Shah Rukh Khan speaks candidly about his insecurities and fears and what makes him a winner in spite of everything. Excerpts from an interview...
So Indiawale in Happy New Year is a patriotic message?
SRK: I have always maintained that each of my films, however commercially mounted they are, does give out a message. Message is never more important than the entertainment, but it’s always there. Jisko samajh me aaya, aagaya. When Farah narrated the subject to me, I told her let’s mount this unabashedly, like a big time Bollywood masala film. Of course, times have changed so there has to be logic in whatever we do, it can’t be like we open the door and reach Switzerland, but the idea was to stick to the entertainment. Indiawale concept is important and after it, all things fell into place. This film is different because it doesn’t talk about winners; it celebrates six losers who have their individual dreams to fulfill.
Pic/ Satyajit Desai
For a superstar like you, was it a challenge to play a loser?
SRK: (Smiles) I understand being a loser and that’s perhaps why I am a winner. At my level, you lose different things… (laughs) Faor us losing is when your film doesn’t cross R100 crore. Of course, Kolkata Knight Riders has taught me how to lose every morning. The fact is that life gives even losers a chance. It’s also a fact that even though we celebrate the very few absolute winners, those who aren’t winning are also happy.
A lady might not be the best-looking woman but she is happy too. A majority of the people is happy without being the epitome of success. So happiness has nothing to do with winning or success.
You had once famously called your father a successful failure...
SRK: I am really inspired by that man. Probably because I lost him early. He was this Pathan who was so handsome, so qualified, so sacrificing. He fought for this country’s freedom; he taught us values, but he was not really successful in the worldly sense. But for us, he was successful because he taught us not to cheat, not to be petty. I also think he’s a winner because I am where I am because of what he taught me. His lessons didn’t go waste.
(From left to right, standing) Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff, Farah Khan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood; (sitting) Vivan Shah and Shah Rukh Khan with music director duo Shekhar Ravjiani and Vishal Dadlani at the trailer launch of Happy New Year. pic/PTI
Are you a good or bad loser?
SRK: I am a good loser on the face of it. I was very active in sports during my younger days and that has taught me how to lose. There have been times when everybody pinned hopes on me to win a match, and I have managed to lose it. Yes, if I lose something in my personal space, I will be sad and disturbed, but not professionally. Our field is strange, we are supposedly producing works of art, but it is so dependent on the money that it makes. I have no qualms about saying that I have made loads of money. Allah has been good; I got lucky.
Having said that, let me admit that I don’t understand the economics that goes into making films. We love to box everything, we box memories, old clothes, jewellery, the first article and then we feel unsafe if they are not found in those boxes. We have difficulty in accepting things that cannot be put in a category. People have already made up their minds about me. ‘He is doing well? He must be a marketing genius, or his PR company is doing well.’ I like it that nobody knows who I am. I am not shrewd, not smart, I am not even as hard-working as I am made out to be. I practice my acting when I am giving interviews. I act according to what the interviewer wants. Rarely do I get to sit and converse like I am doing now. I am asked questions million times like what do you want to be when you wake up tomorrow... ab main kya ban sakta hoon, wahi banoonga jo main hoon (what can I become now, I am what I already am).