New Delhi: Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, in an exclusive interview to NDTV, talks about why he sometimes cries alone, the most bizarre question he's ever been asked, and what he really wants to do with his life.
Here's the full transcript of the interview:
Barkha Dutt: Shah Rukh, you have been talking as Ra One's release approaches and how India needs its own superheroes. But looking at our childhood, we are from the same generation. We grew up in India, mostly if I remember Diamond Comics you know...
Shah Rukh Khan: Yes, lotpot.
Barkha Dutt: My superhero at that time, the closest who came to superhero when we were kids, other than Superman and Batman was Phantom.
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, but we thought Phantom was Indian because it used to come in Hindi.
Barkha Dutt: I always thought Phantom is...
Shah Rukh Khan: I also thought till I got to know it's not. Actually it's some Lee Stanley, Stan or someone. It's not actually an Indian property, but it felt like because Bengali jungle and the hero and the beat of the drum. So you felt like it was. But even, actually the only Indian superhero closest was a comic called Bahadur by Mr Surti, I think. You know he had made a gun out of his cycle and stuff like that, and then, of course the mythological ones. I think like for example this gentleman in America, he is a big director and he sent me a script once. He said before Spiderman, before Superman, there was Hanuman. And I thought that was really cool. And we forget that he is. Even today on Dusshera I was watching Ramayan with my daughter and he really is a very cool superhero. You know he has got all the makings of a superhero and we haven't used any of it. And whenever we have used it I think the younger generation, and when I say younger generation I even mean myself, and we are not wanting to see it in that same old bottle, in the mythological sense. I mean we enjoy it so you have to bottle it new. I say Krish is actually Krishna and Drona is Drona. So I want to create, you got to make them trendy and cool and still create some kind of mythological background, like we have in Ravan. In Ravan Rana is the bad guy. You don't have to explain that anyone called Ravan is not going to be a good guy.
Barkha Dutt: What I want to ask you that why is it that even that we grew up with these characters, there are so many of them in our mythology, why is it that we don't have a desi equivalent of a Superman, Ironman and a Batman.
Shah Rukh Khan: It's very simple because since the seventies when I started watching films, I'll tell you from the seventies, eighties and even now, our regular heroes are superheroes. You know we never have had a need to, I mean yeah, if you believe Hindi cinema, they don't need to wear tights, there is no need to have super powers.
Barkha Dutt: They don't need a tail like Hanuman to fly?
Shah Rukh Khan: Nothing. They just fly, they beat up twenty people and even now if you see the regular Hindi films with action, the hero now jumps up and stops in the air. So actually when I was shooting it, a couple of shots and I am, like you know, it seems like a regular shot. So I told my action directors that we have seen this in Hindi films, so they say you have another superhero film. So I said no, but he said we don't do this in regular films, where the hero flies and jumps and does like this, we do it only in superhero. We only give it a reason, but without any reason, or unreasonably so, I think, we have had superheroes in the normal garb of Sunil, Raj, Rahul and Vijay. So we didn't need someone in special costume and special powers. We believe our heroes anyway have special powers.
Barkha Dutt: So to that extent as there's somebody, sometimes you have been told this, has it not bothered you that Shah Rukh always plays himself. You have laughed about it, you make self-deprecating jokes about it, right, and people love you as Shah Rukh Khan. So there's no problem playing yourself. How much of Shah Rukh is in this movie and how much have you gone away from Shah Rukh that we used to see?
Shah Rukh Khan: I don't know. You know Barkha, I am always trying to be different, but the film...
Barkha Dutt: But people do turn around and say this to you.
Shah Rukh Khan: Always tell me it's the same thing, so I am like it is okay.
Barkha Dutt: Does that hurt you?
Shah Rukh Khan: Not anymore. I am, like you know it works and it even broke so why fix it. I really, with all due respect, I really sit down for Khan and everything I do, develop a character in my bathroom, I read books and I make notes. I have fantastic notes on my script with which my directors get really impressed, or at least they act that they are very impressed with my notes.
Barkha Dutt: What kind of notes?
Shah Rukh Khan: I think I am doing something really different. How I develop a walk, I develop a voice, I develop a talk, of course the crutches look, and all the Director does and I develop everything and then at the end of it all they say "he does the same". So now I am in tights and I am flying and I have got super powers. I have got blue eyes. My hair is standing up, so I hope now with all the crutches.
Barkha Dutt: They can't say Shah Rukh is playing himself.
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah though I doubt it. I can't say I think they say, "Oh dear he is like that only when he romances" because I do put my arms out. So they were joking with me when I was doing that scene.
Barkha Dutt: Same gesture.
Shah Rukh Khan: And I was saying and I was saying our superhero won't fly like this, he should fly like this, and I was saying, please everyone will say that he is doing the same. So I don't know. I hope that people think it is different and even if they don't, and as long as they enjoy it, as long as they enjoy Shah Rukh Khan, I am happy giving them Shah Rukh Khan.
Barkha Dutt: Is this film different for you in the sense, from how much you have put of yourself in it and how much you have invested in it, and I mean emotionally. I know everything would be said of it as the most expensive film, the effects and all of that, but is this some sort of watershed project for you?
Shah Rukh Khan: I don't know. What I think, what I have invested in this film is my childhood, and I like to believe that. And all the qualities that I think I have in me, which I think have made me be who I am, I attribute it to my childhood and not in a bad way. In a good way, whether it's the energy part of it, it's the innocence part of it, whether it's just the passion part of it, or whether it's the silly part of it, all that and I have got kids now. So I see it being reflected on my son, my daughter, they behave in a certain way and I say I still behave like that, and you know I am in my forties and I should not. And it's so difficult for my family, you know, sometimes to contain me because I am very childlike, I am.
