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Rockin' with Shah Rukh Khan

Discussion in 'Oldies But Goldies **HOT**' started by Bridget, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. Bridget

    Bridget Well-Known Member

    Rockin' with Shah Rukh Khan
    May 2002

    He's in the holiday mode. The first he's taken in ten years. No, Shah Rukh Khan isn't taking a hiatus to figure out who he is. He was born with that knowledge. He's just pausing for the world to catch up with him. At his Dreamz office, things are pretty quiet. The office runs like a well-oiled machine. Thanks to SRK's management doctrine. He's nursing an injured back. So I naturally enquire:

    You've been unwell for long. What's the problem?
    In layman's terms, it's a slipped disc. Between each vertebra there's a cushion-like disc. A disc in the cervical C6- C7 area has moved because of an impact. And it's growing and pressing on a nerve. It's very painful. The doctors call it a prolapsed disc with herniation. They worry that if it moves further, it could harm the spinal cord. Then it can lead to more complications. No one really knows what will happen. It's never known to hit the spinal cord. But the danger is always there.

    What are the doctors saying?
    The doctors aren't saying anything. The worst is that I'll have to undergo surgery. And the best is that I'll get well on my own.

    What's the risk involved in the surgery?
    It's a micro surgery. It's done from near the throat. It's supposed to be 95 per cent safe. There are no after effects. For the doctors it's a minor thing. It's a three-and-a-half hour for the operation. It's a micro surgery in terms of the incision. It's almost a bloodless surgery. They take out the affected disc and replace it with a titanium disc.

    How does this affect your career? Will it curtail your mobility?
    Not at all. All rugby players have to go through it. And they continue playing. All dancers have it in Las Vegas. Ninety nine per cent of the people who've gone through the surgery are absolutely allright. If you do the surgery you don't have to worry about anything. If I don't do it, I'll have to worry constantly. If I want to do stunts on screen, I have to be operated. No one seems to have had a bad experience. So I should be alright if I do it. It's just that right now, I'm trying out all alternative therapies.

    What else is happening with you?
    Right now, I'm on holiday. But it's a waste. Because I can't do the things I want to do. All my plans have gone haywire. It's become a forced holiday. Of course, I'm spending a lot of time with my kids. I've even built a bird house with Aryan. But I can't really devote much time to them. Because I'm in pain. I look at things positively. Maybe this was meant to happen. Maybe it was time I rested a bit. It's the first time you've taken a holiday in ten years. Yeah. Long back, I'd told myself that I would take a holiday after I'd completed ten years. So when I finished the last schedule of Devdas in January, I said that's it. I'm not signing any more movies. I explained to people. Of course, most of them thought that I was saying no to them in my way.

    You're spending a lot of time at your office these days.
    I'd never bothered about running an office earlier. I've always thought of myself as a creative guy. But if I can creatively manage an office, it would be great. We are trying to find a modality by which we can run an office. Normally, there's a head and then there are managers in an office. But in our case, we are the head and the managers. And we are not there all the time. We've been discussing this, looking at things, cutting down costs. It's just nicer to start detailing what you've started. Earlier if we had a problem, Yash (Johar) uncle handled it or Juhi and Aziz did. I was never involved. Maybe this holiday is god's way of telling me that I need to finish things I've started. Whether it's my kids, whether it's the legal problems of my house or whether it's the management of the office. I started them all, I need to give them time.

    What's your verdict on Devdas?
    I think it was a great way of making a film. It taught me that what you start, you should do well. Devdas went through all sorts of problems: financial, dates, subject. But it taught me that if your eyes are set on something, then God will see you through.

    How relevant is Devdas in today's times?
    Two things are relevant in a film: its entertainment value and its story. I think Devdas has them both. Okay, the film is set in the '40s, the main character wears a dhoti, it's about an alcoholic. But these are just a part of the story. It's about a guy who loves a woman and can't forget her. And that has relevance in all times. I've never given my son Arabian Nights. I felt it's irrelevant in modern times. But then Harry Potter is actually Arabian Nights. It's about sorcery, about magic. It's got huge lizards, flying carpets. It's a modern version of the Nights. Similarly, Devdas is the modern version in terms of its presentation.

