“SRK, naam toh suna hi hoga”. I went through a lot of ideas when I started writing this article. What can be said about this man that hasn’t been said before? He is a superstar of Hindi cinema. The charismatic, dimpled King of Romance. The Badshah of Bollywood. I thought that rather than writing about the man, the myth I can share what he means to me. My love affair (albeit one-sided) started in 1998 when I first saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in the theatre. It is a feeling that has not subsided, even now. The characters that he has played on-screen have been an indispensable part of my life. I swoon when he stretches his arms. I feel deeply patriotic when an underdog team wins the Hockey World Cup and we see our nation’s flag on-screen. I laugh hysterically at the antics of a carefree detective. I sob uncontrollably when he meets his long lost-love after decades in the middle of a courtroom. I feel scared when he calls the woman he is obsessed with in the middle of the night. I reflect on my life, my privileges, and the state of my country when he drinks water from a child at a Railway Station. My heart aches when he expresses his love at the middle of Grand Central station, to a girl he can never get since he is terminally ill. He has played so many roles over the years, which are a testament to the fact that he is a great actor. Since, for most people like me acting is not about the craft, it is about the emotion. And that is what Shah Rukh is, a master of creating a plethora of emotions in you.
But it is not just about the characters that he portrays on-screen. It is also about what an everyman superstar he is. I have enjoyed his interviews just as much as his movies. He is witty. Every interview that he gives is filled with numerous quips. In a world where people of prominence have inflated egos which must be caressed gently, he is as modest and as self-aware as it comes. He talks about his shortcomings, and that even though he is a mega-star adored by millions, he is still fallible. In one of his interviews (My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Netflix), he admits that he doesn’t think himself to be talented enough, and that is why he thinks it is important to be in people’s hearts. I have never seen a star of his stature having the guts to say something like that. He talks about his ambitious projects that did not work as well as he would have hoped, and what he has learnt from them, and I learn along with him too. He inspires me through reel and real life stories.
I guess that’s why the love-affair that started in 1998 is still thriving in 2020. His earnestness and modesty makes me feel that he is my friend, my companion, my humsafar. I cry with him, I laugh with him, I want to do “Samunder ke saath Kabbadi” with him. I am a little disappointed when I don’t like his work, just as I would be disappointed in a friend. It is a love affair that has continued for over 20 years, and does not seem to die, for he is the king of hearts, then, now and forever.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.