megalomaniac. Even I found it boring to have an entire website devoted to trivia about me. No one’s interested in a one-man show, unless you happen to be an Amitabh Bachchan.

• If I talk to a girl, it’s assumed that I’m having a scene with her. If I don’t, then it’s assumed that I’m gay.

• It is stupid on my part to think of banning the media.

• Maybe the country doesn’t pray for me like they do for Sachin Tendulkar, but I know I’m on a good wicket as well.

• Recently an actor asked me to teach him how to speak fast. Wasn’t I once criticised for speaking too fast? Now they’re doing it my way.

• Whenever I fail as a father or husband... a toy and a diamond always works.