Bollywood’s Badshah, Shah Rukh Khan turns 54 today. His abode Mannat in Bandra, will welcome the mammoth gathering of fans who flock outside for just a glimpse. Hailed as world’s most popular superstar on his appearance on David Letterman, SRK has come a long way to earn that crown.
Shah Rukh Khan didn’t become a superstar overnight. His life has been a cinematic journey in itself. The struggles, the failures, it resembles to every person who is trying to make it big in the maximum city. He may not be the first name that pops up for a millennial, but unlike any other superstar in the industry, Khan has carved a niche for himself from being a ‘no one’ to ‘the one’, and that sets him apart.
When on Letterman, Shah Rukh went on a spree of sarcasm and wit that is probably the best you can get out of a Bollywood star. So what makes him one of us?
Shah Rukh just like every kid, was confused about his choice of subjects and what he really wanted to peruse as a career. He said, “I finished Science. I wanted to be an Engineer. And then I realised I can’t be. There’s a lot of things I realised I can’t be, so I became an actor. It’ll sound like that. But then I did my graduation in economics and then I did my Masters in mass communication. I wanted to be a journalist.”
But does he understand the newspaper? He mentioned his father telling him, “the only way you can think you’re educated is if you can read a newspaper and understand every page of it. 35 years, later I open a newspaper and I can’t understand a word that’s written on it.”
Many of us would agree of our parents bribing us with the things we love in order to make us do what they want. Be it an outing, a toy or a candy bar, they know how to hit the head right on the nail. Similarly, there was a time when SRK’s mom kept a condition to watch a movie in the theatre. He recalled the how his mother gave him a Hindi dictation test, because he wasn’t good at it, and said if he got it right, the movie plan was on. He said, “I wasn’t good at Hindi because I was in an Irish Brothers missionary school. So, I wasn’t good at it and she said ‘If you get ten out of ten in your exam, then I’ll take you to watch a film for the first time. We were not very well to do. So to go to a movie theatre was a very big thing. So I learned these 10 words except for one. I just looked across and saw that I’d made a mistake. So I copied that one, I must tell you. I cheated. But it was my own mother so I could cheat her. And then I got ten out of ten and she took me for the first time.”
Remember how we had our own gang in school, pretended to be cool and basically seek attention? Well SRK did that too. He had his C-Gang. He said, “We’d seen Grease and you know T-birds and leather jackets. And so we all decided to get ourselves jackets. We formed a gang in school and we pretended we were those guys. And that we could dance and sing and girls fell for us and like we were really cool. But I think nobody took us seriously. It was just a gang. And then we made it very exclusive. We made a laminated badge which was very difficult to make and I remember wore Nike with a grey swoosh, a white shirt, and blue jeans, with a ‘C’ written with your hand here. And we would dress up the same. We would walk on our toes. And we would go to parties and speak lingo which we kind of made ourselves. ‘How’s it hanging, man? Yeah, cool. Yo, what?”
Love him or hate him, he is both the everyman and godman. He is the face of Mumbai, the city of dreams. The idea that despite being an outsider, if you are talented and work hard, you will reach the top.