Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan displays decades of class - GulfToday

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan displays decades of class


Shah Rukh Khan waves at his fans and well-wishers, gathered outside his residence, in Mumbai. File

Venkat Parsa

Shah Rukh Khan emerged literally out of the small screen after playing a key role in the television serial “Fauji.”

 Compared to Aamir Khan who had a splendid start with the box-office chart-breaker in “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak” (QSQT)’ in 1988 and Salman Khan had a dream breakthrough with “Maine Pyaar Kiya” in 1989, Shah Rukh Khan came up with a modest but highly evocative beginning with “Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman” in 1991.

The movie had echoes of Raj Kapoor’s “Shri 420,” but Shah Rukh Khan essayed the role in his own bubbling and bungling way, and this gave him an opportunity to showcase his histrionics.

It is the next three movies, starting with “Baazigar” in 1993 followed by “Darr” (1993), an adaptation of the Hollywood film, “Cape Fear,” and “Anjaam” (1994) where he plays the roles of a fiendish lover with symptoms of a split personality, playing the charming lover along with that of a near-psychopath.

“Baazigar” brought him success as well as accolades for acting. He established his position in the competitive commercial Hindi cinema circuit as a bankable hero, who can make a difference at the box office.

Shah Rukh Khan came into his own as the captivating romantic hero with the 1995 super-hit, “Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (DDLJ),” and he became the country’s celebrated lover boy.

srk Shah Rukh Khan shares his picture on his Instagram thanking fans for supporting him.

The super-success of DDLJ was followed by two other ultra-romantic films, “Dil To Pagal Hai” (1997) and “Dil Se” (1998) and the run as the ultimate romantic hero lasted Yash Chopra’s last film, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” (2012).

When he played the role of the role of the iconic doomed lover in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s lavish remake of “Devdas” (2002), questions arose whether he was the rightful successor to the all-time thespian Dilip Kumar, but it was a shortlived comparison.

 Shah Rukh Khan was running his own course and it became evident in the deliberate choices of films he made and he became a part of.

In 2000, less than a decade of his success in mainstream commercial Hindi cinema, Shah Rukh Khan floated his own production house in partnership with actress Juhi Chawla, his heroine in his first film, “Raju Ban Gaya Gentelman,” and made “Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani” (2000), a bold and prescient take on the manipulative and manipulated world of journalism.

The film was not a success but it showed Shah Rukh Khan’s desire to cross the boundaries of comfort and safety. He followed this up with the quiet story of an Indian scientist in NASA returning home for good to work for his village in “Swades” (2004), directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, who made the iconic “Lagaan” in 2000.

Shah Rukh Khan took a step further in pursuit of life-like roles when he played the role of the coach of the Indian women’s hockey team in “Chak De India” (2007), under the directorial baton of debut-maker Shimit Amin.

Shah Rukh Khan abandoned all his trademark mannerisms of the romantic hero which made the audiences go crazy. Shah Rukh Khan not only deglamorised himself, but he changed his acting track, playing it out with rare minimalism. He was simultaneously running on the parallel track of successful commercial cinema playing the outlaw-hero in the “Don” series starting in 2006 through “Don 2” (2011) and the final movie in the series, “Don3” due for release. And on the way he helped in launching the careers of two of the most glamorous heroines of the last decade, Deepika Padukone in “Om Shanti Om” (2007) and Anushka Sharma in “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” (2008).

Meanwhile, he continued to recast his screen image in innovative ways. This could be seen in “Ra One” (2011) resembling the Hollywood “Terminator” series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, where Shah Rukh Khan plays the robot without giving it a typical Hindi-film twist of making him a human being.

The more daring film he made in the experimental mode was “Fan” (2016), where Shah Rukh Khan plays the star as well as his fan, and explores the complexities of star-fan relationship, which is a risky thing to do at the best of times.

The film did not make waves but it will remain a significant part of his oeuvre. Shah Rukh Khan also dared to take political risks, with his film “My Name is Khan” (2010), where he rips apart the stereotypical image of the Muslim as a jihadi with a heartrending story of the hero as a spastic. He took the brickbats on the chin, and was ready to run the gauntlet of unpopularity.

Related articles