During an AMA session in June this year, a man asked Shah Rukh Khan if he was unemployed during the pandemic, just like him. SRK, in his impeccable style responded with a poem by Dagh Dehelvi — “Jo kuch nahi karte woh (kamaal karte hain) (Those who don’t do anything, do extraordinary things).”
Shah Rukh Khan is probably the only movie star who might go out of sight, but never out of mind. So, there’s no reason for fans to not wait for his comeback with bated breath. In fact the way he began teasing audience about his expected OTT debut with a project on Disney+ Hotstar had the audience laughing and waiting for the big shift in equal measures.
We know the latest turn of things and a personal crisis around his son Aryan Khan’s arrest left things hanging, but what are fans if they aren’t by their favourite star’s side in such times? The way Mannat became a celebration ground when Aryan returned home is a testimony to that.
Fans don’t call Shah Rukh Khan, the ‘Badshah’ of Bollywood for nothing. The superstar, who in late 1990s and first decade of 2000s did nearly 4-5 films every year, remained the undisputed king of box office throughout our growing up years. It was only in 2012 with the release of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, that SRK decided to slow down.
This was a year before Shah Rukh’s youngest one, AbRam was born in 2013. It was also when his eldest son Aryan was turning 15 and his daughter Suhana, 12. Shah Rukh’s deliberate decision to change the gear of his life was, but understandable.
For the next six years, Shah Rukh Khan only did a film or two annually, his major ones being Chennai Express, Happy New Year, Dilwale, Fan and Raees. However, two back-to-back duds changed the course of SRK’s career – Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017) and Zero (2018). The actor went into a shell and started rethinking his cinematic choices.
“I have no film with me right now. I am not working on any film. Usually what happens is when your one film is coming to an end, you begin work on your next film and I get involved within 3-4 months. But this time I am just not feeling like… My heart doesn’t allow me to… I just felt that I should rather take time out, watch films, listen to stories and read more books,” Shah Rukh Khan told Filmfare in 2019.
Zero got screened at Beijing International Film Festival in China in the same year. On the sidelines, he shared that the particular screening was important for him to understand what went wrong with his much anticipated project. “Unfortunately Zero itself wasn’t received too well back home in India, maybe I made the wrong film, maybe I did not do the right storytelling so I am a little wary how it will be received here,” he told HT.
Around Zero, there was a strong buzz that SRK will next begin work on Rakesh Sharma biopic Saare Jahan Se Accha, Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed biopic on Sahir Ludhianvi, and Don 3. However, none of the three films materialised.
Shah Rukh’s conspicuous absence from social media and public appearances signaled that after working non-stop for 30 years, his mind and body needed rejuvenation. “My kids are in their college stage…my daughter is going to college and my son is about to finish his studies. So I just want to spend more time with my family,” he told Filmfare.
Shah Rukh Khan had at several occasions assured of picking his next by June 2019, but it never happened. According to him, he plans to do that only when his heart allows. “I only act when it comes from my heart, but this time I don’t feel like doing it.”
The year 2018 also saw Shah Rukh dropping off from spot 2 to 13 in the list of Forbes’ richest celebs. For that matter, the star has also been having a comparatively dry spell in endorsements. But trade gurus say this is all a strategy towards his comeback. Atul Mohan told Forbes India, “When the superstar went missing in action it was a planned move to save himself from overexposure and create a demand among fans. His strategy was to make people crave for him to come back to the big screen and these endorsements are all a part of creating a buzz and then making a huge comeback.”
Will this end the FOMO that Shah Rukh has been having? At the aforementioned AMA, another user asked the actor if he was ready to announce the release schedule of his films. He said, “Loudspeakers make announcement…. I will gently allow my films to enter your hearts….soon.”
Happy birthday, Shah Rukh Khan!