Barkha Dutt: What the most childish thing you do?
Shah Rukh Khan: I do everything childish, I sulk, I get angry, you cannot talk to me, mainly you have to treat me nicely, if you are rude to me I sulk, I go away.
Barkha Dutt: How long does the tantrum last?
Shah Rukh Khan: For life. I am like this. And if you tell me a small thing like I don't like your telephone, I get hurt. I am over-sensitive. The other day my friend told me that, you know it's very difficult to criticise you, even constructively, we can't because we know you get hurt. Every one...
Barkha Dutt: Is it true that you can't be given what's called positive criticism?
Shah Rukh Khan: You can give it to me but you have to put in like kid gloves. You have to be really kind to me.
Barkha Dutt: You have to sugar coat it and be nice?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, you have to be really kind to me and I get like "'No" and I am intelligent enough to argue about it. I'm like, but you know this is it. I take that. I always take it in my head that somebody said this. I am not like a kid who wants to say, Mom, okay I am wrong, I won't do it.
Barkha Dutt: But if you are so sensitive how do you deal being a public person? I mean people say all kinds of things about a public person. You have had a smooth ride, as in relatively a smooth ride, but people scrutinise you, criticise your films, jump on you for a single statement. Make assumptions about sexualities you have, they can gossip about you. If you are so sensitive how do you deal with the art, like?
Shah Rukh Khan: Honestly, I sulk. I go privately in my room.
Barkha Dutt: Privately?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, I, that's the side of me which is, I don't say it to anyone. I will just go quietly and sit down. I just start watching news and I just sit down. I do nothing. I get very disturbed. I don't say it ever. I give you instances, the other day, I was like late for a news conference, and you know people just said, they won't ask me questions. And I am like I have known you for twenty years and one of the ladies from your channel, like I said, your time got up, but I am giving you 20 minutes more. And I do it for everyone because everyone wants to consume a part of me, in a good sense. I am not saying I dislike it, this is what I am made for. Sometime when people are consuming a lot of me I run out of time. You know I can't change the time, so I am late. And so I am very sorry, I would never disrespect you.
Barkha Dutt: But everybody knows you are late. Don't you just come according to Shah Rukh standard time?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, no. But, I tell also, I say also like my shootings. I say I will start at 11 o'clock and I don't make any one late that way. But it got a little whatever, and I understand that and I respect that. And I am apologetic about it. But forgive me, and go on with it, but you know, I forgive you for things that happen. Sometimes I am told, you know, you wasted our time. But have I ever complained that you ever wasted my time by asking stupid questions? I have never said that.
Barkha Dutt: What is the stupidest question you have been ever asked, no names but say it? Where you go on, like what the hell are you talking about?
Shah Rukh Khan: I don't know. One of the ones which I really find stupid is, which was asked to me 10 years back and has been asking me, when are you retiring? But why should I retire? I mean, what have I done just to retire? You don't like me, Are you gay one old lady asked me, one very senior reporter, and then I joked with her and she didn't like it.
Barkha Dutt: What did you say?
Shah Rukh Khan: I should not say, my wife will kill me.
Barkha Dutt: Say, say, oh come on, come on. You said it to the old lady?
Shah Rukh Khan: She was 65, okay.
Barkha Dutt: You can say it to 65, you can tell us.
Shah Rukh Khan: Spend an evening with me, I said, "kabhi meray saat ek raat guzaro."
Barkha Dutt: Then how did she respond?
Shah Rukh Khan: She was very offended. She said, how can you talk to me like this? I said but you asked me something. How can you ask me something like this? You would be, really, okay I am sorry. I am not. She was very old, so I had to keep quiet otherwise I would have stuck to my guns. Yeah, you know some people say some really strange things and I get, they make it up. Like yesterday somebody asked me, Mr Rajni Kant has acted in the film, your budget has gone up, I read it as a piece of news. And I am like this has not happened, and now they are asking me that piece of news as a query, and I am like this never happened. So it gets sometime, but I am patient with it. That's why I have a sense of humour. Otherwise I can never deal with everything that is asked to me. Because you know if I start to be, okay ask me relevant questions, I think I will be just like this then in an interview.
Barkha Dutt: But does everyone get your sense of humour?
Shah Rukh Khan: Nobody gets it. I think I have to curb it. I have been told now, by family and friends, that please don't open your mouth before the release of the film, any release of your film, shut up. So I say I have to promote my film. Yeah just talk about the film. Otherwise don't say another word. Don't joke about so and so, don't joke about the political scenario, don't joke about anti corruption, don't joke about anything, just keep quiet and answer as you should. So I keep lying, but I want to joke about it, I have a sense of humour.
Barkha Dutt: Do your jokes get misunderstood?
Shah Rukh Khan: All the time.
Barkha Dutt: Like, give us some examples?
Shah Rukh Khan: The other day, I was just going out. I was watching TV and one of the channels was trying to say how ill spoken and ill mannered I am.
