Sinus is a great equaliser. That’s the first thought which came to my mind when i met Shah Rukh Khan. I thought it was for lesser mortals like us. A superstar with a sinus problem and no solution? Plus, pain in the knees. Blame it on the jumping, dancing and cartwheeling. And when my nose gets irritating, i have the luxury to shut everything and go to bed quietly. But SRK doesn’t have that luxury – meetings, back to back interviews, photo-ops. Black coffee is his source of energy. He picks another cup and settles down to talk.
I pointed to the other big cup in the room – IPL one, and asked if that’s the source of energy these days even when he has bad cold? Having faced all kind of criticism because of KKR’s performance in the last few years, he could see it as a pitch for another one. And so quickly clarified it with a smiling face – It’s completely wrong for me to be sitting with this cup for two days because it actually deserves to be with Gautam and the boys. So I was just asking before I sat with you that this needs to be sent back otherwise they will think the owner has stolen the cup and run away.
Since Vishal Bhardwaj is one of my favourite filmmakers and there has been talks about him working with VB, i could not control myself from starting the conversation by asking if they are ever going to work together. He said, we were discussing Two States. And then i heard from few other actors and actresses that they are also doing Two States. I thought arre we all are doing Two States kya? Also, there was some issue with the copyright of the book. So that’s not happening. But we are going to meet soon and inshahallah, let’s see.
We also discussed his school of cinema and where he belongs now. So without wasting any more time, over to him for what he does best – conversation. And for his other talent – spreading those arms and let the love flow? He promises he will deliver that soon in Yash Chopra’s film.
Still Flying High?
I am always high during the process of things. Once the process has been ended or achieved, I move on to other things. But, yes, we are very thrilled for this set of boys and the whole team, Venky and Jay, everyone who has been working so hard for 4-5 years. I sometimes feel it is a little unfortunate that KKR is strongly associated with me by virtue of being a film star but actually what happens in KKR is extremely and tightly associated with the people who run it, which is the staff, the administration, the on-ground staff, the cricketers and these 20-24 boys of the team. But its alright, now that we have won it, it’s an extremely happy feeling. I feel like a proud father for all the youngster who played for the team.
Criticism because of me
See, I don’t play the game. So what was difficult is to accept the fact that here is a set of team like any other team, which will do well and do badly, like all teams do, but, yes, I do feel responsible, but unfortunately a lot of the criticism is due to me. A lot of things which should not be attributed to cricket or the boys who are playing it, got attributed to them because I happen to be one of the owners of the team. And there is no other way that I can turn around and tell them ever that i am really sorry guys, people talk more about them, it’s over-hyped for its victory, it’s over-hyped for its defeat.
A lot of time I have heard people turn around and say that I involve myself in the cricket. I have never done that. But there’s no way to explain it when you are losing. Because nobody gives you a chance or believes that. The decisions that the team has taken, when anyone asks me, why was this decision taken? I say I didn’t take it. You know there’s a whole set of good minds who know their cricket and they take it and they are still with us from day one. There are boys like Andrew and Adrian and Joydeep and Joy and Mathew and the Coaches that have come in and of course, the team. They take all the decisions, they believe in certain things, they design the strategy, so don’t blame them if that strategy have gone wrong. Ya, it’s just gone wrong but don’t blame them more than they should be held responsible for it just because a movie star happens to own the team.
Criticism of Kolkata celebrations & Sports as a career
Now, i don’t know how to say, may be I get hurt with the little things and I remain unhurt by the big things sometimes. Being the focus of attention twenty four hours a day for all good things and some bad, it does start making you a different person. We went there to share happiness and I have said this often enough that it’s alright to be happy. It’s an important aspect for sports in our country that if there is celebration, there will be lot of parents and guardians who will say that it’s a good thing if my son also takes to sports. It makes you famous, it makes you sing, it makes you dance, people come out on the streets. They will believe that they will be in good hands if they play sports. And I am not taking away from any other profession but I am a big believer that sport should be, as a profession, available to youngsters. And they should have the choice . Not just cricket, football, hockey, chess, but everything. We have some great achievements in that and that greatness would be multiplied or will go multifold only if we give the impression to everyone that it’s a great job to do. So when people say that, Oo there are only 4 or 5 Bengalis in the team, why should Bengal celebrate? Come on, it’s a part of India. Its an integral part of India. We are Indians! If there is a club or city which wins on that day let them celebrate.
