Shah Rukh Khan; the Bollywood megastar is probably the most popular movie star in the world. While still largely unknown to most western audiences despite a growing fandom across Europe he is often introduced in European and US interviews as ‘bigger than Tom Cruise’ to try and explain his global stardom to western audiences. This comparison is somewhat amusing because I cannot think of one Hollywood movie star or popstar who can replicate the scenes outside his home in Mannat, Mumbai where his adoring fans swarm the streets to celebrate his birthday each year. I would argue that the stardom of Tom Cruise cannot even begin to compare with the global megastardom of Shah Rukh Khan the like of which we in the west perhaps have not seen since the Beatles. In India as he himself has said some Bollywood stars are revered like demi-gods and these were the scenes outside Mannat today.
Some times art imitates life and SRK’s 2016 thriller Fan he played dual roles both as a young fan obsessed with his idol and the movie star relentlessly pursued by his crazed fan. We can see an exact reproduction of todays birthday celebrations in Mumbai in the movie as SRK explores his own stardom and the interaction of both fan and idol.
In the trailer we can see SRK in heavy prosthetics and make up playing essentially his own fan a young Gaurav Chanda amongst the swarming crowd trying to catch a glimpse of his idol. It is really interesting to look back on today considering this exact scene played out in real life, it really is fascinating.
Top 10 on screen &off screen moments of Shah Rukh Khan
1. DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania la Jayenge) 1995
This is the movie that made SRK’s career, its the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema and the combination of the cinematic genious of its director Aditya Chopra in creating an archetypal romance and the onscreen chemistry of SRK and his costar Kajol will be difficult to ever reproduce. The romance of Raj and Simran has defined love for whole generations of Indians and audiences worldwide who have gone back to see the film again and again because the film seems to capture the essence of what its like to be young and in love and overcome all obstacles to be together.
2. Jab Tak Hai Jan (2012) Yash Chopra’s last film
This film though perhaps not the greatest film of SRK was the last film of the celebrated director Yash Chopra and was my introduction to Shah Rukh Khan when I came across it on Netflix. Like so many of SRK’s movies he was again playing a dual role, a young Indian arriving in London busking and working in restaurants, this character sometimes grated a little with his goofiness and strange haircut that tried to make a middle aged SRK look a decade younger. It was his older character that captured my attention as his brooding heartbroken Indian army officer who was inure to the charms of the gay and sprightly Anushka Sharma. The stylish opening scene to the poem Jab Tak Hai Jan which means “As long as there is life in me” as SRK rides his motorbike up a dusty desert road gave the film an epic feeling.
3. Kal Ho Naa Ho 2003
If ever your having a bad day, fear not for SRK’s Aman Mathur in Kal Ho Naa Ho will come along and solve all your problems – (and is available on Netflix). He does exactly that for the film’s main character Naina played by Preity Zinta without her even being aware of it he moves in across the road from her family and like a guardian angel sets about solving all the families problems. When Naina falls in love with him however he turns her away because of the secret he is hiding. SRK’s Aman is also extremely comedic so the mix of comedy, romance and heartbreak makes for a tragicomedy that beats most schmaltzy Hollywood romantic comedies hands down and makes it one of the most popular of SRK’s films
4. Filmfare 2011 performance with Madhuri
In this Filmfare award performance Shah Rukh performs with his costar Madhuri Dixit a series of songs from his movies and recreate some of his most famous romantic scenes. Their on-stage chemistry together made for a magical and highly romantic performance.
5. Shah Rukh and Madhuri recreate their onstage magic
In this TV game show SRK and Madhuri dance together as a panel of judges made up of directors and actors rate their performance. Later Shah Rukh calls out Madhuri to dance with him and they recreate their magical onstage chemistry performing to the song from their 1997 film Dil To Pagal Hai
6. SRK Doctorate Acceptance Speech
Need some advice or some life lessons perhaps? SRK will set you right with his very well thought out acceptance speech to students at Edinburgh university shortly after receiving his honorary Doctorate which was bestowed on him by the Princess Margaret. He hilariously gives his life lessons through summarizing the madcap plotlines of some of his best known films and gives some very sound life advice about pursuing your dreams and achieving your goals in life. Shah Rukh Khan as one of his many talents is an excellent public speaker and gives some very philosophical and reflective speeches although this one is quite light hearted and amusing. It doesn’t hurt that he looks extremely dapper here either!
7. SRK most intimate and revealing interview
If you want to get to know the real Shah Rukh Khan this is possibly his best interview ever where he opens up about his early life and the impact of the early deaths of his mother and his father on both him and his sister. Towards the end of the interview he reads some fascinating extracts from his book that discuss the evolution of his stardom. He discusses the loss of self-identity as he becomes lost in the endless consumption of his own brand and image as well as sharing some touching memories of his father. The early loss of his parents had a huge impact on Shah Rukh and his sister and he credits it as having driven him to succeed. His sister fell into a deep depression after their fathers death and in fact during the filming of DDLJ Shah Rukh had to take his sister to hospital and help her into recovery. His philosophical self-refection and introspection is in stark contrast with the shallow consumerism of many Hollywood stars and is part of his mystique. Serial divorcée and follower of the pseudo religion of scientology Tom Cruise makes for a very poor comparison to the deep thinking happily married family man SRK. Shah Rukh married Gauri Khan his childhood sweetheart who he met when they were 18 and married in 1991, and their third child Abram is now 3 years old. As a proud father SRK often speaks about how much he loves spending time with his kids and his little son Abram frequently features on his social media posts. There is much to admire in this Bollywood star and little to detract and his genuine off screen persona has added to his success and global appeal.
8. Dil to Pagal Hai last dramatic scene
With Shah Rukh Khan known as the ‘King of Romance’ there are so many romantic scenes to choose from and while Dil to Pagal Hai may not be one of his absolute best movies, I would rate Veer Zaara, Kuch kuch hota hai and Rab ne Bana di Jodi and many others much higher as films, this atmospheric and romantic scene demonstrates the extreme expressiveness and intensity that makes SRK’s romantic performances so powerful and his fan’s hearts melt!
9. Best award ceremony performance
In the TOIFA awards 2016 in Dubai SRK looking very sharp dances to some of his most catchy songs, his famous Chaiya Chaiya from Dil Se (1998) , Jabra Fan from Fan (2016) and opens with the beautiful song Gerua from the flawed but nonetheless enjoyable blockbuster that reunited him with his DDLJ costar Kajol in Dilwale (2015). There is a great atmosphere in the stadium as young stars Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan and Parineeti Chopra go nuts for his performance.
10. Chamak Challo – Best Music Video
Feel like dancing? This number from SRK’s answer to Marvel’s Ironman, the 2011 action hero blockbuster Ra.One will get you up on the dancefloor. While the convoluted and troubled screenplay of Ra.One was panned by critics despite its revolutionary use of special effects with a special effects studio established by SRK especially for the movie, rumours of a sequel have come to nothing. However SRK’s humanoid robot G.One with his lack of social awareness as he is increasingly drawn to his creator’s wife Kareena Kapoor is both comical and adorable in the movie and especially so in the music video. It makes for a catchy and iconic dance video.
So what did you think of my top 10 on and off-screen SRK moments? What’s in your top 10, which of your favourites did I leave out? Leave a comment and let me know.