Barkha Dutt: Did they actually call you that?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yes, "un key kuch paanch", some word they were using "zabaan phisal jati hai unki" and it's a joke. Somebody told me "geeta pey haath rakh ke kasam khao ki tum jooth nahin bolo gay", so I said "mein meeta pey bi rakh loonga, reeta pey bi, geeta pey bi", more the merrier, and they took offense to that. How can I talk like this even? Somebody asked me when I was doing television, KBC or Paanchvi Paas, and now you are doing television. So what do you say? What is your job profile now? And I say now I will entertain you in your bedrooms also, and I said it with a smile and then they all turned around and said...
Barkha Dutt: This is naughty?
Shah Rukh Khan: I am just being naughty. I am over 40, I have two kids, I have a wife, I am a decent guy. I have never been indecent with anyone. I have never given the impression and it is a little humour from my theatre days and my reading, and you know, and then everyone laughs. And everyone has had a good time and everyone has had a good chat with me. But suddenly then it gets all played like that, and I am like, ah, and I am very embarrassed because now my kids are there and when it is played out like that, I am like oh, oh, I shouldn't have said it like this, why did I say this?
Barkha Dutt: As if it stops you the next time, it's compulsive. It's party for you, right?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, it's like, but I have been told that, do it at a party and don't do it on television. So I am trying to be very, very decent, so please, please, don't take me there and get me in trouble.
Barkha Dutt: No come on. Yeah, you wouldn't be then half of fun if you became like that. But seriously, you talked about becoming super sensitive. What's the most hurtful thing you have heard said about you that you have really taken to your heart?
Shah Rukh Khan: Sometimes I am told that I am not. You know, it's very strange. I am over sensitive. But I am told I am not sensitive to people and that I am detached and I lie.
Barkha Dutt: And you lie, about what?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, you know I say that I like you.
Barkha Dutt: And that you actually hate me?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, but I don't like you. I hear it from many quarters and it's not true. I have lot of love for people and some of them I really love. Like I genuinely love you, it has got nothing to do with that I have worked with you or I want to work with you. I genuinely like you for the work you do. For the interaction we have had, for just a couple of times you just stood and chatted, and I really love you and you would feel that in the warmth of my hug.
Barkha Dutt: Absolutely.
Shah Rukh Khan: And then it is misconstrued sometimes. "Arey woh toh uskey saath isi liye baat kar raha hai na". And suppose you say a nice thing about me, it hurts me, you could be saying it professionally and you have all the right to say a wrong thing about me also. I will never question it. I will never call you and tell you, Barkha, why did you say that about me? So if you say a good or a bad thing about me, it's your profession. You've got to do it, but it's misconstrued. "Usne toh achi bola kyinki uska dosti hai, unka pyar hai". So I just sometimes, you know the ability to be able to surprise people and the ability to fail is taken away from me. The ability to have a relationship is sometimes, that's really hurtful. Like I have friends, boys and girls, and very few of them, and when I say friends it's only working with them. Otherwise we never get in touch. We are not socially so connected and then if I hug you and kiss you and if I love you and if I, I genuinely love you, but it has to have a "ek gana hai."
Barkha Dutt: People will attribute motives to it?
Shah Rukh Khan: Motives to it, reasons to it, beyond it and its very embarrassing sometimes because I am very quiet. So I can't come in and say, Barkha, you heard that, it's not like that. I can't even say it to you though I love you. So then I am very quiet. Then I am like, should I behave differently with her now? So then it starts becoming odd for me and awkward for me, awkward for that person. So they must be thinking "arey kya hogaya usko?" It's that piece of news or that misconception. It just keeps on becoming me being more and more lonely. I am, like okay let it be now I will be in my house.
Barkha Dutt: Are you solitary or lonely because the two are different?
Shah Rukh Khan: I am solitary, reclusive for now. I am a bit of a Sufi and a bit of a reclusive person. Now I feel I don't like being that, the last ten years was okay.
Barkha Dutt: How does the recluse last in the film industry? You are confidently under public scrutiny. You are confidently going up to public events marketing and all of this.
Shah Rukh Khan: That's the only thing, that's the only way you can survive if you are a public figure like I am. I am being consumed every moment in a good sense. I need to be reclusive, otherwise one morning I wake up and there is none of me left. I need to. It's not my time. It's a sad time. I keep telling my friends that I don't want to be reclusive anymore. I want to be out, but then if I am out, then it's misconstrued for something else.
Barkha Dutt: Why hasn't it gotten any easier for you to deal with? After all these years people get a thick skin.
Shah Rukh Khan: I am just sensitive. I don't have a thick skin. I am just so up front and honest about things. I open my heart and talk. I don't hide things. If you ask me anything, which I don't want to answer, I will tell you this, that Barkha, I am embarrassed, please don't ask me this. But if you ask me anything thing I am honest. What is a great positive thing also, is that when my work is coming out I notice the audience also taking it personally. They are either like "arey yaar accha hi hoga" or "mujhe nahin accha lagta". It's a very personal thing. This is not just a job being done by an actor who comes and entertains them. So it's a nice place to be in, but at times it is a strangely sad place to be in.
Barkha Dutt: Why are you sad?
Shah Rukh Khan: Because I only have my daughter and son to chat with. Now they are also getting older, so they are like Papa can we talk to you later.
Barkha Dutt: Are you a very clingy Dad?
Shah Rukh Khan: No yaar, but I hug them hard when I see them. I hug everyone I love very hard. But it's me wanting to work more to fill in the gaps that I keep doing that, and people say I keep philosophising about it too much. I am so lucky. Shah Rukh Khan, blah blah, I am the great Indian dream. But I tell you very honestly, there are times when you feel, what is it that doesn't make me feel absolutely satisfied about it all?
