Dear Zindagi: It’s a pity Shah Rukh Khan chose to be a star when he could’ve been an actor

Only Shah Rukh Khan can tell if he was afraid of going down a path to become an actor who could liven up any character.

Written by Dipti Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: November 24, 2016 2:04 am
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When was the last time you heard Shah Rukh Khan saying something truly honest? Often star interviews are as good as school essays, full of clichés and wooden lines. You end up listening to the same stuff, rehashed for better use sometimes. Once in a while, they just happen to say something really significant. That’s very rare but happens nevertheless.

We saw a slightly different Shah Rukh Khan on Koffee with Karan season 5. He was a shade less like himself. The actor looked more relaxed. The expressions flitting through his face were that of a self-assured person. He also spoke about cinema. This time, Karan and Shah Rukh indulged in some philosophical talk, deviating from their usual course of conversation. When Karan asked Shah Rukh about his state of mind, the actor said, “I am at rest, but not at peace. Because peace is boring. I have got bigger blinkers on. I am just with myself now.”

Watch Shah Rukh Khan in a song from Maya Memsaab

 

When Karan probed Shah Rukh further by asking him about other actors’ box office successes, Shah Rukh said, “For the last five years, it’s more about getting the cinema right. I said 25 years ago that I want to make five best films in the world. And suddenly I realise I don’t even have one of them. I just need to get my cinema right.”

This is quite a confession from one of the most successful actors of our times. If Shah Rukh can’t make films that he wants to, who would you expect to make them? Was Shah Rukh saying that he ended up embracing mediocrity because he was keen on achieving box office success?

The actor’s roles in recent years are forgettable. His last two films – Fan and Dilwale – didn’t do well. Has this created a sort of needed vacuum in actor’s mind to look back at his journey as an actor? And is Dear Zindagi a well thought-out, conscious decision from Shah Rukh to resurrect the giant, sleeping actor inside him?

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Shah Rukh Khan’s look in Dear Zindagi is seducing. Dressed in a pair of crisp shirts of different shades and trousers- he is probably playing a mature character after a long long time. It’s his sheer charisma that lends Dear Zindagi a buoyant force.

There are films where you get a glimpse of Shah Rukh’s ingenuity. There are scenes scattered in his films where he is simply a gem of an actor. His flamboyance and charm as an actor in films like Maya Memsaab, Dil Se, Chak De and Swades are unmatched. Few actors can speak through their eyes as effortlessly as Shah Rukh.

In an earlier interview, Shah Rukh confessed to having grown within a close-knit circle of actors in National School of Drama while he never attended the prestigious drama school. He grew up watching films and living them. “I come from English theatre. I was very elitist about acting in Hindi films. When I started doing Hindi films, I looked down upon certain things,” said Shah Rukh during KWK.

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His performance in TV serials like Fauji and Circus speak of a strong foundation in theatre and drama on which he started his career. However, after a certain period of time, he got to do similar, stereotyped roles one after another. He got trapped in a certain idea of success.

Bryan Cranston, actor of Breaking Bad Fame recently penned down a book- A Life in Parts- about his experiences as an actor. He wrote about how he got the role of Walter White. Here is the excerpt where he discuss this character with Vince Gilligan, creator of the show:

“I ventured some of the ideas that had come to me since I’d read the script. “He’s missed so many opportunities in life,” I said. “You can see that in every part of him. He has a mustache that isn’t manly. That isn’t anything. You look at him and say: Why bother? His skin and his hair are the same bland hue. He wears pale yellow and sand and taupe. He blends into the background. Invisible. To society. To himself. I’m thinking he’s doughy. One hundred eighty-six pounds.”

shah-rukh-khan

The lines clearly reflect Bryan’s love for the character. One wonders if Shah Rukh can say or write something like this — filled with so much passion — for any of his on-screen characters.

When you see actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Irrfan Khan on screen, you don’t forget the characters played by them. Characters played by Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino and Bryan Cranston are filled with life and have a certain rare honesty. In these scenes, actors turn into mere tools to tell a story.

Watch Shah Rukh Khan in a scene from Dil Se

 

When you see these characters even after a long time, they manage to hold your attention and speak to you. There is the small voice inside each one of us which always tell you the truth. It is this voice that can be clearly heard above the incessant drone of thoughts buzzing in and out of mind. Only Shah Rukh can tell if he was afraid of going down a path to become an actor who could liven up any character.

