Unstoppable Star (CineBlitz Mar '00)

Focused. Determined. Chosen for fame. Handpicked for glory. Here's a SUCCESS STORY that could give every promising struggler HOPE! Shah Rukh Khan and his climb to stardom!

What do you say about Shah Rukh that hasn't already been said? That he is the most stupefying phenomenon to happen to India after Amitabh Bachchan? That he has become the biggest brand name in the history of Indian cinema? That there is no stopping this Khan's incredible rise to fame? What do you say about Shah Rukh that hasn't already been said?
CINE BLITZ chose to take a fresh look at the milestones in the career graph of a man, who is arguably the most famous Indian... Yes, besides Amitabh Bachchan!

1987-88: Shah Rukh Khan, a product of Barry John's theatre group in Delhi, bursts on to the small screen with 'Fauji', where he is cast as an army brave heart. Makes immediate impact and is hailed as an upcoming star by the television fraternity. After 'Fauji' comes Aziz Mirza's 'Circus' and 'Dil Dariya'. Far away in Mumbai, unknown to Shah Rukh, he has caught the attention of top producers.

1990: Shah Rukh bags his first film with Mani Kaul, called The Idiot. 1991, he loses his mother. Later, he will speak of that period as a time of great emptiness. He admits that it was his mother's death that pushed him into Bollywood. Otherwise, he would have been a teacher.

Shah Rukh packs his bags and moves to Mumbai. Bollywood has sniffed out the arrival of a bright star. Within a day, Shah Rukh lands three major films with Hema Malini, G.P. Sippy and Raakesh Roshan.

1992 : Shah Rukh Khan pumps Bollywood with four major films, a year after he arrives in Mumbai. Raj Kanwar's Deewana releases to packed houses in June '92. Two months later, he has Rajesh Mehra's Chamtakar. Trade-markets sit up in surprise as this Naseer-Shah Rukh-Urmila starrer sets the cash-registers resounding. Shah Rukh smugly follows up on these, with even more hits like Aziz Mirza's Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Hema Malini's Dil Aashna Hai. Bollywood grudgingly acknowledges Shah Rukh has ARRIVED...and in doing so legalises the Khan mania!

1993: Rakesh Roshan's King Uncle with Shah Rukh making a special appearance, is thumbed down. But giving Shah Rukh an upper in the same year, is Kundan Shah's Kabhie Haan Kabhie Naa, releasing to great critical acclaim. The critics dub his performance 'a marvel', that it 'just misses being world class'. But 1993 still has to see Shah Rukh do the unimaginable, the unthinkable... He plays negative characters in both Baazigar and Darr, and walks away with thundering applause! Shah Rukh indulges his taste for pain and also makes sure that the films turn out to be the biggest grossers of the year....

Very few people know that Shah Rukh has turned distributor with Kabhie Haan Kabhie Naa. He also takes up the distribution rights of O Darling Yeh Hai India, later in 1995.

1994: The actor tries recreating the Darr dream, with Madhuri Dixit this time. Realises, it won't work every time. Moves on to...

1995: Yash Chopra's Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, where he plays the complete romantic, wooing Kajol. With Karan Arjun, Shah Rukh moves into the mainstream masala genre. The actor's dramatic turn around after doing negative roles, is unconditionally accepted by Indian audiences.

1997: Koyla, with Shah Rukh playing the bonded labourer, flops. The audience can't take a mute Shah Rukh, speculate trade pundits. But in the same breath, Shah Rukh has two resounding victories in Dil To Pagal Hai and Pardes. Subhash Ghai and Yash Chopra go on record to tout Shah Rukh as a complete actor, one of their all-time favourites.

1998: The year opens indifferently for Shah Rukh. Yash Johar's Duplicate and Mani Ratnam's Dil Se are both cold turkey at the box-office. Shah Rukh goes on record to say that he holds these films very dear. But the latter half of 1998, has a huge surprise in store for him... Best buddy, Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, is a thorough tearjerker. The media, the audience, the industry...Kuch Kuch is unanimously declared a HIT! Shah Rukh is a happy man.

1999: Shah Rukh turns producer with Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. His company is called (typically) Dreamz Unlimited, with Aziz Mirza and Juhi Chawla for partners. Shah Rukh maintains that Dreamz Unlimited was started with all three of them pooling in Rs 500,000 each. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani is yet another turning point in Shah Rukh's graph.

