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  1. #1
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    Dec 2008

    Default SRK is just a 'dumb' star!

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    Shah Rukh Khan was in Delhi to host a quiz show for IIPM, but TOI decided to quiz him instead.

    When Emraan Hashmi raises the issue of his not getting a flat because of his religion, does it make for pointing out concerns, or does it encourage further divisiveness?

    See, because of the greater accessibility of everyone to platforms that can make more people hear your voice, by which I largely mean the media, we have reached a stage in our society where everybody is concerned about putting as many planes in the air as possible, in a day, rather than being bothered about whether we can have them land back safely. The same holds true for stories Ė yeh kahani likh toh do, yaar. Weíll see the next day if it was okay or not. And if not, uska rejoinder toh aayega hi.

    As to whether it will add to the divisive nature of things or itís bringing an issue to the fore Ė unfortunately, all of us have become people who just want to offer platforms for debates. None of us are bothered if itís the right thing to do or the wrong thing. So, to me, itís not pertinent if itís divisive or crucial Ė Iím finding myself taking more recourse on issues like this, to understand the value of a ďno commentĒ Ė which is very unfortunate. Because I think I am a good thinking mind and I should put my points forward. But because all weíre trying to do these days is fill in space on a platform for debates without saying, this is right, Iíd rather not speak.

    I donít agree with the view that the media takes Ė that theyíre not concerned with what is right, theyíre just providing a platform for a debate. I am therefore finding myself, unfortunately, in this last one year, taking myself away from discussions like this. Because the problem is not whether it is the right issue Ė the problem is that we are only trying to send more planes in the air. So I wonít comment on this because it will become a platform for what Shah Rukh said about faith and religion. So God bless the platform, and God bless Emraan.
    Iíve realised that I donít need to take a side Ė you, the media Ė need to take a side. You should also give people who donít agree with your stand, a chance to express themselves, but you need to take a stand. And itís not my job to take a stand Ė Iím just a vulgar star!

    But you, for good or bad, are an extremely popular and an articulate star, too...
    No no, Iím just a capitalist, happy-go-lucky, dumb star! Iím happier playing that role because otherwise what I say can be misused, misconstrued, unless the platforms decide to take a side. When I talk about things like this, and then I am misconstrued, I am disturbed about it. I say, chhodo yaar, yeh side nahin le rahe hain, and then I realise I am in some way becoming a brand ambassador for these causes and debates. I donít want to be a brand ambassador for this! Unless I choose to sell a car, I donít need to be its brand ambassador, do I?

    But even when it comes to cinematic branding, with Chak De! India being a definitive statement for a lot of things beyond coaching a hockey team, with My Name Is Khan clearly saying a lot in its title itself, with you standing for a lot apart from uber glam Ė wonít those questions come your way?
    Yes, they will. But then I am also the guy who pushes girls off buildings in the movies Iíve done! In the movies, Iím just enacting what Iím asked to. Like I said, Iím just a dumb star. I donít think itís any more possible to be otherwise. I feel very sad that at this age I have to take recourse to this approach Ė but I think for a couple of years, we will have to do this.

    In that case, wonít you just be giving a platform to others to be the definitive voices of the industry? The press conference stars, if one may say, who pick up controversial issues and use them to pronounce judgement from the rooftops?
    Maybe that is what the world deserves! That is the world we live in. But see, in a way, each opinion is right. And as far as Iím concerned, when I say something, and then I have to end up explaining why I said that Ė I hate justifying it later, because I think that what I say is, more or less, well thought out and is not biased or anti, or wrong.

    Thatís precisely the reason you need to speak out!
    Yeah... thatís what I thought. But now Iíve decided that itís okay, I just talk about stuff that I do as an actor Ė yaar, meri picture aayi hai, gaana achcha hai, dekh lo. You like the six packs, watch it. How I got the six packs is not important. How you do stuff, and what you believe in Ė I think thatís not important any more at this point in my life. I think I should just do the work.

    For people like you to go silent will mean that effectively, the likes of Mahesh Bhatt will remain the definitive voices of the film industry.
    Heís an intelligent guy. He has a lot to say.

    Yeah, he has a lot to say. Just the point.
    No no, I learn a lot from him, heís an amazing guy. Heís a great speaker and very knowledgeable too. My problem is that maybe I find myself getting more and more vulnerable about these things. If you attack me about my acting, I can defend it. But now Iím talking about issues which at my age I think I should be talking about Ė but then I think, being a movie star, I should not. I should just say, you know, Iím doing this character, Iím playing this young bubbly thin guy!

    Yeah... you canít go wrong with that.
    No, I go wrong with that as well, but only monetarily, so it doesnít really matter. Emotionally, a lot of things matter to us beyond our job. I donít like justifying things. I may not be very knowledgeable about everything, but I have good sensibilities. Iím a family kind of guy, I just believe that Iím trying to think rightly and not trying to undermine anyoneís position with the things I say Ė and yet a lot of people tend to see it that way. Thatís when I say I donít need to get there. Itís too much time spent, yaar, explaining things. So I prefer explaining things which are easier Ė like how did you shoot for MNIK? Oh, we got up at this time, started shooting at 9 in the morning, had a lunch break, etc, etc...