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  1. L
    Lilo
    Nov 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm
    Well written it will be great if we can see Shahrukh the actor who has so much potential and can beat Ajays and akshays any time. Can't wait to see his coming movies
    Reply
    1. P
      Poppy
      Nov 23, 2016 at 10:31 am
      Super Stardom was thrust upon Shah Rukh Khan due to his legions of fans who should be given credit for recognising his Acting talent. He remains first and foremost an Actor and is enled to choose roles he sees fit and which inspire him. Too difficult to predict what will work with audiences so no use trying. Shah Rukh has broadened Indian cinema tastes for the audience nationally/globally and history will analyse his contribution as pivotal. lt;br/gt;For all it's faults western cinema industries do not appear to critique/judge the films/lives/abilities of their Actors/Stars in such a stringent way which should be emulated.
      Reply
      1. A
        Ashish
        Nov 23, 2016 at 2:19 pm
        Everyone wants to be SRK, (You can ask Nawazuddin, and Irfan Khan too.. but they won't admit lol) and you want SRK to remain just an Actor? Lol BTW SRK is an actor, and one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Superstar Actor of all time!!
        Reply
        1. B
          Bhuvan Raz
          Nov 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm
          Absolutely true. A great potential actor is now an over actor! I see his life in 4 phases. Theatre, Small screen, Big screen1 and Big screen2. While he came with spectacular basics all through theatre, small screen and big screen 1, of late I see him getting down with mere faltoo roles during his big screen 2 presence. The intorduction of Johars, Farah, Rohit shettys etc diminished his acting skills. With an exception of Swades and Chak De, I see his last good movie is DDLJ.
          Reply
          1. R
            raj
            Nov 23, 2016 at 12:29 am
            Hypocritical article....first the author talks about making money and then says FAN didn't do well...well its business model was different...YRF Distributed as well as produced the film so the margins were reduced...also FAN WAS SOME BRILLIANT WORK ..he is definitely getting some awards...for it...as for doing the same kind of work ..BRAD PITT HAS BEEN DOING WAR FILMS ONLY IN THE LAST FEW YEARS ...DOES ANYONE SAYS ANYTHING TO HIM..??!!...ALSO GREAT MOVIES...ARE CHAK DE SWADES MNIK DIL SE DDLJ KHNH KHKN...AND MORE!!!DO YOUR RESEARCH
            Reply
            1. J
              Journey
              Nov 23, 2016 at 10:00 pm
              Typical SRK hating article. Worthless.
              Reply
              1. I
                indian
                Nov 23, 2016 at 3:49 am
                Fear of failure leads actors to become caricatures of themselves. SRK, though not as talented as many others, can do better if he is not scared of box-office.
                Reply
                1. C
                  Carlton West
                  Nov 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm
                  Superstar Shah Rukh Khan is a superb actor, a proud Indian patriot, and an inspiring role-model for young men everywhere.
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    mvasavada
                    Nov 24, 2016 at 5:20 pm
                    change your name to PIG Singh.It suits you best.
                    Reply
                    1. P
                      pooja makkar
                      Nov 24, 2016 at 11:53 am
                      Fantastically written article. Beginning was a bit complicated though, it took a while to understand the sub header. But all in all, very well written. I m a big SRK fan and I can understand that its only him in the industry who one will expect to perform as an ACTOR. lt;br/gt;And he did that in the 4 films you mentioned above. For rest, give him the credit of being a STAR....Badshah of bollywood.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        RR
                        Nov 22, 2016 at 5:52 pm
                        Srk knows well he can't act! This article is just another marketing propaa for his upcoming movie..where he is again donning a kaath faced expressions on the name of acting.
                        Reply
                        1. R
                          Rahul Singh
                          Nov 24, 2016 at 12:49 pm
                          Why some pig in Bollywood love only stani. pigs like srk should be boycott fully for lifetime.lt;br/gt;anyhow who want to see this pig old man who deserve to die like srk.lt;br/gt;We Indian will totally boycott movies in which stani beggars are there
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Sandi Mann
                            Nov 23, 2016 at 2:23 am
                            RUBBISH!
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Sue
                              Nov 24, 2016 at 5:29 am
                              Oh I forgot, how could you oh GREAT FILM THERAPIST say that Fan was just another wortheless character...Goes to show how worthless a critic you are!
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Sue
                                Nov 24, 2016 at 5:28 am
                                This headline is just trying to grab a few minutes of fame by using Shah Rukh Khan's name. Why dont u try and do smthing genuine for urself without using others as crutch? Is it an elitist take on Shah Rukh? Please we dont need you to act as the film therapist. We audience can do fine by ourselves and there is a reason why SRK is the most loved human being of all times. Ull notice i said HUMAN BEING not just as a star!!
                                Reply
                                1. a
                                  aq_grl
                                  Nov 23, 2016 at 5:24 pm
                                  Why to point out Shahrukh Khan only?Given a chance, anyone in bollywood will choose to be a star over actor...cluding those(irrfan khan, naseeruddin shah etc)who preach about performance, mindless ma films etc.It's not easy to be a good actor like nawazuddin or irrfan..but it's equally tough to be a mega star like SRK. Everyone wants fame,money and nothing is wrong in it.
                                  Reply
                                  1. R
                                    Raki
                                    Nov 22, 2016 at 7:23 pm
                                    Though I like SRK, frankly speaking only 3-4 movies he really did some acting like Swadesh,chak de...rest r just for business , stereotypes n nauseating...even I hated him after watching Dilwale n fan....but he has potential ...
                                    Reply
                                    1. M
                                      M
                                      Nov 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm
                                      Thats the sad part. SRK has become a caricature playing the same parts again and again and again. In the end the actor in him has disappeared.
                                      Reply
                                      1. Z
                                        Z bharti
                                        Nov 25, 2016 at 8:52 am
                                        SRK KING OF BOLLYWOOD SALMANIA AAMIRD
                                        Reply
                                        1. Z
                                          Z bharti
                                          Nov 25, 2016 at 8:51 am
                                          gar mar dege srk ke bare me kuch v bola toh..
                                          Reply
                                          1. Z
                                            Z bharti
                                            Nov 25, 2016 at 8:50 am
                                            garr mar dege
                                            Reply
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