Next year when they win, be it Chennai, Insaallah, they celebrate. And let me tell you if they win it in Mumbai, I will come for it. I will not stay away from it.
If the Chief Minister wants to come for it, they are most welcome. Let me just tell you if we start looking for propriety in happiness, it will not be as free flowing and as beautiful as happiness should be. You can question everything it from a cartwheel to a bus ride to anything. I remember when I was shooting for Chak De India, there was a scene when the team wins and I didn’t know how to play it. Then i saw a Japanese coach winning an Olympic gold and through out the game he was most animated and shouting and abusing in Japanese. I could not tell, I was seeing the documentary and suddenly they won the gold. When they won he just sat down quietly. So everybody has their own way of expressing happiness. If I was to keep on questioning individually and pass judgement on how in happiness some people jump, some people sit.
My son jumped on the bed, broke the bed. I didn’t reprimand him. I think its alright to jump on the bed and be happy. I jumped on the field, my kids have not yet reprimanded me. And people came out on the street in lakhs to celebrate the fact there is an attachment to KKR and Gautam Gambhir. I think its fantastic.
Daddy as embarrassment
I don’t know how true it is for other star children but I think star children go through a lot of embarrassment. But on the other hand a lot of children go through the fact that parents say, you know what, its alright to be an actor. And you know what, let me see, if my Dad behaved like that, then? (He thinks for a bit and smiles) I ask my children many times, are you embarrassed? They say, no, its ok, Papa. Sometimes they say, sometimes they just say ok just to keep my heart. They might be embarrassed. But its alright, you know, I turn around and say, you know what, there are times when you embarrassed me but I still love you as much. It’s love.
Me and Mamtadi
Oh, i think she is just a wonderful lady. You know, I heard some criticism that why is she telling people to move away, we were her guests, she wanted there to be no crowd. I think she is very earthy, she is very normal. I think she is amazingly appealing because you know, you normally assume that we have been trained to believe that people in high posts and important areas should be of a certain manner. It’s alright if you don’t wear a tie.
I’ll tell you, I met the Premier of Malaysia once, Dr. Mahathir, one of the most respected names in the world. I went to see him near his parliament and he held my hand, walked out of the parliament without any police around him, and he started showing me the gardens. And there were people who were waving out and he looks at me and he says, you know Shah Rukh, I think I am really famous, people are waving at me. And whenever I go to Malaysia, he has got a small shop, which is a beautiful shop and he makes breads there. And he always takes me by the hand from the 80th floor of the Petronas Towers, where he sits. He takes me there and says, come, lets have some bread. So I find it amazingly charming. So all these ideologies and all, I don’t know. Sometimes I believe, may be, it is a throw-back from the times when we were not free, you know, behave in a certain manner. If you are an officer on duty, behave like this. If you are an official, then treat everyone as if they are inferior. You know, I think it’s a bit of the babu culture that is remaining. But I think its time we change that and leaders talking, being wonderful and warm, because we forget anyone, whether anybody, a king or a person, just about manages in life. First, they are normal human beings with normal emotions, and allow that freedom to everyone. Don’t sit on judgement, don’t sit on a high horse, don’t believe that you can undermine somebody’s emotions just because the person happens to be important and you can do so.
Video you didn’t see – It’s all about the family (Winning mantra)
You know, for 5 years people tell me that do you talk to your boys, do you say something to them? No, I hardly say anything to them. Whenever you finish a match or begin a match, you know, sometimes a boy comes down. Yusuf will come and sit with me, Iqbal will come, Manoj Tiwary or Debabrata. A couple of times I have been called by the Coach when he sees me, he calls me and says, Shah Rukh, come here, you know what, sit down with Bisla and have a chat with him. He’ll feel confident and good because they are young boys. They are going on a very big arena and maybe because i have the experience of myself on big arenas, so they feel if I can chat with them and make them comfortable.
