Noida: Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who in over 25 years of his career, has mastered the tricks of the trade in Bollywood, says nobody is "smarter" than him.
A proud father of three children -- sons Aryan and AbRam and daughter Suhana -- Shah Rukh minces no words in speaking his mind.
Shah Rukh Khan
And so, when IANS asked him if he finds his elder son Aryan, who recently graduated, smarter than he was during his youth, the 50-year-old said with a smile: "Nobody is smarter than me."
"Better looking, maybe."
Do you really think so?
Pat came the reply: "I think so... and he wears better clothes because he takes my clothes. But smart, no."
What about three-year-old AbRam, who seems to be taking away the lion's share in the cuteness quotient?
"I say this straight away -- there is nobody smarter than me... Outside the family or inside my family. I am too cool," the Bollywood 'badshah' reiterated.
IANS caught up with Shah Rukh for a quick chat while he was here on Tuesday at KidZania, a edutainment destination of which he owns a stake of 26 per cent.
The second such destination in India, KidZania -- which first began operations in Mumbai in 2013 -- opened its doors here on May 26. With paved roads, battery-operated vehicles, buildings, a fully functional economy with its own currency along with 27 real world brands, the place offers an authentic real world experience to its young guests for role-playing activities that promote learning with fun.
"I try to do things for children. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Mashallah, this one has worked very well," said the actor-producer, who is one of Indian cinema's top-rated and highest paid stars.
Edutainment, the "Fan" star feels, is a "space which can grow in India".
"Around 10 to 15 years ago, we were a developing nation, but now India is at the cusp of being developed. One has to understand that first come 'Roti, kapda aur makaan'. Then come entertainment and edutainment, and I think we are on the cusp of that.
"That's why you're seeing the IPL (Indian Premier League), the Kabaddi league, and more such things coming up. The big thing here is going to be looking after the children," said Shah Rukh, expressing hope that "there's a huge possibility of doing things in terms of television, films, theme parks, outdoor sports activities and more for children in India".
"We look at the West and say, 'How come they have so many things for their kids?' But it is because some of them are developed nations that they can venture out into this," he added.
But aren't today's children in India more priviledged than those in your childhood days?
"I think it has two parts -- priviledged yes, of course, and they should be so. I think every child in this nation should be priviledged, even the under-priviledged. They should really rise to a level where every parent looks at them and say, 'Wow, my child has much more'. And in every way -- education-wise, finances-wise and entertainment-wise.
"But the second part is that we had a lot more outdoor stuff. We tanned a lot more. We sweated a lot more. We could all turn around and say, 'We worked hard under the sun'. But times have changed," quipped Shah Rukh, whose next release is "Raees".
A tech-savvy person, Shah Rukh feels a place like KidZania is still "more outdoor" as compared to what today's children do in the digital world.
"I am not anti the digital part, but this is more outdoor compared to what they do on an iPad, iPhone or a telephone. Plus, I would tell all children, 'Please go outdoors', and tell their parents to take them out to the fields."