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‘I never took Gauri on a date…’ – 'Shahrukh Khan' in conversation with ‘G9 Divya Solgama’


‘I never took Gauri on a date…’ – 'Shahrukh Khan' in conversation with ‘G9 Divya Solgama’

‘Shahrukh Khan’ is also known as the ‘Badshah’ or ‘King Khan’ of romantic films due to his blockbuster hits and larger than life image. Our Bollywood Guide ‘G9 DivyaSolgama’ had the pleasure of speaking with him where he spoke about his upcoming film ‘Dilwale’, his romantic image and superstardom
Shahrukh, you are known as the King Khan, one of the biggest superstar of our country and a huge brand in itself. So, after achieving so much love, fame and prosperity, what’s that one thing which you desire to achieve.
Shahrukh Khan – See, for so many years to work constantly and keep on listening to all good and bad things, you tend to get immune to the fact that I am King Khan or whatever. The truth is that after reaching at this height, there is no opinion of your own, it’s the system in which we keep working. Sometimes the system works for you and sometimes it’s the other way round. When you are young you have the desires of achieving many things, winning awards, doing this role, buy stuff and many more. But after working for around twenty five years, doing the same thing for more than twelve hours, wearing the same make-up, somewhere I don’t know what the next achievement will be or what will happen to me. You just keep doing your work internally as you start feeling that this is what you were meant to do. It’s like having everything in life, but still I cannot use that every bit of it.
It’s like the book ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’, in my case I am the monk who has a Ferrari and doesn’t drive it too much. So at this stage of my life I get happiness by doing the small things like getting excited for my next movie, going to shooting, being with my family and such stuffs. It’s a very different headspace, it’s very difficult to describe my headspace. I can even say that I love this superstardom and now I should be known as a great actor, I would like to be known as a fantastic father, but these are mere answers. If you genuinely ask me, I just like being in front of the camera. By nature I am reclusive and I don’t like to interact with anyone. When I am in public places, I try to act, but personally I am shy and reclusive. I don’t get time to socialize nor make friends as most of the time I am just working. Where is the time to make a friend or socialize. We don’t meet anyone, thus you are actually alone at a certain point of time, but at the same time, not lonely. My mother used to call me anti-social. Once an actress asked me ‘you eat alone? It’s such a sad thing’, I replied back saying I don’t feel anything wrong as I am like that. I am ok being alone. Everything I have got is welcomed and I thank the almighty for it, but besides working I have no other desire at this moment.
Shahrukh, how tough is it for an actor to produce a film. Don’t you feel by doing this, it adds up as an additional pressure to your work?
Shahrukh Khan – If you ask Kajol or Varun or people who have worked with me, on the sets I am as enthusiastic as I was on the day one. As a matter of fact, even more as now I have more knowledge. Earlier the enthusiasm was there, but without knowledge. Earlier,if I was doing a jumping scene I used to keep doing it again and again without the camera even being on, but now I will keep my energy and enthusiasm for the shot and make it look good.  So now my enthusiasm is more creative and productive. Speaking about my production house, I never became a producer because this is my sustainance, I became a producer to make better films. You cannot make a better commercial film unless you spend more money. So whenever I make a film or ‘Red Chillies’ does, I am very clear as to what to do. I have never taken a rupee from my production house as my profit because we haven’t made any profit in the last twelve years. The idea of being a producer was never to become a partner in someone else’s money. That’s why we work on a film hands on.With ‘Dilwale’, we have become distributors and in future we will start a studio of our own.
I don’t take a partnership in a film, I don’t take any territory, I don’t take parts of profit and I don’t have huge price. You can ask any producer how they signed me for their films, as I have never asked for money because as an actor I can’t be bought. For everything else there is a price, you can call me for an ad, you can call me for a function, you can make me dance at an award function, you can tell me to host a show and I’ll do it as I’ll charge for it. I am very clear, I am not going to make money out of my films. People don’t understand this, I am supposed to be the second richest actor in the world, but in fact I am the second richest actor who has not earned a rupee from acting. I also don’t have a pressure of earning 100 crores in three days, who had heard about 100 crores few years back. ‘Main Hoon Na’ was a biggest grosses in its time and had earned five and half crores in whole week but now this amount comes from the few shows itself. I have made enough flops and survived to know that if a film does not work its fine as there is always another time. My first produced film ‘PhirBhiDilHain Hindustani’ was a huge flop, then we made a bigger film ‘Asoka’ which was a much bigger flop but eventually you survive these periods. So we made films and survived it and will survive again.  As a producer I am quite relaxed as I don’t take tension of earning hundred crores in a weekend for my film, If I want to take tension than I’ll take for earning thousand crores in a weekend. I’ll take tension also as per my status and my stardom.
