Shah Rukh Khan, on the other side of 50, has evolved from being a witty superstar to a wise one
Ask any scribe about the most intelligent man in the film industry and without batting an eyelid, the unanimous answer would be Shah Rukh Khan.
Right from his repartee, to addressing reporters by their names or making anyone he meets feel valued — these are some aspects of his public behaviour that have helped Shah Rukh Khan build an aura of intelligence. His habit of reading voraciously and giving references from unexpected quarters has only added to this aura.
Those who have interacted with him will know that in the garb of good humour, also lay some haughtiness that we have witnessed for many years.
However, there is no missing the signs that age has certainly mellowed the man. What we see these days from Shah Rukh Khan, is pure wisdom. It certainly seems fair to conclude that being on the other side of 50 has made SRK a changed man.
So when Shah Rukh clicks a selfie along with Aamir Khan while attending the 50th birthday bash of PVR owner, Ajay Bijli, it makes us smile. That joint appearance was marred with much speculation and tense faces. Wisdom is clearly at work when Shah Rukh Khan decides to do a cameo in the Salman Khan starrer Tubelight.
This was something that was unimaginable a few years ago.
The metamorphosis is clearly at display when Shah Rukh Khan takes a back seat and decides not to release his Jab Harry Met Sejal alongside Akshay Kumar’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. It’s the same superstar who some years ago, convinced Jeetendra to postpone the release of his Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara! to pave a clear release window for his Chennai Express.
The step Shah Rukh took to move ahead the release of his co production with Imtiaz Ali, would have been previously unthinkable. Shah Rukh’s outward persona slowly seeped into his reel life too. When he gave his consent to the role of Dr Jehangir Khan in Dear Zindagi, it surely made everyone notice the maturity level the Khan has now attained. It looked much closer to his current persona, and reel life for a moment imitated real life.
When the superstar decided to give a TED talk, it certified that he is comfortable with ageing.
So what is it that has forced the man to change gears? Is it that his son Aryan is a grown-up now, or is it that none of his last four films — Raees, Dear Zindagi, Fan and Dilwale — managed great box office numbers in an era when his colleagues are easily touching the Rs 200-300 crore mark?
It could be all of this, or it could be none of this, and assumptions can only be based on current behaviour and actions. Shah Rukh Khan might consider himself as a lonely person (which he has often said in his interviews) but he is also a true entertainer who never fails to make people smile. His slightly brash behaviour and tongue-in-cheek comments are a part of his persona.
But his transformation is slowly and steadily being noticed by people who have followed the star's life and work.
He looked a bit uneasy at his TED Talk delivered in May 2017 at Vancouver.
At the talk, when he compared humanity with his ageing self, it very subtly brought out the compromises he has made with life till now. “Humanity is an ageing movie star grappling with all the newness around itself, wondering if it got right in the first place and still trying to find a way to keep on shining regardless,” were Shah Rukh’s exact words.
Whenever Khan has appeared on Koffee With Karan, the end result has always been fun and pure entertainment but his last season appearance was an exception to the rule. He looked sombre and at peace with himself. He even went ahead and said that he is comfortable now being the box office king and that there are so many roles that he is yet to do, and thus wants to work in and produce such films (that push the envelope).
So when SRK goes to attend Alia Bhatt’s birthday party and when his car accidently runs over a paparazzi at the venue, he ensures that the photographer is given a ride to the nearest hospital followed by a personal call to the attending doctor. This says a lot about the man whose photo of a fight with a security guard at the Wankhede Stadium portrayed a different image.
His Twitter posts have now become reflections of his self, which abound in humour and philosophy in equal measure. The positive signs of wisdom are all there and they are tidings of a great second inning, which is now reflecting in his choice of films.