SRK: I think Aamir & I are friends

Shah Rukh Khan’s performance in My Name Is Khan has brought him to a new level of self-realisation as an actor. Speaking candidly on the year-long sabbatical in 2006, Shah Rukh says he has been able to sharpen his skills as an actor while recovering from his back and shoulder injury and surgery.

He says, “On February 16, it was a full year since my back surgery. It has been a year of torture, because my movement was confined and I hate to be restricted. But, I got to spend a lot of time with my children. I also read several books on acting. I connected to emotions within myself. It’s been 18-20 years that I’ve been acting and am starting to discover aspects of myself as an actor, that I didn’t know existed.”

In spite of the obvious preparedness, Shah Rukh has no intention of directing a film. “Not for a long, long time. I think it would be a while before the actor in me is satiated. People say I’m in character in MNIK, and that earlier I was only doing fluff. Being the court jester or the clown isn’t easy. It’s not easy making people smile.”

Shah Rukh sees his stardom as a monkey on his (injured) shoulder. “The luxury of failure is denied to you when people expect you to be successful constantly. When I hear someone like Mr Rakesh Roshan, whom I respect, tell me that people are applauding at the end of MNIK, I feel good. Somewhere, the film has connected emotionally with people.”

The star says he isn’t bothered with box-office figures and finds the comparisons of MNIK with Raj Kumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots, or any other film, absurd. “In our country, we always belittle what we have by saying something else is better. Better is the undoing of good. Have they ever compared Latabai (Mangeshkar) with Mohd Rafi saab or Kishore Kumar saab? Have you heard American critics comparing Brad Pitt to Tom Cruise?”

Comparison brings us to Aamir Khan constantly taking potshots at him. Says Shah Rukh, “We’re friends. At least, I’d like to think we are. We both have a sense of humour. At least, I do. I’d like to think all our exchanges are in good humour. Quite honestly, I’ve no desire to look at what he or anyone else is doing. I never look at my own box-office figures. Why would I look at others’ collections?”

The shoulder injury got aggravated while he was doing the guest appearance in Dulha Mil Gaya. Shah Rukh has decided to do no more guest appearances. “I don’t regret doing this one for producer Vivek Vaswani. I can’t forget his generosity when I came to Mumbai.”

However, Shah Rukh, who has done guest appearances, cameos and voiceovers in innumerable films, says he is done with guest appearances. “I’d do these things for any friend. ”

Ra.1, he says, is for his children. “And for children everywhere. I want to play superhero, yaar. I want my kids to be proud of me.”

So, is he looking at a whole shelf of awards for MNIK next year? “Why clear a shelf in my house? I’ll buy a new house for the awards to come,” he retorts. At the moment, he has just begun to enjoy all the praise for MNIK. “After the film’s release, when I was in Dubai performing on stage, I could feel the vibes from the audience were warmer than usual. It was meant to be for an hour, but I remained on stage double that time.”


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