I didn’t really understand Shah Rukh Khan fandom until I was 22. Before that, I loved his films but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. I remember going to the set of Badshah when I was a teenager and not liking it because he went out to smoke. I was a child and I thought it was a dirty habit.
I watched Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi at my dad’s cinema and I fell in love with Shah Rukh Khan. Some magic took and I had a change of heart when I saw him on screen.
At the Fan trailer launch event, I truly became a fan because I felt this was the Shah Rukh Khan his fans loved. He had shades of grey, he was not perfect but he was playing a character, albeit very close to the King Khan he is in real life. And with thousands of fans thronging the event, some even hugging him tight, for not being able to contain themselves, others crying out of happiness, SRK maintained his cool. He was as calm as could be, because this is his life perhaps. It happens to him often and he maintains his composure.
Yesterday I got a call to meet Shah Rukh Khan at the YRF Studios and interview him. I was a bundle of nerves. What do you ask a man that everyone has interviewed and who everyone seeks to ask questions about life. What do you ask someone who is real but has a demigod status. What do you ask SRK?
I start by telling him I didn’t begin as his fan and continue to tell him how I experienced magic…
When he chimes in, “Good taste takes time to acquire!” My fellow journalists laugh and clap. He has always been witty. I’m not surprised. My cheeks are red though, from blushing.
I ask him if he has experienced magic or something has changed for him, when he watched something on screen.
He answers, “As you say, I can’t think of it. But there are a lot of films I have seen that have changed me as a person. There are a lot of films that inspire me and I wish I could do this. Not a patriotic or a sports film, just seeing an actor act. Many times it happens with me when I see Merryl Streep. I would not be able to hone the performances. I’ll say a very strange film, while I had become an actor. Sorry, not strange, but not a film many people noticed Mr. Bachchan for. It was a film called Khakee. He had a scene in a police station where he was talking to someone. I was so blown by it. I wanted to go back and I wished I could relearn acting. Lots of films. When I watched Band Baaja Baaraat, the reason I called people, was not because I just loved the film. It’s like, yaar yeh bahot achcha hai, yeh world kahaan ka hai? I thought how Anushka and Ranveer khaate hue scene karte hain. There’s a scene where he talks to his dad on the phone. It was a really nice world. It’s happened to me lots of times. It’s not changed my life. But ya, somehow, it has made me feel, kuch kar sak te hain duniya ke liye achcha. And then by chance, I got into movie acting. I love another film. It’s A Mad Mad Mad World. It’s a mad film. I love, usme, ek nanga ladka hota hai, he picks up the phone and says, ‘Mama!’. Lots of Charlie Chaplin films. A lot of times, I feel like this is very nice.”
Over the next hour, he speaks about what he wants to do for filmmaking, remembers Yash Chopra and his idea of ‘love-making’, how he loves playing with AbRam.
And when we wind up, I just feel like a child, who has newfound love for the superstar, King Khan, Shah Rukh Khan.