Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai

In 2003, he was once again the undisputed emperor of the box office. But Shah Rukh Khan remains supremely impervious to his stardom. “I look only into the present. At the moment I’m only focussing on this interview. I don’t measure my success by the number of hits,” Shah Rukh told.

Not that he’s not happy about the success of ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, but he believes it would have been just as successful without him. “It’s a finely crafted film. Without being over-modest I’d like to say everyone and everything from Saif (Ali Khan) and Preity (Zinta) to the story and songs are very nice. I’m sure it would’ve been a huge success without me.

“The narrative style is remarkable. The energetic narration is applied to a plot that addresses itself to death. Isn’t that amazing? It talks about a gradual death in such a fast-paced narrative. It talks about sadness and is yet so happy in spirit.”

Shah Rukh describes ‘Kal Ho...’ as ‘awfully good’. “When I say it’s an awfully good film I mean it’s about the awful reality of death and yet it makes you feel good. It was a great opportunity for me. I played a guy who’s dying. I got all the sympathy votes. It was a sad film at heart, I haven’t showed it to my children.

“I had great lines and a great supporting cast. So what do people mean by saying the film wouldn’t have been like this if I hadn’t starred in it? I think the film would’ve been even better without me.”

He is also very happy about the inherent

appeal of Rakesh Roshan’s ‘Koi...Mil Gaya’ for youngsters.

“I saw ‘Koi...Mil Gaya’ with my children. It’s a very sweet film. Such films should be made regularly for kids.

“’Munnabhai M.B.B.S.’ is again good. I like doing and watching happy films. I’m an entertainer. I like making people happy.” Shah Rukh’s next release will be choreographer Farha Khan’s ‘Main Hoon Na’.

“It is the story of two brothers. I play the illegitimate child. Zayed Khan is my sibling. It’s like the 1980s’ blockbuster. It’s got in-your-face action-romance. Farha Khan has gone to Manmohan Desai for inspiration. Insha Allah (god willing), ‘Main Hoon Na’ will come out in April-May 2004. It’s a co-production by my company and Venus.

“This year I won’t be producing another film. I’ll just concentrate on acting in Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Swades’ and Yash Chopra’s film. At the year-end I’ll do Karan Johar’s next directorial venture.”

Shah Rukh says the biggest gift he received in 2003 was in-sync sound. “It improved my performance in ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ considerably. I think live sound is one of the biggest blessings for an actor. Since it involved too many noisy outdoor locations, ‘Main Hoon Na’ isn’t in-sync sound. But ‘Swades’ and Yash Chopra’s film are. I’d suggest it for all my films.”

The mega-star says he doesn’t know what the Yash Chopra film is about. “I honestly don’t know. I read about my role in the papers. I trust Yash Chopra implicitly. I just go on the sets and ask his son Aditya what to do. I’ve stopped listening to scripts. I don’t have to worry about these things when I’m working with people who’re much bigger, far more hardworking and intelligent than I am.

“I did ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ without knowing about my role. Karan Johar never gave me a narration. Since I played a stranger who comes into the characters’ lives this approach suited me fine.”

Shah Rukh is trying to put his back injury and the much talked-about surgery behind him. “I would say I’ve recovered quite a lot. I’ve done ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ and Farha Khan’s ‘Main Hoon Na’ after the surgery. Instead of jumping and somersaulting, I guess I’ll have to depend on my acting skills a little more.”