Shah Rukh Khan is no doubt the Numero Uno of Hindi film industry. With film like Devdas, Main Hoon Na and Kal Ho Naa Ho being a smash hit, King Khan is unbeatable. With Veer Zaara being successful at the box office he has once again proved that he is the king of the box office. He is no doubt a great actor but at the same time he is a great person. Totally dedicated to his work and to his family this man works endlessly and passionately, one can say that he is a complete workaholic.
Excerpts from an interview with SeasonsIndia correspondent Sanyukta.
Tell me Shah Rukh, with all your films being a hit at the box office, do you think you are a successful actor?
Frankly speaking, I don`t know whether I am successful. I can never answer that question. Yes I have made a lot of money and I have a lot of respect, my films have done well, and I know there are loads of loads of people who look up to me and really love me. I really just thought this is like a strange dream. I have never thought this is success. I don`t have a standard. If I got a BMW and a big house and 11 Filmfare Awards or a National Awards, that I am successful. I find it strange to answer this question and I`m not being modest when I say that.
Why do you think your fans love you so much? Is it your renowned good looks, your talent, what is it?
(Laughs) I find it funny if anyone calls me good-looking! I get embarrassed actually. The only thing I can sort of think is I am very ordinary in my films and I think that makes it special. I work hard, like I`m sure everyone else does, and I`m very honest with the work I do. Besides that, there could be luck, God has blessed me, people have been kind, or I believe there are a 100 million Indians who are very short-sighted!
Do you think films like Veer Zaara will cement the friendship between India and Pakistan?
Yes definitely, the film cuts across borders and man-made boundaries. It talks about the goodness of love. We should make more films like this. Even Main Hoon Na talks about friendship between India and Pakistan. No Indian hates a Pakistani or vice versa. We have a shared history that`s hard to ignore. We were one country a little over half-a-century ago. I`m glad the two neighbours are friends again.
You`re a favourite across the border too and fans in Pakistan are waiting to have you amongst them.
I`d love to visit Pakistan. I have family there. If I can perform in Fiji, Sri Lanka and South Africa, why can`t I do a show in Pakistan? I respect all nations and I know the Pakistanis respect us Indians. Before the Partition so many of our film-makers came from Punjab and Lahore. Inshaallah, I`ll have a concert across the border too before very long.
What was it like shooting for Swades?
Great! Swades is an honest, upfront, contemporary film. It`s a film that talks about India and how good and strong a nation she is. It`s a film about 'Indianness'. It`s about what the educated; middle-class can do to help the country. It`s a film that needed to be made. It`s a film of today.
Was it difficult to get permission to shoot in NASA?
It wasn`t that difficult. Thanks to Lagaan, Ashutosh is a known name in the US. I too have been associated with NASA through Omega for which I`m the brand ambassador. It`s a great location!
Is Hollywood the next step for you?
I don`t think so I don`t think there`s any need also. If there`s a film being made by Western film-makers which requires an Indian actor because the subject is such, maybe then I could be considered. I think I would like to stay in India because I`ve done very well here.
Karan Johar, we hear, is working on a period film that revolves around you. What can you tell us about the film?
Right now I cant disclose anything to you. That film should be launched on December 15.
And you`ll be making a special appearance in Soham`s chiller-thriller too, the one for which your Red Chillies Entertainment and Karan`s Dharma Productions have joined hands?
No, I won`t be acting in Soham`s film. Karan was very clear that I wouldn`t be associated with this project as an actor, nor he as a director. However, Karan has this emotional hang-up. There`s no way he`s going to make a film without me. That`s fine, he`s family. For Soham`s film I`ll get my team together to assist with the technicalities of production and the marketing too. It`s a smaller film and unlike anything we`ve done before.
Now-a-days every other actor in the country is either campaigning for some party or standing for elections himself. Do you have any interest to join politics?
No. I`m an apolitical guy. My job is to act. I barely know how to make a film, forget trying to run the country.
Is Shah Rukh the same man at home as we see onscreen?
No not at all. The man on screen is 100% out there to entertain you, and to show you yourself. As for my life for the past 13 years I wake up very early in the morning and I work for 18 hours a day and I enjoy it. But the line between what I really am, and what I am on reel, is slowly diminishing. I have given so many emotions when I don`t want to; I have enacted so many sequences which I don`t believe in; I have believed in so many things which I thought I didn`t believe in. There are days when I wake up and I don`t know whether... if the camera is not on, am I "on" or not. It`s become like that. And I truly like it. I really don`t know what is the real me, I think I`ve ended up being an en
Finally, how is your back holding up?
It`s okay. I`ve done 3-4 films since my operation last year and I`m doing fine. Sometimes it pains though, especially on long flights, or if I oversleep, or if I overwork. But I am doing good.