Barkha Dutt: Would you say that you are at peace?
Shah Rukh Khan: I am at peace with my personal life. I am really at peace. That's the only peaceful part of me. But when it comes to balancing all this, you know, when I got out I am like, hey you love me. You told me that you love me so can I be family like and loving with you? So suddenly one chit of a person says something or in the work place people go up and down. I am like it's been so many years, I am making such an attempt to make it right and make you people feel nice about everything, why doesn't it work out? Like maybe I should be a little more "rukha" a little detached from it.
Barkha Dutt: But you are not made that way?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, I am not made that way.
Barkha Dutt: You said in an interview, that I read, sometimes when you can't sleep at night, you, which is often, because you are an insomniac, you talk to your kids about what you feel sad and disillusioned about. They don't understand you but it helps you to talk. What are you sad and disillusioned about today?
Shah Rukh Khan: I talk to my dogs also. I just sit down I think, I like...
Barkha Dutt: Dogs are great to talk to because they look at you with soulful eyes.
Shah Rukh Khan: I say that I was so nice and I was just trying to get this done, but I was actually let down.
Barkha Dutt: You actually have these conversations, aloud?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, yeah with the kids now so doesn't it sound so strange and with the dogs earlier. It's not a nice thing to say I prefer talking to my kids now, then the dogs, but I love my dogs. When I talk to my daughter I hold her hand. I told her you know I feel that I don't have any friends. Then she says so and so is your friend. But then I say not that kind of a friend. She likes you. I say yeah, she likes me but I don't have a friend. Then I look at her and say would you be my friend? But she says Papa I am your daughter. And I told her please be my friend also. Then finally she agreed, so okay I will be your friend and let's watch what we were watching, so it makes me feel nice. I have these issues where I feel a lot more is expected of me, I can't be myself and also many a times I am not being able to perhaps give enough in relationships. I am scared of relationships. I have a sense that I am going to lose this relationship, so maybe I am the...
Barkha Dutt: Is this because these people are not reacting to this superstar, and not who you are? Because most of the time it happens to public people, they find it difficult to trust?
Shah Rukh Khan: I don't have trust issues. Actually I have the opposite. I trust too much those issues and I don't really behave like a star most of the time. I don't at all as a matter of fact. My closest friends tell me can you start behaving like the person or the star you are. And I am, like, why? That's on the screen. In real life I am this, I just started wearing makeup and combing my hair for interviews. Also otherwise I am quite cool because I think it should be two different. I have managed to keep it two different.
Barkha Dutt: Do you manage to think separate?
Shah Rukh Khan: I manage to do. I am nearly schizophrenic. I truly believe that what I do with my kids, my family and friends should be different from the Raj and Rahul. I am so shameless, so uninhibited. I am so open when I am acting the character I can do anything, anything. I can dance, I can fall, I can be naked, I can jump, I can fly, I can do whatever you want. I can do the silliest, funniest strangest and the most uneducated things when I am playing the character. Personally I am like very shy and quiet but that person is very different from this one. You know I was telling someone that sometimes my films touch the life of some people. I just recently, I don't know if I am comfortable talking about it. Sairaji called me day before, and Dilipji saw me on TV and said, "I like this boy a lot, I want to see it again". He said it was very strange he noticed you and talked about you and said someday I am going to go and have a walk with him. I got tears in my eyes. I was feeling very low about my work. You know actors have these days and I was feeling very low, and suddenly this phone call came and I was so happy I touch lives of people. And I am not talking about this experience. I am talking about the audience and sometimes I feel I have touched this person's life, Ramesh's, and he doesn't know what I am like. You know this question comes to me, suppose he met me now, would he like me?
Barkha Dutt: The person...
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, would he be let down or he will say, "Oh he is supposed to be Raj". This happens many times. I was like in this serious mood and two, three girls came in. They were like fans. They hugged me and I said "Hi sweetheart how are you" and I kissed her and then they took a picture. They said but in the movies you are so happy, yeah, but then I thought quickly, have to be happy so I quickly, what have you been doing?
Barkha Dutt: So you had to role-play that persona?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah I have written that in my book but I don't know, am I now happy like Raj or does Raj play happy like me?
Barkha Dutt: Is art imitating life or life imitating art?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah honestly I can't tell you if the camera is not on. It has become so confusing. If the camera is not being on, am I being real or sometimes even if I hear the camera, I don't know whether it is artificial. It is becoming very confusing for me.
Barkha Dutt: Does that mess up your head?
Shah Rukh Khan: I fill it with so much work that actually now I am sitting with you and I am really enjoying this conversation. So I am opening my heart to you. But I don't have these conversations too often. So I don't think about it. I am just, like I don't know the space I am in. It is really confusing at times. I don't know whether it happens to other actors who work for twenty years or are they just keeping it as a job. I don't think of it as a job. Maybe that's why people like me so much and I get very, I don't know if I was not acting what would I do?
Barkha Dutt: What would you do?
Shah Rukh Khan: I think I would just write or I will just act in my bathroom. Now Barkha, I don't know whether I am acting in my car, when I am opening the wrapper of a sweet, am I acting? Am I eating the sweet like Don would? It's just no sense, it's all blurred and just blurred.
Barkha Dutt: It's scary though in a way isn't it?
Shah Rukh Khan: I don't know and I don't want to blame the audience.
Barkha Dutt: The expectation of that persona.