    You think the modern ambitious youth will identify with a man who gave up his life for love?
    My mother used to tell me a story of a crow who wanted to drink water from a beaker. He kept throwing in pebbles till the water level rose. Now my son watches movies like Batman, Superman, Spiderman. He knows words like `fundamentalist', `reprimand,'and `idea' at the age of four. He understands concepts, which I didn't at his age. But his favourite story is still that of the crow. Maybe when I tell him the story, I add on things like the crow called up Batman and asked, "What shall I do now?" So you make it a little more interesting and understandable to his age. I like to think of Devdas like that. Its simplicity, its oldness is its USP. The fact is that Devdas never dies. Why is it that someone like Sanjay Leela Bhansali or Shakti Samanta gets up one fine morning and decides to make it? There are so many other great films. But you'll never see so many people making them so often. So there must be something to it. I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked the TV promos. Why would you find the trailer nice if it was something you didn't want to see? If Devdas fails, it would be easier to say that it wasn't relevant, people didn't accept SRK in a dhoti or Madhuri as a nautch girl. Alcoholics are no longer accepted. But those would just be excuses. There are a lot of popular TV serials and movies which I watch. But I don't find them relevant. How many houses are like the one in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham? Or how many families? How many lovers are like the protagonists in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge? To me, Devdas is the end of love stories. I've portrayed an obsessed lover, a nice lover, an angry lover, a romantic lover. And now I've played Devdas. (Grins) For someone who doesn't even like love stories, I've played an awful lot of lovers. Personally speaking, I wouldn't see any of the romantic films I've acted in.

    Really. Wohi love story to hai.

    How important are box office collections to you?
    Not much. Once you've done so many films and have been around for years, these things don't matter. Collections are for youngsters. I read interviews where actors say my film has collected more than his film. I'm not going to talk like that. To me, the film I'm in should look like a film. Hopefully, Devdas will be the film of the year. I can confidently say that in the last few years, I've been a part of every film that has made an impact on Indian cinema. To me that's important.

    You're saying that the super-collections of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham don't thrill you?
    Looking after box office collections is not my job. Besides, K3G was always meant to be a super-duper hit. It would have been a hit with or without me. Karan Johar is perhaps the most intelligent director in the country in terms of commercial cinema. And I like the fact that he isn't apologetic about it. See, you can't make a Rs 50 crore film, unless you're sure it'll fetch you Rs 100 crores. If you make a Rs 5 crore film, you can take a chance like Asoka. But with an expensive film, you can't leave anything to chance.

    You think that would have been possible without his principal actors?
    All that is a part of the make-up. Some critics said bina actors ke picture nahin chalti. But why should he make a film without actors? Firstly, I would like to ask, whether there's any other director all these actors would have worked for. Is there any other director for whom Hrithik and Kareena would say, "We knew the script. It wasn't about us. But we still did it and it turned out better than we expected." Is there any other director for whom Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan would come together again? Is there any other director for whom Kajol would do that one film? Is there any director to whom Shah Rukh would say I don't want to hear the story, just make the film? To be able to think so big for an idea so small and then present it with so much elaan and carry it off at the box office, I think you have to be the most intelligent director of all.

    Go on
    You can't be mean to K3G, vis-a-vis Karan Johar. To make a simple hero-heroine film is so difficult. People tell me that K3G is perfect. Imagine the effort that must have gone in to make sure that there's not a single patchy scene. As a producer or a director, I would never ever work with so many stars. I would die before even thinking about it. I look down upon it because I can't achieve it. I think it's silly to work with so many stars because I can't do it. It's a case of sour grapes with me. The credit for K3G goes to Yash uncle more than Karan. He could have played it safe. He could have made a film with Shah Rukh and Kajol. It would have taken a great opening after Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. It would have been cheaper, less stressful. And even if it had done less business than K3G, it would certainly have been more talked about.
  2. Bridget

    Bridget Well-Known Member


    What challenges you as an actor?
    I was doing three shifts a day. I would shoot for Asoka from 6-9 a.m.. Then I'd shoot for K3G from 9 to 6 p.m. and for Devdas from 7 to 5 a.m. I did this for 4-5 days at Film City. It was quite an experience. People can turn around and say that's no way to work. But just imagine, I was four split personalities for so many days. For those few days I was genuinely an actor. I was donning new garbs. In the morning, I'd to kill Sukhat for Asoka. In the afternoon, I had to mouth funny lines for K3G and at night I had to do a drunk scene for Devdas. That was challenging. Now I find it strange that I did it. But it was exhilarating for me as an actor. People turn around and ask me how I prepare for a role. I feel a lot of it's instinctive. I just went on the set and became those characters. Mahesh Bhatt says that I'm split personalities. Maybe I am.

