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August - September 2007


Interview: Shah Rukh Khan - The icon of modern youth of India

by Krishan Ralleigh and Indy Aujla

Exclusive Interview: Krishan Ralleigh and Indy Aujila

The film media in India like to call him the ‘King of Bollywood’. His parents gave the name ‘Shah rukh’ the face of a king. When we met this slim, confident-looking actor in a West End hotel in London, his amiable manners and frank discussion on any matter of our choosing floored us. We always admired his acting, even in the films worthy of dustbin rather than on screen.

I.LI: “It is our second meeting. I was highly impressed by your eloquent answers at our first meeting. The experience of the last five years has further sharpened your intelligence and wisdom. What are your views on the latest ‘tamasha’ of Bollwood staged in Yorkshire”.

SRK: Frankly, I was not there. But I feel that any event that promotes Indian cinema is good for us. Exposure to world market brings money to Bollywood. As a commercial venture, it was quite a success. About the authenticity of Awards given, I would say ‘no comments’.

A scene from ‘Chak de India’, Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film to be released on 9 August

ILI: Tell us something about your childhood experiences in Delhi. How has it formulated your success in film industry?

SRK: As a child, I got the best education. I studied at St. Columba’s School, one of the best in Delhi. Born in a middle class educated family, my Urdu diction was impeccable. This helped me a lot in my acting career in Bombay.

ILI: Was your introduction to Bombay film industry through some family connection or the result of your own ambition?

SRK: I did not have any family connection with Bollywood. I was determined to make it a success in Bombay film industry. I knew I had talent for acting. I just needed an opportunity. It was my confidence in my own abilities that opened the door for me in Bombay.

ILI: What are your views about the latest trends in Indian film industry? Don’t you think there is too much violence and nudism in the garb of art?

SRK: I don’t think so. Art is ever changing with time. Film industry is experimenting with new ideas all the time. Violence in a particular context can be a good drama. Sexual relationship is a fact of life. But I will not accept exploitation of sex and nude scenes without any dramatic context.

ILI: You were recently quoted as saying that you were an ambassador of Islam? How different is it from being called as ambassador for a new India?

SRK: I was misquoted. I only said I would be happy to be ambassador of Islam of Peace. To be called an ambassador for new India, I will be proud of that.

ILI: Shah Rukh as a husband father and Shah Rukh as an actor! Did you ever find any clash between your duties as a husband or father and as an actor?

SRK: Clash is a wrong word. There is scarcity of time given to family no doubt. However, my wife understands that. Family is my first love. It is for the sake of family that I work hard. I know that success in my career will bring happiness and prosperity to my family. There is complete harmony between our relationship.

Shah Rukh Khan with Indy Aujla editor ‘Woman Section’ of india Link International

ILI: Let me ask you about your latest venture as an anchor for KBC (Kaun banega crorepati). Did you ever realise that you were encouraging greed for money, jealousy etc. through this sort of programme, a copy of western television where attraction for money is the be-all and end-all. Is Indian television incapable of producing an interesting and enlightening quiz programme with rewards of a different nature?

SRK: There is nothing wrong with such programmes. Promotion of capitalism is good for the country. If people can enjoy by being rich then there is nothing wrong with that. However, the condition is that money earned should be by honest means. People who are lucky to get financial rewards, I would say, good luck to them. They have earned it in an honest way.

ILI: What are your ideas about globalisation of Bollywood?

SRK: I welcome this trend. In many ways, it will improve the quality of Indian films.

Shah Rukh Khan in his 40s is already at the peak of fame. Which of your films would you consider as a sort of classic?

SRK: It is difficult to judge. Some films may be commercially a failure; but they may in the long run prove to be of great value.

ILI: Shah Rukh in his 60s? Whom will he emulate? Devanand? Dilip Kumar or Amitabh?

SRK: I do not think I will be working then. I would like to enjoy wealth with my family. On second thought, I may produce some films. Difficult to say at this stage. But a happy retirement is my aim.

ILI: Any idea of entering in political arena? An MP?

SRK: Certainly not.

It will be interesting to see Shah Rukh’s new film ‘Chak De India’, in which he trains a women’s hockey team in the name of greater glory to India. Perhaps, some of his tactics will provide useful tips to our coaches in hockey and cricket.

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