PBDHH & a little more
Trying to catch Shah Rukh Khan unawares was never going to
be an easy job. He lives media, breathes media and now he's gone and made
a film about media. This is the same media who sacrifices acres of trees
to publish scandalous stories about anyone who meets the public eye,
making and breaking careers on whim and fancy, unscrupulously molding
quotes and rumours to align with their chosen angle. Sometimes they go too
far, and Shah Rukh is hot on their heels, chasing their conscience. Hold
the front page, then, for Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, which, at its core
level, can work as a visual guide on how the media should practice their
code of conduct.
The movie, which sees him unite with Juhi Chawla once more, follows the
story of two mercenary journalists working at two rival television
channels, both employing every underhand tactic in the book to get one up
on the other's ratings.
"Both journalists are young, brilliant, ambitious, self-centred and
very focussed at their job, but because they are running after ratings,
they do everything within their power to trip up the other. Until they
come across a story that is so important that they put their differences
aside and work together to find the truth." On behalf of the media,
we can breathe a sigh of relief. Shah Rukh and juhi, who part-own the
infant Dreams and Filmz studios, have not thrown down the gauntlet at the
media, merely highlighting the difference between chasing a good story and
finding the truth. And if the media are too sensationalistic or lazy to
bother to get to the bottom of it, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani is here to
get right on top of it.
Why are you taking the mickey out of journalists? "No, that's not
right. We are not taking the mickey out of journalists. Whenever you have
the power and the hype, one should think a little bit more unselfishly and
think about the good you can do with it. It is good to be self-centred and
ambitious because I'm like that. I'm a media person, nobody is bigger than
I am. You sometimes have to be selfish, as long as you stand by the side
So you appreciate why journalists can sometimes make a story appear more
sensational than it really is? "We all blow some stories out of
proportion. Sometimes it's the right thing to do. We are not questioning
the righteousness of the media, but if someone dwells in deeper you may
get the facts right and may feel sometimes the angle you originally chose
was not perhaps the right one."
We're in the business of entertainment. As long as a story is
entertaining, surely that works in both our favours?
"God forbid you do a story on someone and something drastic happens.
Not too long ago, a critic wrote something very bad about a musician and
that musician committed suicide. If that happens, seeing it from his point
of view, one would feel he was a little harsh on him." Have you ever
been on the receiving end of such harshness?
"No, I've never commited suicide over anything that has been written
journalists are notorious for sometimes stepping over the mark to get what
they want. How far do you go to achieve your goal?
"I would never step on anyone's toes or push anyone down on my climb
to the top. I have certain values and ethics that 1 follow which are not
perhaps socially and morally correct but I do follow them. I sometimes do
things which I think are right but might not be right according to other
people, because that's the philosophy of my life."
How about in the early days of your career. You must have pulled a few
"I've always been like that. For the past ten years I've done exactly
the same thing I would do right now. My critics will vouch for that. As
things stand, I do what I feel is right and what brings me happiness and
it doesn't hurt anyone. It's a very simple thing to say, but that's how I
A lot of journalists start their own publication or become writers because
they are bored with what they are given to write. Did you start your own
production company so you could star in a film you wanted to act in?
"I've starred in some good roles with some great directors. With due
respect to everybody I've worked with, I'm still on the search of doing an
Is Phir Bhi Oil Hai Hindustani an exceptional film? "No. I think the
most exceptional thing about this movie is that it is reasonable and
straightforward. It's special because it's ordinary."
Speaking of special things, you love "special effects'. Can we expect
to see your film studio producing big budget movies like Armageddon?
"I like films like Con Air, The Rock, all the the James Bon movies.
If Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani does well and we make a lot of money from
it, I will convince my partner; to let me make a film like that."
When you say partner, you're referring to Juhi. Seeing as journalists can
be such scandal-seekers, why do you think they avoid partnering you off
with female stars like Juhi?