2000: The millennium will see Shah Rukh working with Yash Chopra, Mansoor Khan, David Dhawan, Adeyaman, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shashilal Nair, Karan Johar...Ask Shah Rukh if he would call himself the biggest star of the '90s and he smiles... "Star of the'90s? Make that the star of 2010 or better still, 2020!" Touché to that, Mr Khan!

Shah Rukh is the essential family and friends man. His family is his priority. But he cares for his friends deeply, too. Only, he cares in a different way. Ask Chunky Pandey, a close friend of the Khan family and he says, "Despite being a brand name today, Shah Rukh has remained a regular guy. Yes, friends are important to him. Shah Rukh has bailed me out eight or nine times, when I have needed help. I do believe that as a friend, you can rely on him a 100 per cent."

Perhaps the only woman who has shared with Shah Rukh, the agony and pain of losing the most important people in their lives Ð their parents. Shehnaaz is something of an unknown quantity for the media. The one area in his life, Shah Rukh has always maintained a silence on.

The world knows of Gauri Khan as the wife of Shah Rukh Khan. The woman about whom Shah Rukh says, "Gauri and I have one thing in common. I like me and she likes me."And on a less flippant note, "I don't know whether I am a nut but I am very intense about my love for Gauri...She's a part of me. Or rather, I am her appendage. I would say that our relationship is spiritual. It's more than a physical love story..."

The most trying period for Shah Rukh, was when he had to forfeit his freedom, something he holds very dear. It was 1997 and the underworld had swung into action. As one of the industry's front-runners, Shah Rukh was a sitting duck for Mumbai's mafia. It was with great reluctance that he agreed to have bodyguards accompanying him to industry do's and film shoots. He is seen here, sitting in the menacing presence of his personal protector.

Shah Rukh's greatest fans are children. If the adults wrote off Duplicate, the children loved it. If the adults said Shah Rukh's acting went over the top, the children voted wholeheartedly for it...Shah Rukh himself maintains that he learns most of his acting from children and that is why, perhaps they are his most ardent fans. "Kids are the purest of the human species, they are closest to God."

Shah Rukh made waves from the time he first appeared on TV, as one of the 'chappies' from 'Fauji'... Then came 'Circus' and 'Dil Dariya' and Shah Rukh was on a roll. Within days of landing in Mumbai, Shah Rukh had signed three huge films. Hema Malini's Dil Aashna Hai, Rakesh Roshan's King Uncle and G.P Sippy's Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. A first ever for a so-called struggler. Reminiscing about those days, Shah Rukh often maintains that directors now tell him that when they saw him on TV in 'Fauji' and 'Circus', they knew he would be a star. That they would wait for him for 10 years but would work only with him. But Shah Rukh reveals that in his initial days of 'struggle', these were the same directors who rejected him.

The consummate actor. Shah Rukh has tread paths no other actor would have tackled. He did films that shocked people but still kept the cash registers ringing. The bad guy of Darr (the audience actually clapped for him when he stabbed Sunny), the mute labourer of Koyla, the second lead of Pardes, the old man in English Babu, Desi Mem...His fans have loved and accepted him, no matter what he does.

Khanspeak on his three favourite heroines - Madhuri, Juhi, Kajol.
"The best thing about Madhuri is her professionalism. She always helps me out with the dances. I know she will take care of me."
"Juhi gave me my first real break as a hero. She taught me restraint.... Juhi once psychoanalysed me and said, 'You act tough and arrogant only because you don't want to get hurt. Otherwise, you are a sweet guy underneath that tough exterior'."
Kajol: "Kajol was shouting at me from day one. I loved that. If I had a younger sister, she would be someone like Kajol."

Shah Rukh Khan turns producer with Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. Nine years of "hard work, madness, stress, chaos, problems, disagreements and untoward incidents...these were the most beautiful parts of my life. I couldn't have asked for more. Now, with Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, my dreams have come true. After Phir Bhi... we will have a production office to call our own."

Other Articles:

Shahrukh on PBDHH (pre-release)
Filmfare March 2000
Unstoppable Star- Cineblitz
I want to retain what I've and recapture what I've lost
Masala Unlimited
PBDHH & a little more
Shahrukh Khan opens the flood gates
Shahrukh furious with national press

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