We need to grow up, Shahrukh Khan defends DilSe

- Shah Rukh Khan

He’s shaking his booty at the Satyam Hall in Juhu. It’s the last rehearsal before Shah Rukh Khan takes off for a whirlwind concert tour of London and Ummmrica.

Evidently, the commercial and crucial drubbing of Dil Se has stymied SRK’s spirit. Somewhat. But what the heck tomorrow’s another day.

About the disappointing performance of Dil Se at the box office, SRK sallies, "The film wasn’t made to shove a message down the audience’s throat. It showed what’s going on around us today and let the viewers draw their own conclusions. That’s one of the reasons, we didn’t want a happy ending, with all the problems solved and Manisha Koirala and I traipsing into the sunset. Mani Ratnam didn’t want to sugarcoat the story. The film wasn’t a quick-fix type of thing."

The actors adds, "I sincerely believe Dil Se is a landmark film. Maybe it is ahead of its times. I’m sure 10 years down in the line, it will be hailed as a classic. Even Kagaz Ke Phool and Sholay were thumbed down by the critics when they were released. So you see we’re in august company.

"Look, the critics accuse me of being repetitive. They keep harping that I only do fluffy and frothy films. Then when I go ahead and do a mature Dil Se they still continue complaining. I think the critics’ charges are becoming repetitive. The film industry is trying very hard to pigeonhole me, but I won’t let them. They’re only interested in making manipulative films and tear-jerkers euphemistically called family entertainers."

A couple of phirang fan types materialise out of thin air for an autograph. The pathological performer is on again. He’s 33, but there’s that aw-shucks sort of boyishness. It may be an act, but it’s a good one. Off-screen too, the autograph seekers get their paisa vasool entertainment and then leave.

He’s still preoccupied with Dil Se. He harrrumphs, "Some distributor types were suggesting that we change the end. They wanted me to live. They felt people would flock back to the theatres to see their hero again. Imagine!

"A couple of days after Dil Se was released. Mani (Ratnam) spoke to me. He seemed quite off-colour. I told him not to worry. The only way we can silence all those bak-bak fellows is by making another film together right away."

Clearly, SRK’s spirit hasn’t been squelched. Going ballistic, he states, "My next film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a sureshot bonanza. I’m confident about it because it’s a more obvious film. It’s geared towards extracting every emotion from the audience."

The Khan insists that he won’t be dictated by the dos and don’ts of showbiz. "I’m glad I’ve started my production house," he exults. "Now I can design my own films. I don’t have to listen to some illiterate producer types telling me how many songs to put in. Or some upstart telling me to wear body-tight T-shirts so I can look more happening."

He touches on the topic of responsibility, quite frequently after the birth of his son. "With Aryaan, I’ve felt a whole new level of love," he says quietly. "I feel more responsible. Ever since he was born on November 12, I’ve been working doubly hard. I"ve paid off all the loans I took for my new house. I want to secure Aryaan’s future. He should never be deprived of anything.

It’s wonderful to see him grow. Grappling between Aryaan and my dog Chewbecca, Gauri is a complete mess. When I reach home after work, there she is in a housecoat, looking like a zombie. Poor thing, my son and dog are just too much for her to handle."

We chat some more about the sheer thrill involved in the picturisation of Chhaiyan chhaiyan for which he had to dance atop a moving train for five days without a protective harness.

Yup, Dil Se is close to his heart. It may not have clicked. But as the actor concludes, "We had a great time making it... we did every scene with conviction.... Now that’s what I call honest film-making."

- Filmfare

Other Articles:

Filmfare Awards 1998
Will Shahrukh strike back?
Shahrukh's views on DilSe and more
I act all the time
Shahrukh defends DilSe


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