Exuding an aura of wisdom laced with frank anecdotes Shah Rukh Khan is effortlessly witty. The actor-producer is not only upbeat about his latest film Jab Tak Hai Jaan but he is also nostalgic about director Yash Chopra. In a candid chat, SRK talks about his career, cinema and criticism.
Question: Don't you get fed up of playing a lover boy in every second film?
Shah Rukh Khan: My question to you is, don't you get fed up of calling me a lover boy although I don't play him in every second film? (Smiles) A classic love story would be the one in which a boy meets a girl, falls in love and croons 'Tujhe dekha toh yeh jana sanam...' So in my mind, the last time I played a lover boy was in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Not even Veer-Zaara, because it had a politico-religious angle.
Question: So you're not doing the conventional roles?
Shah Rukh Khan: What may seem conventional to others is non-conventional to me. All one has to do is look at my filmography. I did a Dilwale Dulhania... after five years of doing films like Anjaam, Baazigar and Darr because I didn't want to be get bracketed as a romantic actor. Every character I play is different from the one I essayed before.
Question: In hindsight, how do you see Ra.One?
Shah Rukh Khan: To be frank, I don't have hindsight. Once I finish a film, I take a two-hour bath and I'm over it. I made the most expensive film India has ever seen. It may not have appealed to some but then that doesn't mean the idea was unacceptable. Yes, the film could have worked better in a different connotation in some other time period.
Question: How do you define a bad movie?
Shah Rukh Khan: There's no such thing as a bad movie. I've seen boring films but never a bad one. Perhaps that makes me the worst person to tag along for an opinion. Ashutosh (Gowariker) showed me Jodhaa Akbar and asked whether it's too long. I said, make it longer! I may be sounding hypocritical but this is precisely what I feel about the whole process of filmmaking. It's not as easy to make a film as it is to criticise.
Question: Does criticism bother you?
Shah Rukh Khan: I had Rs 1,500 in my pocket when I moved to Mumbai and I've been in about 70 films since. So nobody can take away more than what I came to this city with. You can always say that Shah Rukh doesn't know how to make films or how to run a cricket team. But it doesn't matter because I'm living my dream. And you live just once.
Question: Do you think too much has been made out of the battle between the Khans?
Shah Rukh Khan: No, not at all. We can screw around with it for a few more years. (Laughs) Now that Kareena is a Khan too, the media has a lot to work on! (Pauses) In all seriousness, we neither wish ill for each other and although we may not go around hugging each other, we are cordial.
Question: What does Yash Chopra mean to you?
Shah Rukh Khan: To me, he was a strange friend. I could tell him stuff which I would have told my father. My dad would have been 88 if he were alive today. So Yashji and I shared this relationship that closed the gap between two eras. While shooting, he communicated better with Adi (Chopra) through me as both of us are of the similar age.