EXCLUSIVE Shah Rukh Khan on Raees: Chose him because he is real, not sexy
Shah Rukh Khan on Raees: The film doesn’t force you to like or dislike him. Now, this is not something we do a lot in commercial cinema. It is more realistic.
Shah Rukh Khan can make you wait for hours but the moment that he steps into a room, he can make you feel that you are the only person around and he only has time for you. Many have called it the star quality but perhaps that is the quality that has made him a star. The superstar talks to you like a “normal simple guy” and can forge a connection in a moment. He talks about his upcoming film Raees, his family and his work with passion but without circumvention.
He talks about his life and work with a disarming honesty. He accepts Fan’s failure with “I don’t know what went wrong” and accepts that he has loved Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s script for Sahir Ludhianvi film but it is still “all talk”. He doesn’t want to comment on “international problems” such as the protest against Pakistani actors saying his films can’t change the world. What he does do is make films, promote them and ensure people have fun watching them. He hopes Raees will come true on all three aspects.
Why Raees? Rahul Dholakia has said stars are attracted to such films because they are sexy? Agree?
(Laughs) I don’t think it is just that! Rahul and team came up with a fantastic script. It is very rare that I get to play a non-urban character so close to reality. This kind of work is something I have always been wanting to do, but as an actor, you don’t always get an opportunity to do it. So yes, it was fantastic working for Raees.
What is different about Raees?
I am playing a character who is in the midst of the world which is 100 per cent bad, he himself does bad things but somewhere down the line, we try to present a human quality to him without justifying his actions. The film doesn’t force you to like or dislike him. Now, this is not something we do a lot in commercial cinema. It is more realistic.
Which is your personal favourite when it comes to a gangster flick?
Godfather, of course, everybody loves it. Satya was very nice, Shiva was also very good. I also think Mere Apne by Gulzar sahab was a great film too.
You have also spoken about making Breaking Bad in India. Will that happen?
While I love Breaking Bad, I think it is too evolved for us to make it in India. It is a story about a person who is about to lose his life who takes risks and chances, it is a classic plot. But it is too evolved for Indian TV as it deals with drugs and mafia. I was also in talks about it with people who have the rights for Breaking Bad, but nothing concrete is in the making, these were just talks.
After all the films you have done, is there still a genre you want to try? What is there on your bucket list?
As an actor there are many things I want to do, a gangster, a hero, especially a challenged person, there are many thoughts that I have, the things I would like to do. But I am happy that directors come up to me with stories and characters they think I can portray best. And after working for so many years, there has to be certain kind of excitement to play a particular character and in my situation even if I don’t necessarily do what I think I want to do, it is great when I am put on the spot and expected to act a certain role in a certain way. I rediscover myself with every character that I play.
How was it working with Mahira Khan?
She is an amazing actor, and so beautiful. Even before working on Raees, she is already an established star, it is not a new world that she has come in. She is terrific in the movie, you will see her more as her character, she is a very talented actor. I wish her all the best for the future.
Watch | Raees song Zaalima | Shah Rukh Khan | Mahira Khan
How big or small is SRK the person from SRK the star? Which one do you prefer?
I have no understanding of the stardom that I have. I am happy I am a star, I am happy that people love me, it humbles me. But I don’t live for it or it is not something I look up to. For me, I am a small-time guy who worked hard to be where I am today. I still do that, I still work hard. I don’t know how to maintain my stardom, I just cherish every moment and work very hard. I try my level best to give my best and to do my best. I have so many relationships with people in the industry, I always work in the same manner. Yes, it is strange and humbling when people walk up to you to kiss you and hug you and love you, I take it as a gift from God and be thankful. I like to be the person I am, because that is the chore of becoming a star, if I change that, maybe I won’t be a star then.
Which one do your children prefer? How do they deal with your stardom?
They prefer me as the relative I am to them. The love me as their father! They are very happy for what I do, the way I do things. But they love me for who I am, the basic and simple guy I am.
How does it feel knowing that so many women in India love you so much?
What can I say to that? Thank you! I think they love me so much because I am not very good with women, maybe that’s why they love me because I am shy and sweet. But I am thankful to all of them who love me, please keep loving me!
If given a chance, what would you tell the 25-year-old you?
If I look back to my life, I would tell my 25-year-old self to take it easy, and not be jumping on my knees and dancing on the trains for Chaiya Chaiya and for Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. Many people had told me then to take it easy, but I was young and I wanted to do it all. But now it is painful at times to even do normal stuff, and I get frustrated. So I think I should have been a little careful. But when you are 25 you are silly and stupid, I can’t be patronising and telling someone out there that. So you have to be yourself, do everything you like, have fun because that is a part of life.
How do you end a difficult day? What makes you happy or sad?
My team really tries to make sure that I end my day early, then I spend time with my children if they are here. But if I am not early, I like being by myself. I am strangely public, I am strangely reclusive. I just like sitting all alone, all by myself. At times I love aimlessly watch something on the television screen. I just sit, I sit alone. I don’t think much because whole day I think a lot, as a star, as a public figure I am expected to be dealing with a lot, be nice and be kind. So at the end of the day, I just don’t want to do anything and be with myself. It is a state of meditation for me. I do this for an hour, two hours before I got to bed.