I’m An Extremenly Serious Actor. Actually, My Dimples Screwed It Up. If I Did Not Have Them, I’d Look Like Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Then People Would Take me Serious
Twenty five years in showbiz,Twenty three million followers on Twitter. Billions of fans around the world. Shah Rukh Khan commands a following unlike any other celebrity. By now, he should’ve had an air of ‘been there, done that’ but somehow the legend retains the excitement and nervousness of a rank newcomer. Raees has succeeded and given SRK his his seventh 100 crore hit.But not after giving the superstar sleepless nights. Close to 100 film in his kitty and he still tosses around before a release like a bag of nerves. It’s not about self-belief. It’s about the expectations that his fans hold about him. And SRK feels responsibility as a parents seriously,he wants his films to do well too. A celebrated actor, a glorious star and a dedicated fatehr, SRK has many roles and he excels in every single one, with consummate ease….
What’s your state of mid before a film’s release?
Before a film’s release, I go and sit on this particular back sofa in my home. And I don’t do anything. There’s no telephone around me, no understand what zone I am in. It’s like after intensively preparing my son for is math exam, when the results are expected, I’m hoping he’s done well. So it’s like a double responsibility. If he falters, I blame myself for perhaps not having taught him correctly. That’s the apprehensive state I am in before a release. I try to give the audience what they want. But when I try yo give something new like fan and people don’t like, toh museebat. Main discourage nahi hota hoon, bas dil tootta hai.
Even Amitabh Bachan tweeted about enjoying Raees….
It felt good when Amitabh Bachchan sir tweeted about my performance. He’s someone we’ve grown up watching — the angry young man. For him to say, “Majhe Tumhara gussa bahut achcha laga,” felt so reassuring. Raees is a tribute, an ode to his genre of films. I have grown up watching films of Dharamji Amitji, Rishiji shashiji when they praise my work, I believe I’ve done something good.It reinforces the belief that Raees is a sound film.
How different was it to work with Rahul Dholakia, whose forte has bee realistic cinema?
Rahul is well-educated. He researched well. Sometimes just the script helps the actor. He was confident about what he had written.Also, Rahul is easygoing. When we were doing some scams adn I’d say, “Rahul Aisa kar leta hoon!” He’d retort, “”But that will become commercial.” I’d reply, ‘But you want it?” and he’d say, “Haan!” We’d have a good laugh over it. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Kha, Zeeshan Ayyub… coma from the realistic cinemas background. I’m the most commercial thing in the film. Yes, it was the meeting of two different worlds. And we respected each other.
A fun Anecdote from the set?
When we started shooting everyone on the set seemed quiet. This continued for around 25 days. Then my cameraman came to me and said, “Everyone is saying that you’re in a bad mood and that you seem to be a scary person. Are you doing it for the role? Because I know you’re fun.” I then made it a pint to tell everyone, “Listen, I’m sorry. I look scary buy I’m very friendly. We can talk and chat.” After that everyone eased up.
Many have found your intense brooding avatar in Raees Attractive
I’m not a big fan of myself, genuinely. I don’t believe I’m good-looking. I don’t sit in front of the mirror.I’m not vain. But somehow I happen to look good in everything. I’ve never designed a film for myself. It’s the film that takes you into the world. I come form a more commercial arena. I may have done Shoka, Swadesh, Chak De India….. But I’m not considered a serious actor. I’m an extremely serious actor. Actually, m dimples screwed it up. If I did not have them, I’d look like Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The would take me seriously!.
Did your children Enjoy Raees?
AbRam loved it. His reaction was exactly like the public reaction in theatres. He was dancing to ‘Laila Main Liala. And in the scenes where I;m hitting people, he says, ‘Go pap go!” Children like action. Aryan and Sushana liked Baazigar more than kuch kuch hota hai. They even liked Ra.One.Now, they’re grown up to like my earlier films.
What’s your ‘method’ as an actor?