    I donít know all the details of what Emraan said, and I donít want to say anything on it, except that thatís why I didnít try to buy an apartment Ė I bought a house !

    You keep saying Ďat this ageí. When you got the doctorate, you said you feel old. At 43, is the age bit playing up mentally?
    If it were, I wouldnít be saying it so often. Then I would say I donít like it. When I say it, Iím sending a message to filmmakers to not ask me to dance around with girls whoíre my daughterís age and make me tell them, ĎI love you!í If I can do a little more than that... I think my craft is a little better than where it was 15 years ago. I think I have more control over what I can do today. Itíd be sad if I keep making the same sort of choice. I hope people begin to make things with me in mind where Iím able to show that my craft has improved, that I can do all that I have done for 20 years, amalgamate it, take it together, and give something new.

    The spoofing on yourself in OSO reflected a comfort level with having done that, been there..?
    Yes. And I want to try everything for myself as an actor now. I want to be able to say to my directors or producers or writers, would you like me to do this, because I really love doing this? Otherwise itís never been much of a choice, actually. We have the impression that when youíre doing well, the world is at your feet. Itís really not true. The opening weekend needs to be bigger than the previous weekend each time. Gaana toh hona hi padega yaar, yeh gaana to karna padega, Shah Rukhbhai Ė so Iím too scared yet to move away from that. When Iím 80, Iíll still like to do Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam and when Iím 80, Iíll still have a six-pack.
    But I truly believe that if someone believes in me and turns around and says, you know what, I donít want this anymore, dude, letís do this differently Ė Iíll go for it. Like, MNIK doesnít have a song or a dance routine. And one of the best filmmakers in the country who has only made nice, happy-go-lucky films with me is willing to take a chance with me. That is very confidence-inspiring. Actors are insecure. So you need to be told, you can pull this off. Like Adi said for Chak De Ė Adi, who had made Dilwale with me, saying, ĎShah Rukh, I donít want you to look good. This is a film about a basic looking guy. Iíve sold Rahul long enough. Letís deconstruct him now.í

    Youíve described yourself as an emotional jester above all. Does that apply to this genre of films as well, or only to the feel-good melodrama variety?
    It applies to me as an actor more than to the films that I do. I have a bagful of tricks, and the tricks are mostly emotion-oriented. If youíre a child, I will try and show you magic. If youíre an intellectual, Iíll try and be boring for you. My job is to carry the bag, come to the court in the morning and make sure the king Ė my audience Ė is happy. You want me to be happy? No, you want me to cry? Ok, Iíll cry. Youíre a jester, and if you start taking yourself more seriously than that, it becomes difficult to do what youíre doing. If I think Iím the king, it would be an issue. Iím not being humble, I know Iíam called King Khan and all that. You want me to do something, Iíll try to do it. So if Arindam (Arindam Chaudhuri, of IIPM) feels I can host a quiz show (SRK was in Delhi to host IIPMís annual business and marketing quiz)... But Iím not Siddhartha Basu whoís hosted great shows, or Amin Sayani who has a wonderful voice, or Derek OíBrien whose knowledge is amazing, or Joy who works with me and is amazing at all this Ė yet, if someone feels I can do this, I will pick up my bag of tricks and try to do what I can.

    Youíve never been afraid to be politically incorrect, have you?
    Iíve always been politically correct, yaar. Iíve never said anything thatís meant to be hurtful or controversial Ė itís just that it tends to be utilised that way now. But I donít get too disturbed about it either. I mean, yeah, Iím not going to start blogging because of this, to put my point across, for sure! I donít need to do that.

    Taking of blogging, how tough was the post-IPL flak?
    It was post and pre, both.

    And it got extremely personal.
    Yeah, it did. And I donít like it, I donít like it at all. But success has this beauty that it eradicates all personal and impersonal attacks. So instead of saying, explaining, justifying Ė all I need to do is succeed at IPL. Which I will do. Unless I do that, thereís no point me explaining anything. I am hearing so much about what I am doing Ė which I am not doing. But I donít explain. Iíll just go and win IPL Ė and then all my decisions will sound right. The crux is not what people are saying. The crux is that my team is losing. And I need to rectify that. And once I win, itíll be like, ĎShah Rukh theek keh raha thaí.

    A house in Mumbai, a house in Dubai, a house in London, supposedly Ė you becoming a building magnate or what?
    Like I said, I get to know about my life and my houses from the media. Five years ago, I had supposedly bought an island! No, I donít own any house in London. I do rent apartments and perhaps when I say to someone, come to my place there, it gives the impression that itís my own house. Iíd love to buy a house there, though. But thatís after I win IPL, and after MNIK is a big hit!



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