"I have a lot of close girlfriends, colleagues who I am really
friendly with. I don't think there's anything wrong going out with a
girlfriend. Other than that, I've never gone out with a girl other my wife
What has Gauri got that other girls haven't? "I married her. She
knows me for who I am, I've known her since 1984 and every moment I've
spent with her has been special. She is the first girl I ever asked for a
dance, she said
yes, and we've been together ever since."
Can she expect a Valentine's treat this year? "I don't know. We'll
probably just have a party I think, something intimate and special."
Does Gauri mind you having all these female disciples or does she know
where you're coming from? "She knows exactly where I come from. As a
matter of fact, she is as surprised as I am. 'How come you get so much
attention. You're such an ordinary person?' I am quite ordinary, in my
personal life and even my professional life. That person that comes on the
screen, one has to remember that he is multiplied a thousand times. I
cannot start believing I am that one thousand times larger."
For our male readers, do you have any tips on how we can get ourselves a
special lady like Gauri? "Love stories of people are the most
subjective and personal things that one can think of. I believe everyone's
relationships are completely different. I would not be able to give advise
to anyone because their lifestyles will be different to mine."
What if we're not a relationship? How do we approach a fit girl?
"I don't know, I can't approach a girl. I can't talk to them, I'm
Did I hear that right? Shah Rukh Khan. Shy? "I'm very shy of women.
The first girl I asked for a dance danced with me so I married her. I'm
glad I don't have to do that ever again."
It must pump your nads knowing that so many girls all around the world
have your posters on their wall? "I think they like the characters
that I play in films. The Rahuls, the Raj - maybe if they got to know me
personally, they wouldn't like me so much."
You're being modest, surely? "I'm not modest, I'm realistic. I do
believe that this must be true. Because I do a lot of things on screen
which make me appear larger than life - I love larger, I romance larger, I
joke larger, I fight larger. All these things, somewhere along the lines,
make you feel that this person you see is better than perhaps what I
really am. The characters they love are the characters that I create - it
need not mean that I am exactly like that."
Can you separate the two in your own head? "No. When acting, there
are times when I let loose and give a lot of me. Most of the characters
have parts of me, but I never really take an aspect of the character and
make it a part of me. Raj will have a lot of Shah Rukh but Shah Rukh will
never take Raj home."
Which character comes closest to you? "The character in Kabhie Na
Kabhie is very close to me. The characters in Dilwale......, Kuch Kuch
Hota Hai, a bit of Duplicate, the comedic part of Baadshah also come
If we travelled back ten years and found you on the football pitch, would
we find the same guy?
"Exactly. As a matter of fact I played football today."
Did you score?
"I scored one, but a really bad one. I think the guys gave me the
ball thinking I'm a star. But I did trip a couple of them up."
Do you get aggressive on the pitch? "I used to get physical but not
these days. I'm too old!"
34 is hardly old my friend. Were you a bit of a bad boy when you were
younger? "I used to have a lot of fun. but clean fun. My father
always told me 'You should have fun that never hurts anyone.' I've been
very naughty, I've troubled my teachers, I've been suspended from
What did you get suspended for? "For developing a strange kind of
gas. But I never did anything like scratching somebody's car or hurting
anyone physically. I've smoked my cigarettes, I've had a drink when I
shouldn't have, but I've never been in a drunken brawl."
You smoke like a trooper. Is that your only vice? "I don't think I
have many other vices. I think I'm very nice. I always look at things from
the other person's point of view. But I think smoking is an awful habit
and any child or kid who likes me or anyone who smokes because I smoke I
want to give the message through snoop magazine that smoking kills."
Have you ever thought of quitting? "Every month I try. The longest
I've managed is three months - smoking that is, not films!"
You need to keep yourself alive so you can make( first big budget special
effects ridden Hindi version of Armageddon!
"Insha'allah there will be another movie. We've got little bit over
budget with the movie, but if this film does well and we make a profit
from it, then juhi, ^ Mirza and I will think about the next movie and make
it bigger, better and nicer."
And if it doesn't?
"Then I guess we'll just have go back to our offices apply for new