Shahrukh, Javed Akhtar once said that every actor, whether its Rajesh Khanna or Amitabh Bachchan, when they attain their superstardom, they stop experimenting as an actor. So as a superstar kindly let us know your opinion about this statement.
Shahrukh Khan – I think one reason is that every superstar actor suddenly have a superstar director working with them and thus they make superstar types of big films. So, in my case I had Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and few others who kept making similar style of big budgeted films as eventually everyone wants to make a big film. Even a director like AnuragKashyap who used to make niche films, wanted to make a big film and thus he made ‘Bombay Velvet’. Everybody wants to make a big film. So I think the superstars don’t have any choice of doing any experimental films. In Hollywood there is no demarcation between niche and popular films. If Robert Downey Jr is doing ‘Iron Man’, he can still go and do a niche film, and no one will say that it did not earn money like ‘Iron Man’. If it’s a good film they will award it and add it as his best films. I think in our country, there is still time to reach at this level. I think superstar gets used to big businesses. I don’t know about Amit ji or Rajesh Khanna, but from my point of view I don’t know the difference. When I started my career, I got time to do experimental films like ‘Oh Darling Yehhain India’, ‘Idiot’ and ‘KabhiHaanKabhiNaa’. Recently I did ‘Chak De India’ for which I made the director wait for one year as I had other commitments and no dates to spare. Shimit waited for me as he wanted to work with me and understood my point of view. If any other director would have been there they would have not waited as the professionalism and stakes don’t allow you to wait for so long. I have lost few very good films as I did not have dates to spare for six months and the directors were not ready to wait. So I think this is the way you lose out on the good experimental films, I am sure every actor wants to do different kind of films, but then you cannot do too many different types of films when you are a superstar as you have to keep that balance. It also hurts when you are a superstar and if you don’t have a biggest hit film of the year. I am being honest, I would like to give the biggest hit of the year. When the whole worldsupposedly loves me then why should I not have the biggest blockbuster? But, that does not mean I have to sell my soul for that, I can have an offbeat film also. So that mix, one has to maintain and try as a superstar.
Shahrukh, you are known as the king of romance, so kindly share with us about your first romantic date with Gauri and also share some tips for all your male fans on how to woo a female.
Shahrukh Khan– I never took Gauri on a date, in those times there was no date culture. We used to go to some parties and dance with each other, those were the only romantic moments we used to have with each other. As far as being a king of romance, I keep asking everyone that how many of you have held the dupatta of your beloved and sung a song in the mid of icy mountains. No one does these stuffs, one likes love stories as they are larger than life. Everyone has a personal love story, but still is incomplete. So by watching such films and scenes they enjoy the completeness. Regarding the tips, well I would say that if anyone is in love they don’t have to do anything extra to create that love. They can sit together and eat noodles, talk to each other, don’t talk to each other, watch a film, read a book, don’t watch a film and such stuffs. It should be that the comfort of not having to try and impress your loved ones every moment. Of course, care for them, speak to them and listen to them. My experience in such cases is that girls just want you to hear them out, they don’t seek any solution, they just want to share and that’s what the main thing of love is. The boys try to solve the problem, they don’t want the problem solved and they just want you to talk about it. I am an employee to the wishes of girls, whatever a girl like I try to do that. That’s the most romantic and beautiful thing for a man to do and that’s not being a henpecked it’s romantic.
Shahrukh, 2016 looks like an exciting year for all your fans as you have back to back two films releasing ‘Fan’ & ‘Raees’. Recently we came to know that Pakistani actress Mahira Khan has been signed opposite you for the movie ‘Raees’. So kindly share with us the reason for roping a newcomer like her in such a big film.
