ARE YOU READY? WE'RE ENTERING MASALA TERRITORY AS
SHAHRUKH KHAN (KING KHAN AS BOX-OFFICE WORSHIPPERS HAVE CROWNED HIM) SITS
IN HIS MINI VAN DOING A BALANCING ACT - A PEPSI CAN IN ONE HAND AND THE
UBIQUITOUS CIGARETTE IN THE OTHER WHILE HE HELPS PARK THE DICTAPHONE IN A
STEADY POSITION WHERE IT WON'T KEEP WOBBLING.
OF COURSE, JUGGLING WITH AN IMPOSSIBLE VARIETY OF ITEMS IS HIS FORTE.
AS THE RESTLESS ACTOR FROM DELHI SETTLES DOWN COMFORTABLY, IT'S OBVIOUS
THAT HE'S RESETTLED HIMSELF ALL THE WAY - BOTH IN HIS VAN AND IN THE CITY
SHAHRUKH CONTINUES WITH THE BALANCING AND THE JUGGLING AS THE CONVERSATION
HURTLES THROUGH A TRAFFIC JAM OF QUESTIONS. OH, BY THE WAY, WE'LL LEAVE
THE DEBATABLE COLLECTIONS OF HIS LATEST FILM OUTSIDE THE VAN AND GET ON
WITH A LOT MORE, OKAY?
What are your dreams for Dreamz, your company?
I want our company to be able to make films the way we want to make them.
It's sad that when anyone attempts a different kind of cinema it's not
accepted and when the same cliché is presented, they say, "Oh, so
predictable, so cliché!' In Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani we have tried to
balance different view points. It's not a patriotic film or a romantic
film or a comedy. It's a mixture of all this. It was a lot of fun making
What is your role in Dreamz, the production company?
I demarcate the working areas. I sit on the script of every film that I
work in anyway, so likewise for the films I'm producing too. Jai Mehta has
been handling the business, the accounts and the paperwork involved. Apart
from the direction, Aziz Mirza sat on the story and scripting of Phir Bhi
Dil Hai Hindustani. Yash Johar handled actual production and Juhi has been
looking after the publicity and promotion. I do the technical stuff like
the equipment, getting the look organized. It's all very interesting. But
I don't take time off to do it, I do it all the time, simultaneously with
my other commitments.
Do you plan to go into direction?
Not for another seven to eight years.
Do you ever want to star in a Hollywood film?
I don't have a burning desire to be recognize. internationally. I'm happy
being a frog in the well. 11 have enough (going for me here). There is so
much,' talent in this country as far as directors, actors, technicians,
music directors, choreographers, et al are concerned. There's more talent
in India than anywhere else in the world. If they don't recognize this
abroad, it's their loss, not ours.
Is there any role that you desperately want to do?
I'm making films for people. I'm not intelligent enough to conceive a film
or roles for myself. I could do it, but shouldn't, because I'm not making
films for myself. There are lots of people who'll do that for me right
now, make what I want, wrongly though. It can be very flattering. But no
director worth his salt will agree to make a film just because an actor
wants to do it.
Out of the wide variety of directors you have worked with which director
do you feel knows you thoroughly as an actor?
Mahesh Bhatt is one of the few directors who understands my
interpretations and lets me do my stuff, even though they are a little
vague, strange and wacky. My sense of humor and acting is different
(from other people's). My interpretation of characters and roles is
perhaps not so well defined as to be understood by everybody. The fault
lies with me. There's something wrong with the way I interpret scenes.
You'll see a lot of me in all my films. But strangely, the films I don't
like do amazingly well, and the films I do, don't do so well. I believe in
the non-narrative, in things which are a little different. I like films
which focus on technique. I've done films with good stories, it's time I
polished up the way my films look. That's why I believe in technology
also. What would you attribute your success to?
I've only chosen and done the right films, I'm very proud of that. Stardom
for me would mean that at the end of my career, I have 10 such 'right'
films. As of now I have just a few. Anybody can do two films and get a
response from the public. I believe that when they respond to me, it's not
something personal to Shah Rukh Khan, and I'm not being modest. Any other
actor in a film like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Dil Se would have got the same
response. The fact is, there are 30 or 40 people involved in making this
phenomenon and this kind of reaction happen.
Which are the films you are proud of?
I don't really know about feeling proud but my most satisfying films have
been Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Javenge, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Ram Jaane, Yes
Boss, Koylaa, and of course, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, because I have
been able to do something a little different as a hero. In Yes Boss,
it was the whole feeling of being a pimp, selling off his own girlfriend
or wife; in Koyla, the fact that he doesn't speak, and also that it was a
Other actors may not find it wonderful because they've played macho roles
before, but for me it was the first and only film. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa
was a wonderful film where I grew as an actor and I liked myself in it, so
it's close to my heart. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge for me was a stepping
stone towards changing what people believed I could never do, that is,
play a romantic hero. Baazigar is a hallmark film for me because I like to
believe that I introduced the bad guy as hero. It was one of the turning
points of move career.
Likewise Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, because it took me out of playing a college
kid, into more mature roles. I may be able to slowly transfer myself into
roles where I play my age as I get older. Maybe because of Kuch Kuch Hota
Hai I'll last as long as Sean Connery. And Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani is
my very own baby. I could interpret my role totally as I saw fit because
I'm the producer and I make the rules. Ha ha!
Your energy levels are legendary and you seem to be insatiable where your
work is concerned*
I love what I do, be it production or acting. I am a very stylized actor
and I'm proud of that. I like the fact that I do everything with style. I
like acting because I like to sell dreams. And when I sell dreams, they
can-^not be in black and ' white, they have to be everything that a] man
wants to see in a dream. I find it very strange when actors say success
deprives them of privacy and all that. They're not sacrifices we make,
just occupational hazards. No big deal!
When I chose to be an actor, I chose all this. If it wasn't there, I'd
feel worse. If I go out on the streets and nobody recognizes me, if I go
into a hotel and get served last, if I go to a discotheque and they don't
play my songs, I'll feel terrible.
Which films do you have on your hand at the moment?
Kamal Haasan's He^.' Ram with Kamal and , Rani Mukherjee. Yash Chopra's
Mohobbatein with j Ash, Venus' Josh with Aishwarya Rai, Ramgopal I Varma's
film, K.C. Bokadia's Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam, with Salman and Madhuri,
Shashilaal Nair's One Two Ka Four with Jackie and Juhi. Then I have Yash
Johar's film following soon and Rajeev Mehra's next, David Dhawan's next,
Rajkumar Santoshi's next, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas with Ash and
Madhuri..... all of which we have yet to start work on.
Phew! With work being such a passion, how much time do you spend with your
I'm always with my family and friends. I'd like to spend as much time with
Aryaan as my parents with me. I was quite well brought up. There's special
that I plan or think about regarding future. I don't think of leaving him
money. I'll, a good childhood in the sense that I'll be a loving father
and his mother is very loving. He should be able talk to me when he wants
and not talk when he doesn't should be able to lead his own life. I'd like
him to be educated, to be well read, and give him ever available. But it
doesn't matter what I like finally he's going to be what he wants to he.
A footnote for fans: There'll be an addition to the Shah RukhGauri
family soon - and you talkative Khan will have plenty more to say when the
new bundle of joy (reportedly a baby girl) arrives on the scene in