    Are you proud that you can do in a jiffy what other actors would probably take ages to even comprehend?
    I don't know whether it's pride. I feel very nice about it though. I don't go back home and discuss it. Don't get overtly excited about it. But I know some part of me is very excited to know that I can play three characters in a matter of hours. It does something to your system. I remember I used to actually drink for Devdas. I'd get drunk. I wouldn't sleep since I was shooting entire nights. I'd wash my face and be off for Asoka. And I look so good in all the movies. When you see the drunk scene in Devdas you might think bahut prepare kiya hai. But I've just done it. Maybe my acting is good. Maybe I have a subject which is strong. All I know is that I led a great actor's life during those days.

    Were you disappointed with Asoka?
    No. That was the level of the film. It would have been nice if it had done exceptionally well. When you make a film you always hope that it'll cross a certain level. I want every film of mine to be a Dilwale Dulhania... But that's unrealistic. Just as it's stupid to think that my son would look like Clint Eastwood or Robert Redford. Gauri is no Michelle Pfeiffer. Neither am I Brad Pitt. Our son will be a combination of us. It's exactly the same with Asoka. See, Halo is a wonderful film but it's not Sholay. Similarly Asoka is much better than the 192 films that were released last year. It's among the Top 10 films. Business-wise maybe the other 170 films may have done better. They may not deserve it but that's the reality.


    You feel the audience let you down?
    What can you say? If they don't like it, they don't like it. I think Pulp Fiction is the greatest film made. But no one liked it in my family. But that doesn't take away from its brilliance. I can turn around and say I'm more intelligent because I understood the film. But that's not fair either. Then the film should have been given the Intelligent Certificate. It should have read, "Only people with IQ above 140 allowed". If I compare Asoka with Lagaan, K3G, Gadar and get depressed, then I'm being foolish. Just as I would be rationalising if I were to compare it to the 10 flops of the year. To me Asoka is like Aryan. To me, he's the most beautiful kid in the world. My take on Asoka is subjective. I love it. To me, it's the best film made in the history of Indian cinema. I'm not being pompous and I'm not defending it. I can't be disappointed in Aryan ever. The other day he came on stage. He just stood there and waved to me. He didn't do his dance. His wasn't the best performance but he waved to me. Asoka is like that. It waves back to me. One day, Aryan will wave to me and the 6,000 people in the auditorium will turn around and say, `Hey that kid was the best.' And if that doesn't happen, it doesn't mean that I'll love Aryan any less. Ditto Asoka.

    But does the failure deter you?
    If it stops me from loving my Aryan, it would stop me from making Asoka. It won't. I'll make another film. If the money doesn't come in, I'll have to wait. That's the only drawback. I won't be able to start it tomorrow. But I've sold Asoka well. It's earned money. Though it hasn't earned Gadar or Lagaan kind of money.

    Weren't you supposed to do Lagaan?
    Yeah. But we didn't get a producer. Things didn't work out. People who've made it had more guts. I look at it without envy. And I hope it had happened to me. I believe in that kind of cinema. I wish I'd made Lagaan. I would be as a proud of it as Aamir is right now. Because I haven't made it, I can't participate in that pride. A good thing is a good thing. I just want to give Ashutosh and Aamir a hug because they've made us proud. It's what I set out to make as a producer. There's a great pride in knowing that someone has done it. And they're friends. If you make a film like Lagaan, you heart is in the right place. I wanted to hug them when they made it to the nominations. It was a pleasant shock. Somewhere I knew it wouldn't pull through. But there was 10 per cent hope. After all, they chose our Miss World and Miss Universe. They just might give it to us. But I guess the other film's cause was greater. If somebody had to win then No Mans Land was the best choice. Just three months back, I read about Bosnia. What's happened there is tragic. I see it like this: Okay, I didn't get my bungalow. But I still have my five-bedroom flat. But the guy on the street got his hut. His cause was greater than mine. It's nice to attend Sansui awards. It's wonderful to attend Filmfare. It's really good to get the National Award. It's beautiful if you get BAFTA, Cairo, or the French award. But if you're able to sit at the Oscars it's the ultimate.