Gautam sometimes tells me, Shah Rukh Bhaiyya, isse paanch minute baat kar lena, khud apne aap main jab aapka dil kare. So I do and I remember when Sunil Narine had come in, initially he was very quiet. He was a young boy, so Gautam told me, Shahrukh Bhai speak to him and make him feel comfortable. So I just speak to them at that level and then the last match was on, and I just felt that these guys have been away from their families for more than two months. If I am able to make sure that their whole families talk to them, and send a message, they must be missing them too. So we sent cameras all over the world. We are filmi people, so that is something that lies in our domain, so we sent cameras and got messages from their children, their sisters, their brothers, their mothers, their fathers and the whole idea was that the team plays for the team, the team plays for the fans, this time just go and play for the people who love you inspite of winning or losing. So, it was very touching to see. We never get to see the people behind the scenes of these great achievers. So it was wonderful to see Pradeep Sangwan’s parents, it was fantastic to see Debabrata’s dad, lovely to see Bisla, it was nice to see McCullum’s family and Marchant De Lange’s aunt from somewhere and Sunil Narine’s mom and dad talking. It was beautiful, it was fantastic. It was very touching to me, so I am sure they felt that this team is like a family because their family was there to cheer them on for the finals.
I have no stand on it. I don’t know why people think it’s a stand. I said so that I do not in any which way mix two things together. Like if I am doing something good or bad, does not mean I represent everyone in Bollywood and they are like that. I don’t think so. They are wonderful people, here there are much better people than me. Really nice guys. If you misbehave with me, does not mean the whole of your community is like you. An individual’s action or reaction does not hold true for the whole association or the organization he or she works for and my reaction is to an individual, in no which way to any organization or association. And on the other hand, an organization or association, if it feels the right thing to do, if an individual from our team has been subjected to an abuse, which I did, and even if you did the same, but its alright to stand by them. I think its absolutely alright and its absolutely clean and its the way and the rules of the organisation. I don’t know, may be, I would do the same if somebody came and got angry.
Suppose there was a boy in my office and he said something to instigate you, and you got angry with him. I’ll still stand by that individual, so its absolutely right. So I don’t think individually I would never pick on that gentlemen and say, look its okay what you said. I don’t think so. I don’t think it was okay what he said. And I will stand by that. And I hope it gets resolved in a nice manner because personally my behavior in front of my own children and viewers is not good because that’s not what I stand for.
It’s the first time I have had a ban, so I don’t really know how to react to it. I don’t know, if I had a few more, maybe I’ll be able to gauge is five too much or three little or should it be a lifetime ban? I don’t know, I’m really completely ill at ease about discussing the fact that does it bother me, doesn’t it bother me. This is the second time I have been there in 10 years, so by that calculation it’s kinda be alright. But not by any other calculation. Just by respectability, it’s not a good thing to have. And I don’t know the legality of all this and I don’t want to get into it but if I can’t go to watch a match, I wont go. Maybe I’ll wear a disguise and go, and nobody finds out. No, I am just being naughty.
If an association has decided to respect the individuals, who perhaps, who according to them are not spoken rightly to, its their decision but I lovingly say that anyone from that Association to come and watch my films whenever they want.
Yash Chopra Film
Yashji’s film is untitled yet, it’s with Katrina and Anushka. Yeah, we are shooting it from day after tomorrow. 50% is over and Inshahallah, it should be out by Eid. Lovely songs by Gulzar Sahab and Rahman Sahab, really nice. I think it’s a good thing that I have worked with them for long, so it feels nice. I feel at home working with them. And you know, when you’re doing a romantic film, it’s a little easy on the joints. Its just easier on the joints and muscles, that’s all. So it’ll be nice. Hopefully I’ll be able to present romantic film in a different way as an actor and I think Yashji and Adi have taken care that I play something different and still the film has something new, some new romantic quality to it and just the fact that the two girls are new and I have hardly worked with them. With Anushka i have done just one film, and with Katrina, have never worked, and that itself will be a high point for me as an actor, plus for the film. It will be really fresh and nice. I am really glad to work with them. I learn a lot from them. It’s wonderful to work with them and I learn a lot from them. They are really kind and gentle and they are really sweet girls and really wonderful actors because when we sit down and discuss things, they come out straight forward with what they think of the scene and that helps me in interpreting. I myself may be jaded sometimes, having done similar scenes, so when they have an interpretation, I think not only it is youthful but it is also, Ohhh, you could do it like this. It is also a big challenge for me to get out of my what you said tricks of romance and say do it differently. And I think a couple of scenes have been really helped by Katrina and even with Anushka I have worked with her before. Even Rab ne Bana di Jodi, its honest, its direct and its great fun. So I am really looking forward to it and
Chennai Express starts, I think, we are still in process of casting and recc-eing the locations. So I’ll take a month off after shooting for Yashiji’s film and I’ll get to Chennai Express and a couple of months later we’ll get into Happy New Year.