I came from theatre. I know the craft a little bit more today than I did 25 years ago. But there’s always the struggle to better yourself. Initially, I believed that I knew lot. Bu half way I realised that the more I acted, the less I knew. I discovered more and more ways of doing one scene. There was also a time when I thought I had nailed the character, that I had killed it, I had slayed it. Then I realised that no there are so many more ways to expose myself as an actor. Picasso had once remarked that he wanted ‘to paint like a child’. I am not comparing myself to Picasso but I understand it now. I, too would like to act now. I, too would like to act in every film as though it’s my first, to retain that rewness. That rewness is lost through time. I follow a different process form other actors. I read a script, I hear the script, I go into a shell. Then I come and present the character to the director. I talk about him. I make some notes. If there is physicality attached to it, I try to bring in that.
Actor are always up for judgment? Does it bother you?
You’re going to be vilified, you’re going to be nullifies, you’re going to be glorified and held responsible for things that you say or don’t say, or door don’t do. That’s part of the public life you’ve chosen. The main thing in how you deal with it. There are 10 things said about me every day. Eight of them are very nice; two of them are not nice. I don’t believe I’m not as bad as the bad things either. I must be somewhere in the middle, we all are regular people actually. My job doesn’t end after coming back home taking off the make-up. When you go our of your house on your birthday, you expect 50000 people to wish you ‘Happy Birthday’. I like the adulation, so I have to take the bad bits too. I like working for people, hoping that many will come to watch my movies. There’s bound to be some disenchantment. But you need to take it in your stride.
Social Media has also become a hot bed of comments….
Yes, it is a wold where hash tag and the first line and the first word matters. We have a new toy in hand. And we’re very excited. When the excitement subsides, most things will settle down. It’s a big pain for you journalists as well, because you’re not the only one writing.Actors have competition only from actors. But journalists now have competition form six billion people. Everybody has a tagline, sometimes better than yours.
Whom do you Follow on Twitter?
I haven’t followed anyone recently. I want to find out if I can follow people secretly. See, if I follow someone, it’ll make news. If I ‘unfollow’ someone, it’ll scared of following people! (Laugh) I’ll figure it out.
What your equation with your children now they see keen to be a part of cinema?
Aryan, Suhana and AbRam are my best friends. I talk to them, I chat with them, I listen to them. Aryan is studying to be a filmmaker. Every week I call up Aryan and say I’d like you to watch this film. Sometimes he calls me back and says it was ‘very boring papa’. I made him watch janne Bhi Do Yaaro but he didn’t find it as funny as we did. The humous has changed, the sensibilities have changed. It’s nice to hear what they are saying. They liked Fa. As a student, Aryan makes short films. I watch them and give them my opinion. Subana is more intricate about films. She will explain what she liked, what she didn’t like. I hear them out but I don’t really include any suggestion in my film just because my children are saying so. Just as I wouldn’t like them to add my suggestions in what they make.
How do you review your journey of 25 years?
It’s been a great life Professionally, it’s been fantastic. I appreciate the fact that my family understands that I am a public figure. And even if I don’t bring them home, my family has to bear with my professional problems. Like my daughter doesn’t call me often. She calls me once or twice a week. My son calls me once in two weeks. But during the release of my film my children must have called my four times a day. They merely ask, “Papa how are you? What’s happening, understand their mind. It’s like ‘Oh Pa’s films in coming; we need to be with him’.
It’s seldom that after working for so many years, you have new breed of directors still excited to work with you. For instance Gauri Shinde. She was excited as though I was a newcomer. Even for Rahul Dholakia, a serious filmmaker, to be excited by a commercial star like me feels nice! I have everything, God’s been kinds. I can relax and enjoy my life. To the outside world I have name, fame and money, a beautiful family, lovely children, a good production house. But at the end of it for an actor what matters is, ‘Am I able to entertain as many people as I want to?’ A certain creative incompleteness remains.