While picking up an award named after his mentor, Shah Rukh Khan says Yash Chopra pushed him into romance
Shah Rukh Khan
In a career spanning over three decades, Shah Rukh Khan has delivered multiple blockbusters under the Yash Raj Film banner, including Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997), Veer Zaara (2004) and, more recently, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). "I can proudly say that Yash Chopra has single-handedly created my career," said the actor, who was conferred with the Fourth National Yash Chopra Memorial Award on Saturday.
Despite competing with the likes of Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan, who were evidently celebrated for their good looks, SRK battled all odds to become one of the most revered romance heroes of the era. Yet, this feat, he says, seemed an unlikely one to achieve when he was just starting out.
Shah Rukh Khan carries a chair to hand to Rekha at the award ceremony on Saturday. Pic/Sameer Markande
"I began working with Yashji in Darr (1993), where I played the antagonist. I remember him telling me that until I play a lover boy, my career wouldn't take off," says the actor, confessing that he didn't want to be a romantic hero. "I am not good with romance. I felt I wasn't good looking enough. I just went by his belief and it paid off."
There has been enough talk of the actor's close association with the late filmmaker, who he has often referred to as a father-figure. "Yashji was unique in his own way. He was honest and straightforward and his simplicity made him special. Everyone who worked with him knew I was like his child. I had the fortune of doing the maximum number of films with him."
Along with the title and a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, SRK also received a gold bracelet at the event. When veteran actress and last year's title winner Rekha wrapped it around his wrist, the actor joked, "This is a special night, but the [last thing] I expected was a rakhi from Rekha. It has to be the saddest moment of my life."
The 51-year-old actor was honoured in the presence of Chopra's wife Pamela, yesteryear actors Jayaprada, Shatrughan Sinha, Simi Garewal, Padmini Kohlapuri, MP Subbarami Reddy and Maharashtra governor Vidyasagar Rao.
Previous recipients of the award include Lata Mangeshkar and Amitabh Bachchan.