Shahrukh Khan – The whole setup and most of the characters, including mine and my wife in the film are Muslims. Now that ‘Raees’ is a bit of a realistic film, we have to cast the characters as per its requirement only. We had a similar situation in a commercial film like ‘Om Shanti Om’, where I was playing a fan of a superstar. Now if we took an established heroine like, let’s say Kareena Kapoor with whom I had done a few films. So it would have looked, but awkward that how can I be a diehard fan of a heroine with whom I have worked earlier, thus we decided to sign a new girl – DeepikaPadukone. We presented her as a superstar and that worked in the favour of the film. Similarly, in ‘Raees’, where the characters are a bit heavy and realistic, if we took any established actress it would look like having a hero-heroine and not the real characters. In fact, we also planned to take some established actress who has never worked with me, we spoke to Huma Qureshi also for this role. But then we realized that this character required a different style of dialect and mannerisms so in that case we decided to go for a Pakistani actress. Our producers Ritesh and Farhan Akhtar had seen some of Mahira’s work and felt that she is perfect for this character. We even have a dance sequence and believe me we don’t look like a hero-heroine, but look like a husband and wife fitting that characters.
Shahrukh, many of modern critics feel that our film industry is highly dominated by the star system due to which the cost of a film increases tremendously making it a risky proposition at the box office. So do you agree to the fact that due to this star system most of the films which are being made end up as a compromised product?
Shahrukh Khan – Let me tell you that fact that if we won’t have this star system in our country, our film industry will fade out in a few years.  Germany, Poland, Russia and many such countries used to make the best films in the world sadly, these countries stopped making films as they did not have any stars. Whatever stars (actor, director, producers) they had migrated to Hollywood. You need stars in every field of entertainment, even in IPL if we don’t have any star players no one would watch them. You can choose favorites and go to see them. This year few of Hollywood films earned around hundred crores as today’s generation loved foreign films. If this continues, before you know it, in the near future they will dominate our film industry. In England, there was a time when they used to make many films, but now only fifteen to twenty films are made and more than one fifty Hollywood films are released. The same situation is seen in Germany, Poland, France and many such countries. All these countries screen Hollywood films only and there are very few films of their own. So if this continues, there will be such a day where you will interview a Hollywood star instead of me and they are so big that they might not even come to our country for their film’s promotion. So actually, it’s important for every country to have a star system. I also think that the star system featuring me and my contemporaries will fade out in a few years as we have been superstars for a long time (laughs). Recently, Salman Khan told me that god has been so kind to us that even at the age of fifty, we are enjoying more stardom than what we used to have at the age of the late twenties. So it’s not how old we are but at the end of the day star system is essential for our country and our cinema.
Lastly, Shahrukh many of your fans have a complaint and a desire to see you doing more films in a year. So what’s your reason for doing less films in comparison to what you used to do earlier?
Shahrukh Khan – I think the offers that are made to me are limited. People always assume that if we do a film with Shahrukh it has to be a big commercially successful. Even Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra feel the same. Aditya is making ‘Befikre’ where he feels that if he takes me in it the pressure will increase as people will compare it with ‘DilwaleDulhaniya Le Jayenge’. So Aditya told me that let me make this film then I’ll make a film with you, which will justify our coming together. Many times I want to make a film with some realistic director and when I approach them they say I have made many niche films now I want to make a commercial film with you in your style. So in such case I have to wait for right film and the right director. Sometimes the director also has to wait, for example, Manish waited for eight years to make me do ‘Fan’. ‘Raaes’ also took time in its making, but it’s a fantastic offbeat film. It’s commercial, but not one of those which will be biggest opener or record breaking box office figures riding on it. It will get high critical acclaim and will work slowly over the box office. So at this stage, my choices are limited as I want to do a commercial rider film like ‘Dilwale’ and another should be different. Will Smith once told me that I do two types of films, one I do for myself and another with a bigger star than me that is VFX, so you should also work like that. So I do get limited but that’s not excuse for not to do what you want to. I have reached a stage where if a film does not work it does not matter me, but still being a producer I feel that such small films should at least do business as per its niche audiences and due to all these reasons I keep doing less films.

 
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