Shah Rukh Khan: But I believe that I can fly. I really believe, I really believe many a time that I am standing on the edge of a building I will jump and I can fly. Because people believe that I can fly, whether the wire is there or not, it is very difficult, flying like Jeevan. But I believe that I can fly. In your forties, like if you are four it's okay, but when you are in your forties it's scary.
Barkha Dutt: But you really feel you have no friends?
Shah Rukh Khan: I have my school friends whom I meet and whom I enjoy with. I have some friends. Karan is there, Adi, Nazir, Juhi, Priyanka, Ritiesh, Farhan. These are very close to me. I feel happy in their happiness. I believe its friendship, but I am not open with them. I cannot talk my pain with them. You know sometimes some people will turn around and say you know I need to talk to a friend. So I don't know who to talk to, so I go to Sohana and Aryan. So whenever I have this I talk to the dogs or the kids.
Barkha Dutt: How anxious have you been about this film? In a sense not just in the normal way that everyone wants their movies to do well and you worry about it in a normal way, but is there a sense like I was asking you earlier, that somehow, my God, if this movie doesn't do well I'm going to take it worst. Then without the movie, because you seem utterly focused and devoted in a long time now on this one project, it has obviously consumed in some way?
Shah Rukh Khan: Actually two ways which have happened, Barkha. One that truthfully I would not have been so focused if my producer was okay. Bobby Chawla who produces our films, and Kareem, both of them are indisposed to say the least, so lot of that work has come on me. So I cannot bring in an outside person. So those are things that I have never done in producing a film. Making these calls, deciding how many hoardings. The producer does it so that work has come on me. So I had to spend more to, and also I have got this strange sense of responsibility with this film. It's not about the money, not about the hits, the anxieties, all that excitement of every movie star that comes and goes every Friday. What I am bothered about is that I have worked twenty years and wanted to somehow give back to films. And this give back in terms of technology and I keep talking about it. Not that it's path breaking, but it's Indian. We are able to do this in India. I want to start a new way of making our films look. As a producer, a filmmaker, so that when our films come our nine hundred or a thousand of them, everyone says wow films look cool. That one thing I feel, we can keep harping about our films and crossover, but what we fall short of is our films don't look cool. They don't look as good, they don't look as complete and fine. So this film I was hoping to do that. So every time I am looking at it I am saying no, no, dear this is the dream I have. Sometimes it falls short. At times I get more anxious. I hope it's not. Sometimes it's not. Like my wife will tell me and my friends that nobody watches this sort, huh, so let it be. So I am like oh, they are not going to notice this.
Barkha Dutt: They tell us that even in TV news you notice the lighting, nobody else does.
Shah Rukh Khan: Nobody else is noticing yes, but I spend a lot of time doing this. That thing in the background. Then if am sitting with someone I look like this, and everybody is like. I am, like, did you see that? We spend eighteen hours doing this. Like yesterday in my VFX studio we have done this shot, where this glass flies on my face, and it takes a hundred and thirty seven hours to do this. They told me to render on frame. So I am like, wow that glass will come seven seconds and go away. I will be like this and there would be people like, but did you see that glass Sir? But those bits and pieces make me anxious. I want to go out and...
Barkha Dutt: But in this project you have been a perfectionist, God is in the detail.
Shah Rukh Khan: I am a fun perfectionist. I am not an anal perfectionist. So I am really happy with things and I like them because I saw an ad and I told my team, the glass should look like that. They looked at me and say, "no it will look much better", yesterday they told me. My only anxiety now is the four thousand prints. I want to be in each theatre and when that glass scene comes, I want to say "dekho". It has never been done before and I know it can never do that, so that makes me anxious. It's not the film. I am focused. I am focused on every film. You can ask every producer. I love my films, that's what I like doing. It has got nothing to do with the business. You will never hear me talking like this film has done this much business there. I have never talked liked that. I have never spoken about the monies and I don't know about it. I just want to come and make you feel happy. I want you to see that glass piece and get happy, but that's what makes me anxious.
Barkha Dutt: And will it kill you if the viewer does not notice the glass piece?
Shah Rukh Khan: Can I just tell you right now, as we sit here and talk, two twenty minute films, very entertaining, family, everybody will love it. Everyone will miss the glass. That makes me anxious.
Barkha Dutt: We are going to look for that glass.
Shah Rukh Khan: Please, please. You know yesterday I said, can I make a trailer out of this glass and give it to all the news channels. So my team said there is nothing in that shot, only the glass flies. But I said hundred and thirty seven hours for a frame, so these things, like the suit of the superhero, you know I went to America, I looked everywhere, and finally we shot it in ten days and we looked at it on screen. It's not bad. But I am, like it does not look as we wanted it to look. So we have digitally redone this whole suit, and now when it comes out on screen nobody has told like wow, how did you do the suit? Nobody has ever said that. My children have seen it, my friends have seen it, and nobody says, "wow kya lagraha hai". And I am like, is it going to be one of those things finally you and i are told? Nobody notices the lighting, only you do. So I am like, the content is beautiful of the film. It's a lovely film. It's a sweet film. It's a funny film. It's an emotional film.
Barkha Dutt: But is this the most obsessive you have been?
Shah Rukh Khan: No, I am obsessive about all my films.
Barkha Dutt: Yeah.
Shah Rukh Khan: I just have to like work more. Let me say too much of my childhood and childishness is invested in this film, and I cherish that. I have never had a childhood, parents died early and I am not disturbed about it anymore. But there is a lot of my childhoodness that is invested in this film.
