The dawn of 25th June 1992 witnessed the birth of a star. The silver screen welcomed the young, charming 26-year-old boy with open arms. While the audience applauded the transformation of "that Fauji and Circus boy" into the second lead in Raj Kanwar's Deewana, Bollywood readied itself to be deconstructed, reconstructed and reinvented by the dimpled boy.
The highly talented, self-motivated young lad emerged from the unknown alleys of Delhi and stepped into the world of glitz and glamour to achieve milestones and create history. I don't remember when the first time was that I heard the name 'Shah Rukh Khan'. But since the time I heard it, no other name did I ever want to hear. Being an early '90s kid, the name symbolised love, life and happiness for me.
My face shone every time he arrived on screen with the mandolin, amidst the vast expanse of the sunflower fields. I couldn't resist falling for him. I couldn't resist falling for the 'Raj' and 'Rahul' characters that he brought to life on screen. To me, his name always stood (and still stands) for "all things love".
Today, Shah Rukh Khan, one of the pillars of Indian cinema, completes 29 years of his cinematic journey. This article is my personal ode to this man of a million hearts, who also happens to be my first love. His acting prowess has not only kept me entertained over the years but has also refined me as an individual. Among all his on-screen roles, four characters lie closest to my heart.
Each of these characters has shared crucial life lessons that are impossible to be ignored. They have motivated me whenever I doubted my abilities, pulled me up whenever I lost myself in the walk of life and filled me with positivity whenever my spirits went down.
I was only 8 years old when the charming character of Raj Aryan Malhotra hit the movie theatres with his eyes full of hope and heart full of love. He ushered in the new millennium in his own, unique way. Now when I look back at the movie, I see myself picking up clues and cues that the character had gently placed all along, only to make my life a little happier in one way or the other.
As he guided Sameer, Karan and Vicky in their journey of love, I didn't even realise that he became my own love guide too. Raj Aryan teaches me the language of love. He consoles me saying, "Mohabbat mein shartein nahi hoti, toh afsos bhi nahi hona chahiye." It is because of him that I comprehended the concept of selfless love and understood its true value.
Aman Mathur is the ideal lover. The lover that every girl dreams of, the lover that every girl wishes for! The full-of-life, happy-go-lucky Aman makes me realise that life is ever-fleeting. He encourages me to 'live life king size' so that I never have to say "kaash" in my life. His positivity motivates me to look at life differently and make the most of every single moment.
This is undoubtedly one of Khan's best performances. This movie has him at his very best. Every single dialogue uttered by coach Kabir Khan with a stern face and a strict demeanour gives me the courage to challenge myself, push my limits and achieve the unachievable. The iconic "Sattar minute" dialogue still rings in my ears whenever I find myself standing at the crossroads of life and in need of a good dose of motivation and encouragement.
During a time when the issue of mental health is securing heightened attention, Dear Zindagi stands apart from the regular mainstream Bollywood movie. I revisit this movie each time I feel defeated at the hands of life. Dr. Jehangir Khan counsels me on how to try out different chairs before finding that 'perfect' one. He advises me to not let my past blackmail my present to ruin a beautiful tomorrow.
I stare at him, deeply engrossed in his words. He gives me the liberty to feel and express my emotions. He urges me to take control of the 'steering wheel' of my life and not let anyone else be in the driver's seat. He shares innumerable valuable insights, which empower me to sail through life's complexities and help me reach my desired goal.
Shah Rukh Khan is a feeling, an emotion. He might be the 'King of Hearts', the 'Baadshah of Bollywood', or 'King Khan' to the entire world. But to me, he is my own personal mentor. He holds me and lifts up my mood whenever I am at my most vulnerable. He inspires me to dream the impossible and inculcates within me the power to make all my dreams come true. To me, he is much more than a movie star. He is my forever guide and a lifelong best friend.