Shahrukh Khan has come a long way since his Darr, Baazigar days. The superstar talks about his upcoming film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, his kids, his future and lots more. Check it out, its work a read.
Question: You are now 43 years old. Tell me three things you didn’t know at 23 and at 33.
Shahrukh Khan : At 23, I didn’t know that I would be an important film person, I didn’t know that there is so much goodness in the world, that looks at me with such kindness, and I didn’t know how bad an actor I was. At 33, I didn’t know that I could play a school kid in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, or a college kid actually, and pull it off. I didn’t know how beautiful my children would grow up to be and I didn’t know that at 43, I would still look like 33.
Question: How have your fears changed from the time you were in your twenties, through your thirties and now in your forties.
Shahrukh Khan : At 23, I was fearless, I had nothing to lose. At 33, I was very conscious materially about the work that I did, I used to get scared of flops and hits. At 43, I only fear for my kids. If my son is jumping on the trampoline, I’m worried. I again know what fear is.
Question: Do you ever actually intend to fade out into the sunset?
Shahrukh Khan : Sushmita Sen has told me many times that I should sit on my terrace and watch the sunset. I don’t know what a sunset is. I have never appreciated its beauty nor have I derided it. I have no essence of sunset unfortunately and I also don’t believe in fading away. My father used to say that ‘Shama bujhne se pehle, last me flicker hoti hai, glow hoti hai.’ I think I’ll go off like that. I’d like to make the last century in my retiring test match. I also think actors don’t go away, actors are just very courteously shown the door. We are employed, I truly believe, by the people who watch us, not by the producers, distributors and the directors. And for a certain time our employers are very happy with us, and one day, the employers don’t throw us out. They just stop giving us important work.They will show me the door very decently.
Question: Actors often say that competition makes them more responsible. What does it mean to you?
Shahrukh Khan : Nothing, nothing at all, very early on in life I had decided that and I have written it in my book too. I will give you an example of sports because I like sports. I call it the race thought. I have told this to Abhishek and Hrithik too and whenever they feel down they message me to tell them about the race. It is quite simple. If someone runs a race in 9.5 seconds and I run it in 10, even if I want to beat the person I have to still beat my own time. I have to go 9.9, 9.8, 9.7, 9.6 and 9.5, all those are my timings, so in the end the competition is with myself. The race is not about running fast enough, the race is not about running hard enough, the race is about running long enough. Also as I have become a better person, calmer, quieter, nicer, mellow, maturer, I have never thought of competition. And so I have no competition.
Question: When something good happens to you, who do you run to tell it to?
Shahrukh Khan : Nobody really. If at all I do, it’s to my children because I feel that they are avatars of my parents. I know that’s untrue, but I believe that. There’s an old song which says that ‘when you finally come knocking there’s nobody home’ and that has happened to me. I have gotten over this desire to tell any one. Now my attitude is ‘Ye khatam ho gaya incident, lets move on.’ Right now my son, my daughter and I, we count our medals and have fun but they have more than I had when I was their age. But then schools have become more liberal with awards too.
Question: When you need a bouncing board, who do you go to?
Shahrukh Khan : If it’s about films I go to Adi (Aditya Chopra), Karan (Johar) and Farah (Khan). Otherwise my thoughts are all here in my laptop. I just put it down there, then read them back as if somebody is telling them to me. I write a lot, just thoughts, now this is going to be a part of my book. Creative thoughts, I tell my team. I don’t really discuss my thoughts with anyone. Not even my family. I am quite reclusive about my thoughts.
Question: You always say you are shy…
Shahrukh Khan : I’m very shy. I think 90 per cent of what I do as an actor stems from the fact that I am a shy person. At my own home, at my own parties, I’m out of place. Maybe, being the second child, I just turned out a little more shy. I am shy of women, and I’m shy of new people. If somebody asks me a personal question, I still blush. I have to take my kids if I have to go to a toy store. I can’t go anywhere alone, shop or travel alone, but put me on stage, before 10 lakh people and tell me to talk about life, and if I know an audience wants to see me, and know me, I can easily do it because I’m then someone else. I’m just an employee of this fantastic super star, not as talented as some other people, not as good looking as some other people, not as tall as some other people, but he is good, I like working for him.
Question: When does SRK the star sleep and when does the man wake up?