Barkha Dutt: Who is your favorite superhero? It doesn't have to be a superhero. Who shaped your imagination as a kid?
Shah Rukh Khan: Batman, Bruce Wayne, I mean. He is a playboy. He has got these real cool things happening, he has got girlfriends, he drinks at parties, he is really cool. He is handsome.
Barkha Dutt: He has got a cool car also.
Shah Rukh Khan: Cool car, cool kid. Cool belt. He is really the coolest and he is a little dark. You know I like this. I like this guy who has got this little darkness and meanness surrounding him. He has got scars on his back. So he is very macho cool. I really like him. Superman, of course we all like Superman but Batman is. But I could not make this film like Batman. If it does well maybe I will make Jeevan a little dark. But Jeevan sounds so sweet. Actually he is a family superhero. He is not even like a superhero. He is a family superhero.
Barkha Dutt: You might have really wanted to make a slightly more complex.
Shah Rukh Khan: Oh yeah, the starting of it was very complex. I had issues about man-machine in virtual world to real world, and the issues it faces. And then it came down to that he is helping Kareena "gondu atta". And he is making her dry the clothes on his warm body. So I made him very sweet. He is a "phankha" at times, so I made it sweet. But I hope somewhere, every time I make a film I always want, somewhere there is a little essence of what I thought, what it should be. And the essence of this film is, and I would like to say it in Hindi, "have you ever wondered why we burn the effigy of Ravan each year? Because we never believed that we eradicated evil, so we are actually convincing ourselves, "aur maro, auro jala do, aur kat do". But every time that is the essence, and for children, the appeal of bad is fantastic, is really nice. I had said it in Dilwale, "sahi raasta, galat raasta." It's exactly the same, but just be careful. What you wish for it might come true. Take away a lot of good life from you, so you got to be careful what you wish for. Goodness finally begets goodness. I have this huge, huge belief in the goodness of life. That you cannot go wrong if you are hard working and you do your stuff to get educated, but goodness always begets goodness.
Barkha Dutt: How comfortable is the Industry around you? I mean you get that standard press conference question that, the three Khans, the competition. I am not even talking about that. I am saying for you personally, as you mark your journey, do you feel. Do you worry about what lies ahead? Do you worry about all this ending one day? Do you worry about moving from hero to character actor? Does that keep you awake at night? That is growing older tough in this Industry?
Shah Rukh Khan: No, I have one eight pack at 45.
Barkha Dutt: Could you, should that, seriously, is it there at the back of your head? I don't mean now, but do you worry about it. That I am so used to it, that if I had to live without it, something would change?
Shah Rukh Khan: I think when you are a big star like I have been for some time, you know how you get layered by protective things, I think we get so self obsessed and we believe in the infallibility of this stardom, that this thought never crosses you.
Barkha Dutt: Really?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, it never crosses you. This is the system of God or super stardom, that somehow I am untouched by any fear that my stardom will go away, and I know, as I speak to you, it is the most impractical thought that a man can have. But I think that, how you are content and how you are protected. I feel I am infallible. Like I said I believe I can fly, and I could believe I could fly when I was 25. At 45 I believe that I can fly. When I will be 75, with all due respect I am not comparing when I look at Rajini Sir, when I look at Amitji.
Barkha Dutt: Both of them have heroes.
Shah Rukh Khan: And both of them are flying, and I believe that both of them can keep flying, so they will never stop flying so...
Barkha Dutt: Both of them are a part of your film?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, and I just truly believe that. I think that's one part. The second part is that I have no issues as an actor. You know, when I look back some times, what all have I achieved. I am perhaps making one of the biggest looking films of India. I come from Gautam Nagar. Day before yesterday I met Amitji and he said, "Sirji, idhar aye bohat dinno baad mil rahe hain." Rajni Sir speaks to me and says, "you know you are looking tired, rest a little". Sairaji calls me up and says, Dilipji saw me on TV and I am making this film. I was driving in Bandra and I was like, God, what all have I done. You know I used to press the feet of my Mom at night and watch VCR, and watch all these heroes. I never thought, forget meeting them, I never thought I will see them, and here I am, I am making films with them. That also makes you feel that you have achieved enough, the journey is enough, now you can take it away. But in reality I don't know. I don't want to speak for any other star, but I truly believe that a movie star feels that he is truly infallible. There is nothing, nothing can go wrong with him.
Barkha Dutt: But being a movie star wasn't enough for you. You went to other things. You went into cricket. It wasn't always a smooth ride on the field and off it.
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, I feel the last two three years have been very rough. Actually a lot of things have been said but again, it was like hey, I like sports and let me do it. Now it has settled down, and our team is doing well and I am happy and everything is kind of okay.
Barkha Dutt: And you are not missing Ganguly?
Shah Rukh Khan: I am not missing anyone.
Barkha Dutt: You had some rough moments, not only with the performance of KKR. Do you regret having gone into it?
Shah Rukh Khan: No I don't regret having done anything in my life. One of the very few times that I have cried alone, when my team was in South Africa, and I am the one doing cheering, and there was this one gentleman writing on the Internet.
Barkha Dutt: The great blogger?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, I saw him on TV one day, I want to find him and fix him.
Barkha Dutt: You do, now you are a superhero, so you better find.
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah I will fly and catch him. I saw him and then I forgave him like, "abhi kay bolon main". Yeah.
