Shah Rukh Khan is clocking his 25 years in the industry, and on this occasion a book titled 'SRK 25 Years Of A Life’, which traces his career, was unveiled by the actor along with journalist-turned-author, Samar Khan.
One of the several anecdotes of the day was how Shah Rukh's nose got him the role in Hema Malini’s film Dil Aashna Hai, the third film of his career which was released in 1992.
“I was an odd looking boy, I spoke too fast and I was not from a film background, but they gave me an opportunity. Tell me, who gets an opportunity in his life to sit across the dream girl and she says, 'I like your nose, it’s very aristocratic and you got into my film because of that.' Woh naak jisko main chupata phirta tha, woh naak Hema Malini ko pasand aayee (Hema Malini liked the same nose I was so embarrassed about)," he said.
Shah Rukh further recalled that a prominent film magazine had a screaming headline while quoting him: ‘Hema Malini doesn’t know how to direct’.
“Either I was wrongly quoted or maybe I was badtameez and I actually said it. I say lot of things and later wonder how I said this. But I didn’t mean it, I didn’t feel it. Next day I went on the sets quietly, trying to hide myself from Hemaji. But she called me and to my utter surprise, said, ‘Either you are very famous or I’m very famous. But I have stopped working, so it’s to be your fame and when you are famous, people write all kinds of nonsense. Go and get ready.’”
Shah Rukh has written the foreword for Samar’s book:
"After all these years, sometimes I’m not sure whether I gave form and shape to the characters I played or whether they unwittingly give me more facets than there ever had existed. Whether it was a Rahul, Raj, Mohan or Aryan, each of them took a piece of me and departed, leaving behind a little of themselves. Call it destiny or sheer fluke, they were characters that others didn’t take up and that eventually found their way to me.”
When Samar asked him about his belief in his directors, and how he never questioned them about scenes or dialogues or the way he looked, Shah Rukh said, “Film is a director’s medium so I have always believed in the filmmakers. The audience is watching the film through their eyes and not mine. Also, you have to believe in yourself as an actor. Whatever they make me do, I will do to the best of my capability. I find it very wrong when actors say that my character won’t say these lines. When you are playing the character, how dare you say that? Also, it’s not your duty to believe in what you are portraying, it’s your duty in making others believe in this is who you are.”
He further said, “I remember my mother was a very social lady and I would notice that she would adapt herself very well to whoever she was talking to, be it a worker, an army man or a businessman and that’s how actors have to be.”
Talking about working with new directors, Shah Rukh Khan said, “I’m always drawn to people who are new and making new films because I still feel like a newcomer. I don’t feel like some thespian.” He continues, “25 years? I feel so old. I feel so awkward as I sit here. Pacchis saal toh bohot bada hogaya (25 years has been a little too much). I find it very awkward I am spending 25 years here. But I have always felt that a new director would make new kind of cinema."
Shah Rukh Khan has also said that he still believes in pushing boundaries. "Lot has been left for me to achieve. There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and think that I’ve not done anything and would love to take up new challenges.”
When the author spoke to Shah Rukh’s directors like Mani Ratnam and Kundan Shah, they remembered him as a simple middle class boy from Delhi. While Abbas-Mustan, who directed Shah Rukh Khan in Baazigar, said, “there was a kind of danger in his eyes” (sic), Aditya Chopra felt that the only thing Shah Rukh doesn’t know to do in front of the camera is to smile, and that’s the only time he’s acting.
He’s more the sorrowing kind, felt Chopra. Shah Rukh corrected him by saying, “Not smile, laugh, I can’t laugh. I have lot of problem laughing in front of the camera. I find it very difficult to laugh on camera and that’s the very many problems I have.” He further adds, “But the description given by my directors make me sound like a middle class psychopath – a simple, middle-class psychopath.”
On the professional front, Shah Rukh Khan was last seen in Fan and will be next seen in Dear Zindagi alongside Alia Bhatt. He just finished shooting for Imtiaz Ali’s The Ring and will start shooting for Aanand L Rai’s film soon.