Shahrukh Khan : Whenever I’m by myself. I am a very simple boring type of guy just like Sunder Sahni in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. That space has been given to me by my family and my friends, they allow me to be boring. The star awakens when you put a camera in front of me. We are genuinely two different people. I say one thing and I believe it, and I have another thought about the same point too. Its not that I am dichotomous, or I am hypocritical but I just believe both the points of view. Mahesh Bhatt always told me that “you are schizophrenic” and yeah maybe I am. I am a controlled schizophrenic on the loose. Now as I am getting older I can understand it.
Question: How do you avoid the ivory tower syndrome? Do you even want to?
Shahrukh Khan : When you don’t have an ivory tower, you want to build one around yourself, I actually have it, and so I am at peace with it. I just do my work. My work requires me to spend a lot of time with the people that I work with, so I am really a little out of touch with other people. But that does not mean I am out of touch with reality because I know where I have come from, what I am, what humility and education my kids should have. My shadow should never overpower the personalities that they have later on in life.
Question: Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked what you saw?
Shahrukh Khan : I’m not very vain, once I have worn my make-up, I don’t even look in the mirror. I am not extremely in love with myself, neither do I hate myself. I don’t even comb my hair if I am not shooting. Once I bathe and shave, I don’t comb my hair. People at one time used to think that I am a metrosexual male. I don’t even understand that. I’m not given to anything that is vain, in terms of beauty treatment or whatever. I don’t even use a soap or shampoo.
Question: How has the perception of fatherhood changed for you?
Shahrukh Khan : Like I just said I fear for them and for me, like I never thought of life ending for me suddenly, but I think of it now. I am like ‘I hope these guys get enough of me’. I truly believe the cliché that there is nothing as satisfying as being a parent. I was driving two to three hours every morning for the last few days and one of the thoughts I had was, “Ghar aacha hai, aache picture bhi bana li hai, stardom bhi hai, paisa bhi hai, awards bhi hai, sab kuch hai and phir bhi karta ja raha hoon and never has the thought come to me that I should stop this because with all this is another thought that “mein yeh rokoonga to karoonga kya? The word actor defines me. This is what I am. But then a thought came to me that what if I stop working right now, I just dedicate myself to waking up in the morning, getting my kids ready for school, dropping them to school, wait for them to come back, spend a little while with them, study a little with them, try to put them to sleep, play games with them, I can lead the rest of my life like that. That’s what fatherhood means to me. My kids complete me. I love the purity of kids untouched. I like their rudeness and I like their goodness. They are so politically incorrect and they are so pure.
Question: How do you see the difference between lonely, alone, loner? Which defines you?
Shahrukh Khan : Lonely is nothing but a state of mind. You can feel lonely when you wish to, you can call upon lonely whenever you want to feel sorry for yourself. Lonely is your best friend who does not even need a phone call. It’s the fastest deliverable commodity as an emotion in the world. You can prolong the period, you can shorten it, and you can bring it back. Some people also use lonely as an artistic expression. I think it is really a tool of self pity with a nice word.I don’t know if it’s the right way to put it, some people by nature are aloof and listen to a different drum beat, they dance to a different music and they are happy. Loners are happy people. Lonely can be unhappy because you wish it to be. But loner is a guy who is not dancing to the music that you hear. So loner is nice, and when I want to intellectualise it, I can be an intellectual loner. I call it reclusive.
Alone is a good space. It is not lonely and it is not dancing to a tune. I think alone is something that you should utilise, as meditation, as self-analysis. I like being alone, a couple of hours a day or an hour a day. I do that in my bathroom. And not necessarily doing the things you do in a bathroom. My family knows about it, it’s a joke that Shah Rukh spends lot time in the bathroom. My bathroom is like a living room. My wife has made it like that. She says you are going to sit there hiding from all of us, then you might as well as well sit in a chair. I just relax and read a book. Sometimes I take a telephone, or a video game. I just sit down and I empty my mind which is also known in modern terms as unwinding. Alone is just to be. It is very important for some kind of a creative process also. Its also great to re-energise yourself. Alone is good, lonely is pathetic because it is self-inflicted, and loner is intellectual reclusiveness. Of these three I am mostly ‘alone’. And to turn a phrase around, ‘At the top it’s always like this, not lonely, just alone.’
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