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As Shah Rukh Khan plays a star tackling an obsessed look-alike fan in the upcoming thriller Fan, he talks about the sense of ownership his fans harbour and collecting negatives of his own movies.
The younger Shah Rukh Khan in Fan, Gaurav, looks adorable in the trailer.
I too like Gaurav. I wish I was still that young. We watched the film recently, and my sister later told me, ‘I am missing Gaurav’. Everyone likes him. No one likes a star.
Prosthetics aside, what did the role of Gaurav demand from you?
The details can get boring but a lot of stuff has gone into creating this character — the VFX, cinematography by Manu Anand,
costumes by Niharika Bhasin Khan and the content by director Maneesh Sharma. I had to lose some weight. The VFX has made my height shorter. What many don’t realise is that I am always observing people, that is what enabled me to take a call on how a youngster from a certain strata of society would walk, also my experience of being in Delhi. It also matters what all I can do at the age of 50. So I had to figure out the posture, walk and movements.
In Fan, the character of Aryan Khanna, who is a popular star, is closer to you in real life. Was it easier to essay his role?
Only our profession is the same. Aditya Chopra and I were very clear that it won’t be a replication of my private life. It is not over-the-top in terms of showing what super stardom is. I wanted to give Aryan enough dignity. Gaurav is loveable. But Aryan needed to have the dignity that deserves the love of his admirer. In this story, no one is right or wrong. You will probably choose Gaurav, but that doesn’t mean that Aryan has done anything wrong. Finding that balance was difficult.
Have you ever had a brush with a crazy fan?
According to me, crazier my fans are, the better it is. If they cross the line, it is nicer. However, I have never had fan moments like this. I must have had people emotionally getting involved, loving me, crying next to me or fainting in my arms. But it has never been scary or aggressive. In my case, people think they own me. I give that vibe. People think, “Yeh theek hai. Cool hai apne saath (He is cool with us)”.
You have said that you love stardom. What do you do when you want solitude?
For me, the safest place to be myself is the bedroom of my children. No one questions me there or expects anything from me. I can just chill, lie down and order them around. I never want to be away from fans. I have spent half my life wanting to be loved. I don’t want to be alone. Or else, I would have been a writer.
Have you been a fan of someone while growing up?
I grew up in the era of Amitabh Bachchan. I loved him, Rishi Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. The latter because my parents loved him. I liked Milkha Singh, Sunil Gavaskar, Karsan Ghavri, Dilip Vengsarkar, Michael J Fox and Peter Sellers. Being an obsessed fan is a luxury and one needs to spend time on it. I lost my parents so early that I didn’t have time for any luxury. I wanted to play video games and join sports but I could not. I had to start working. Before I could be a fan, I became a star.
You have acquired the negatives of Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, and are collecting negatives of your other films too.
If I can afford to, I would like to own my films. For whatever it’s worth, I would like to give them to my kids. Whenever I come to know that negatives of my movie are available, I get them. Red Chilli’s VFX department has been told to preserve, digitise and store them. There is no business logic. I made them, be it good, bad or ugly, they are my own. I did leave a part of me there. I have the rights to English Babu, Desi Mem (1996) and Chaahat (1996) among others.
You had earlier mentioned that you would like to do an Indian adaptation of Breaking Bad.
I want to make a Hindi movie based on it. Someone met me recently in Hyderabad and said that they can get me the rights. I am waiting for it. I like the premise of the series — a man who is on the verge of dying takes a risk to save his family.
With the release of Fan, followed by Raees in July, people feel you are now focusing on offbeat films.
I do films that I can do justice to and hope people like them. Last year, the big talk was that I had sold my soul to commerce and no longer do relevant films. Many said I am over and done with. This year, people are saying I am doing offbeat films and have new thoughts. It is not that complicated. I do what I feel like doing.