Barkha Dutt: That you wept?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah I wept with tears, the superhero cried. I cried with tears. I sat in one corner and I just cried and I cried and I cried, and everyone knew I am crying. And I was shamelessly crying because it got to me. You know, I would say one thing and a senior cricketer will take me wrongly, and he would say something I would say, Dude, I didn't mean it like that. I am just trying to say that you know, someone said that it's my team I will run it the way. Someone told me, who the hell are you to talk about a senior cricketer like that? I didn't mean it like that. It also taught me that people attach a lot of weightage to what I say. So that I am not saying that it makes a good sound bite, but they may believe it. Oh, you are so arrogant. No I am not. I am not arrogant at all, but I come across like that because I consolidate a space. Maybe I need to be politically more correct. All that was forgotten. My shoulder was injured, there was this whole thing, nine matches were lost and I was like, this has been very, very wrong, running the team. It had got to me, it made me feel very sad. That was the lowest, lowest point a couple of years back.
Barkha Dutt: But you could have sold your team and got out.
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah I could have. I got a lot of money offers, that, no that's one thing I couldn't do. The more I am beaten down, the more I am being told I am not good enough, the more I am said he is over and done with, I will succeed. I have a very simple logic. If you want me to be unsuccessful, just praise me and say I am the best. As soon as you are telling me that I am not good enough, I am not letting go of this. I am very clear on this. I don't say this with any misplaced self confidence. I say this with a strange belief and I read somewhere and I wrote this on the twitter, that many a times in a day I have to remove knowledge and make space for my beliefs, and knowledge can say, how long, how long can you go on? Knowledge can say but everything comes to an end. Knowledge can say that it wasn't a good decision, but belief is something, I am a big believer. I can sit here and believe that something can happen. It can never change for me. I believe that I am one with God. And I don't say that because I have become this big star. I became a star because I always believed that. This is a secret that I am telling everyone, if you don't want me to be successful, oh praise me and flatter me completely and I will fail. But if you put me down and you are saying that you did this wrong, and this again is my childishness, you tell me this is wrong. I will do it. I am "ziddi, dheet' maybe a little "badtameez"'. I am completely childlike. You can't take away my success. It's like taking a candy from a kid, because I am like, you tell me I am bad, I will, whatever you call, rub my heels, I will fight, I am going to get it done.
Barkha Dutt: Cricket is like work for you and in life it's like work for you.
Shah Rukh Khan: It's work for me in life. I just don't give up because when you look back and you see where you come from, like I was telling you, if all this can happen anything can happen. I was just reading about Steve Jobs. It's strange, because I was talking to my director, it was four in the morning, and he was telling me something as, "Sir thak gaye ho aap bhi". Sid was sitting like this in the studio at five. He took a picture and posted it on Twitter saying, "dekho maine apne producer ko kya kar diya hai". I told him that I never feel scared, disturbed. I am always laughing. I am never stressed like that because I realise, in the face of death, nothing of these matter. Failing does not matter, success doesn't matter, happiness does not matter, sadness doesn't matter, and finally you are going to die. And I have seen that happen to my parents like this. Then I came in and there was this news on Mr Steve Jobs on your channel, only that he had expired. And I went on the net and he was saying the same thing. And it wasn't because he knew he was unwell, but he must be saying otherwise. Also, that when it comes to weighing, whether I should do this, when was the last time you did something for the first time. So you think like "death toh hai hi na". What are these small things going to matter? I really think like that I can walk out of here and die, so I should do the best right now and believe that I can do even better, because you never know, and finally death can come so.
Barkha Dutt: I am saying this bluntly. You are one of the most, brightest persons I have ever seen. Yet I feel that you tend to underplay the public persona. You underplay the act in your public persona. You shy away from expressing your opinion. If you express it, you express it as a joke, and your stated position is, don't put the pressure of social responsibility, political positioning onto the actors. We are here to entertain. Yeah, it's a very different trend from Hollywood, where you will have Clooney taking a position on Sudan. I am just giving you an example. And you are beginning to see that with some of the younger actors. You need to stand up and take a position. Has there been a conscious decision in your life to be self-deprecating? Because you read a lot, you are very bright, you make very witty jokes?
Shah Rukh Khan: Can I do one more here?
Barkha Dutt: You are going to tell me a joke?
Shah Rukh Khan: I hope I don't get into trouble. I am self deprecating and I underplay myself so that the others can look smarter.
Barkha Dutt: Why? Why?
Shah Rukh Khan: This is my social service.
Barkha Dutt: That's your contribution to the society?
Shah Rukh Khan: That's my contribution to the society.
Barkha Dutt: But you really feel that art is an art?
Shah Rukh Khan: No, I work in this field and I sometimes feel when it becomes an agenda "ki mein 9 se 11 tak mani cure karonga.11:30 se meeting karonga. 3 o clock shooting jana hai. 9 to 11 ek socially relevent cause kartey hai, and 11:30 to", I feel, I find it the worst kind of thing in your life, it makes you feel...
Barkha Dutt: It's fake.
Shah Rukh Khan: It's not fake it's a job. Even if it's not, of course it's fake for a lot of things but, hmmm mmm, what are we doing for the social causes? There is nothing for this in the social cause Ma'am. You know we are going to, how do you say, listen let's do this, the girl child. Good, I like the girl child. Or you know, let's do it for education, put in every twice a month. I should be talking about education of the downtrodden, right. You don't do it like that. You got to feel for it, and when you feel for it you don't need a photograph. When you feel for it, you don't need to talk about it. But if you tell me today I trust you. If you tell me, Shah Rukh, you come with me for a shoot to the army barracks, have fun, do the silliest thing but somehow it gives them happiness, and plus somehow it uplifts the morale of the Army, which gets nothing, I say I will do it. And I think it's not social work, I think it's not socially relevant.