    Five years ago when Govinda said in an interview that he wanted to win an Oscar, quite a few people smirked. But Lagaan proves why not. Maybe Govinda just saw it a little early. Who knows if the movie had been in English, Aamir would have been in the Best Actor category. As an actor, he's no less than anyone in that category. I think Denzil Washington was much better in his other films. But he won for Training Day. I guess that happens all over, including Filmfare. I don't think we'll take another film to the Oscars very quickly. That's why I believe Lagaan is special. This was one year when we were begani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana. After many years we woke up early for something other than cricket and still for cricket.

    Apparently you're writing an autobiography.
    I don't know whether I'll ever get it published. I love writing. Mahesh Bhatt prodded me to put my thoughts on paper. Basically, I'm collecting my thoughts. They are selective memories. The other day, I met my first teacher, Mrs Bala's daughter. She wanted to know whether I remember her mother. I wanted to show her all that I've written about Mrs Bala. I remember everything about her from the time she kissed me on my cheek to the time she spanked me. If I respect women today, it's because of her. There are so many memories. I want to collect them. In so many ways it's like the TV programme Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai. You're going down memory lane. I write when I feel like it. Of course, these days, I'm only writing about Aryan. I don't know how many people would want to read it. But it's a good exercise.

    What haven't you done in the movies that you still want to do?
    I don't know. Right now, I'm just happy being. You tell me what you want me to do. I'm at a stage where I'm relaxed. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I'm doing the victory lap. Maybe another race has started somewhere. But I've won my race. The victory lap is a thing of gratitude. And I'm grateful to my audience. I feel I've reached a stage where I've become a pure actor. I've become more poet-actor and less product-actor. Maybe Devdas has done it to me. I don't feel competitive towards anyone. I just want to act now. I've stopped thinking what works and what doesn't. Finally I feel there's purity in my acting. A newspaper made fun of me when I said that now I'm returing the love, the audience has showered on me. It wrote that I shouldn't take myself seriously. But I feel after 10 years of being at the top, I deserve to take myself seriously. Because I know I'm special. And no matter whom you give the award to, I'm the best actor.

    Does not getting an award irk you? No it doesn't. I just feel that the guys who don't give me the award are the losers. Because your trophy looks the best in my hand. I know it's very childish of me to think like that. But there's a child in me. These days of course, they're killing me with Critics' Awards. The first time I saw so many film trophies was at Hema Malini's house. I thought to myself, will I ever have so many awards? The dream has come true. The first time I really craved for an award was while watching the Filmfare function. Vidhu Vinod Chopra had won an award and he took his mother on stage to receive the trophy. And I told myself, I'll take my mother on stage someday to receive the award. But she died before that. It's this unfulfilled dream that makes me covet awards. Maybe if I'd taken her on stage, I wouldn't care for the awards so much. I want awards not because I'm competitive. But because I love my mom so much. Maybe I feel that by winning awards, I'll become so big that she'll easily spot me from heaven. Really, I want to become like the Great Wall of China. I want to be the only thing visible on earth from outer space. That's all I want.

    Anuradha Chaudhary
  3. MaryAnnK

    MaryAnnK Well-Known Member

    Wow! What a nice piece, even if it is a little dated. Thanks, Bridget.

    I had never read anything about him working back-to-back on those three films. That is amazing.
  4. shublee

    shublee ~ShahRukhaholic

    not getting an award doesnt irk SRK but it irks me when i know he deserved it!
    great interview :love:
  5. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    I've read this wonderful interview long time ago... but now I've read this again...
    ...the same line touched me again:

    :heart: :heart: :heart:

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