Give me a quiet dinner
I don’t know wherever I am taken by life. I have never planned, I am very disorganized. I whatever I am doing at the moment in my life is the most important thing. I haven’t shot for a month for this film, I am back to shooting. I look forward to that. I have a few injuries and hurt, not because of my cartwheel but otherwise. I’ll repair that in London, I think. I’ll have to spend some time with my children, I think, which is important. They have holidays now, play a little football in Hyde park. Wait for the other two films to come, come back to Mumbai and uhh, now you remind me, get tensed again because in Sept-Oct we have to play Champions League. So that will be one another roller-coaster ride but InshahAllah, the team now must be feeling extremely confident and unpressurized. Normally if a team just wins, there is a chance of them getting over-confident. Our team, because it had been so negatively portrayed, I think they must have just come to now as being the starting players. So it’ll be nice to see them.
I really, really feel I have to leave for London but I wish I could just sit down with Gautam and his wife, and all the boys, Jacque, Bisla, Rajat, you know, sit down and just have a quiet dinner with them. So hopefully I’ll just try and call them to London if they are not too busy playing cricket somewhere, I’d like to call them. If they are busy, I wont call them lest that becomes a controversy. But I’d call them and say, come have dinner, and just sit down and talk with them of other things than cricket and winning or losing, other things things which are more important than winning and losing, that is, being happy. So I’d like to sit down and talk to them .
I don’t tweet now so much because I got a little heart-broken. You know, I used to use the twitter as something I thought would be a personal messaging platform but then the media picks it up and puts it out of context and its like, I didn’t mean it. This is about this and why are you writing this about this? Some little things happening somewhere and somebody said something about my film release and suddenly I have a tweet and they just say, he’s just saying this because of that and I’m like, oh, not again. why would they do it? And I’d like to request everyone that Twitter is just to express yourself, which does not necessarily mean that you need to get abusive. Sorry (smiles), it seems that I am the wrong guy to be giving advice about abuses but I don’t think you need to do that and take out some kind of an angst on people that you don’t know. Expressing yourself is wonderful but sometimes I feel I have these wonderful people I am sending what I think is important, which maybe completely unimportant, but I think I have said my heart. And then suddenly you get these retaliations which are not related to that message.
And a couple of times I have spoken about innocent children and somebody has retaliated and I’m like why? Why this man, I mean you don’t need to do this. I got a little, how do you say thwarted, I got a little taken aback that you know that even on a place where I thought I could share something personal without a mediator, without media between, somehow it is not working out the way I want and is it because I just come too close too fast, should I just refrain? So I have been away. Today I tweeted I think. And I’d like to request everyone on twitter, just respect it, like it, dislike it, don’t get personal. Because I am not getting personal with you and I have to request everyone to get personal, do it face to face. Its more honest. If you wanna say something to me, come meet me, we’ll sit down and chat over a cup of coffee and see where the conversation goes after that. And don’t do it without any reason just because it’s good to say, leave that to the socialites. Leave that to analysts, pop psychologists. Don’t make yourself that to lend yourself to the analysts. So I’ll tweet maybe once in a week.
Why i do it at night is because I finish work by 9pm normally on a shooting day. I come in and like to be with my kids till I put them to bed. Then I just sit with the family, hang out for some time and I sleep late. So everyone kinda desserts me by 2.30-3, so I say this is the time. I don’t use the telephone, the internet, I don’t use emails when I am in the house. Once I am in the house, I have no way that anyone can communicate with me, except for my kids, my wife and my sister shouting and screaming at me, nobody else can communicate with me. And that’s a rule I have had for 20 years. So when they are kind, if out of sight, than I say, its alright, its not on their time, so I tweet late. I sleep a little late, so I do it at that time. I don’t do it in the car and all unless its something that I want to do. So I do it late night because I don’t think I should encroach upon my family time.
And with this we came to the end of conversation as the time given to us was over. Hopefully next time we will get to talk about his school of cinema and more. As i packed up, he was ready to move to another meeting. Sinus? A smoke break. Another cup of black coffee. And he must be all set.