Barkha Dutt: You are being yourself and I believe...
Shah Rukh Khan: I trust you because you are believable. You are doing this for a reason. I will do it for you. So if somebody tells me honestly, see I keep telling everyone, the only thing I really want to do is to make public utilities for women all around the country. That's my life's dream. It's my life's dream. I want to do it with my money
Barkha Dutt: Please do it.
Shah Rukh Khan: I don't want to ask any one, all over the villages, smaller towns.
Barkha Dutt: There isn't a public loo.
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, I wanted to do it since childhood. But then I am like, should I start it as a movement? Should I ask someone? I love women. I am very clear on that thing. I have to do something for women, because I work with them. I have been brought up by them. I have been loved by them. And I always feel they are not, they are always fighting for equality all the time. However and whatever we believe and say, I really want to do things that make them feel equal and make them feel nice. Makes them feel that actually they are superior. Makes them be the superior beings amongst men and women. So I find it that if I take on an agenda, I would take it. If you tell me some friend of mine is ready to do it for you, but I don't do it for you as part of my job, as nine to nine agenda. And I am actually disturbed when somebody suggests it. I can counter it by saying I am an artist, I can do this, "ay main actor hoon muj ko bol do."
Barkha Dutt: People know you are very self-deprecative, I know that you are very self deprecative.
Shah Rukh Khan: I will be like that. But you also know that if you called upon me for some aspect, which is important, I come and do it. And I don't want anything for it. I want no publicity, for it does not give me. You know I will give you a story, a little Islamic story. I may be wrong, but I hope I don't get into trouble. One of the prophets, Allah Miya, had said drinking is not good. One of the prophets went into a bar cavern and started breaking, there were hundreds of casks of liquor, and he was breaking it, breaking it, and the 99th he broke, he stopped. And this story my Father told me, and then everyone told him "is ko kyun nahin toda apne?" And he said all of them, when I was breaking them I thought I am doing Allah's work. It was a work that was meant to be, that's what he has made us for. And ninety-ninth I thought, "arey main kitna acha kaam kar raha hoon". As soon as it became my work, I don't want to do it. So he left that one jar. I believe that it's Allah's work I have been given so much. Obviously this life is given for more than to say "tuje dekha toh yeh jana sanam". Obviously this life has been given for something more than saying I am on it. It is much more and I need to do it as the essence of my life. I need not do it as a schedule of my life, as an agenda, as a part, as a job of my life, so I would love to do it. So I am sitting in a party and suddenly some, you know we got to do this for, I don't want to do dance, chaiyan chaiyan, I will do for you. Want me to dance, chammak chalo, I will do it for you. But this I am not doing, because you don't feel it. You are doing this because you want to fit in your schedule. I do it personally. I will do it for people who believe in those aspects. And the self deprecation is that I can, I tell you I don't want to say you liar, I don't want to say that you are not believing this, you are doing this because you, there is no other agenda you can find. You want to get famous riding on the shoulders of social responsibility I can't say.
Barkha Dutt: You can say a few things.
Shah Rukh Khan: Okay to everyone who is with us...
Barkha Dutt: Let me end by asking you looking ahead of life after movies, not yet, right? What's left to do?
Shah Rukh Khan: I want to direct. I want to make action comedies.
Barkha Dutt: And you want to be a cricketer?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, I want to be a cricketer. I also want to be a footballer. My son, I want him to be a footballer. And then I also want to beat him when he is playing football. I also feel like, you asked, I have this new age, the age I am in. I start thinking differently, every ten years I think differently. As an actor I know phases. I know when I was doing Baazigar, har kar jeetenewala ko bazigarh kehte hain. And suddenly it became, zindagi main dho raaste milenge ek sahi ek galat. Then it became satar minute, satar minute hain tumhare pass, and now tam tam tasm cho chom cho chom. I have become more childlike.
Barkha Dutt: Regression ho raha hai...
Shah Rukh Khan: Haan regression ho raha hai aur main mature bhi ho raha hoon. I think that quality I want to bring in love stories. I want to bring this space in my head, where there is this childlike innocence to maturity of understanding. I have become a lot mellow, a lot of people think that, oh Shah Rukh Khan mellow ho gaya hai. I am still as gritty and nonsensical as I was, but I have understood things.
Barkha Dutt: You are changing?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah I am changing. I don't know for better or worse, but I am changing. I can bring in a new, whether you like me as a lover boy, or you like me as this Don. "Gyaran mulkon ki police muje dhond rahi hai". Or Devdas, an alcoholic, kill me kind of a lover. I think I can play it all in a different way now, do the same stories the same. But I have this newness around me. I have more givingness and gentleness about my action, which I want to now do. And it could be the same comedy I have done five years ago, but I think I can do it differently now. I think I have 15-20 years of this mature and childish actor that have got mixed in me. I want to do that, I want to direct a film, I want to write. I want to write screenplays that are different. I want to make edgy different films, and I want to write them. I want to make a studio. I want to make a stadium. I want to make a lot of filmmakers. I want a lot of young boys and girls to come within my fold, learn this twenty year thing and become filmmakers. There is a long line.
Barkha Dutt: You said on twitter that you have more energy than anybody you know.
Shah Rukh Khan: I said I am a wiry, thin, brown little kid with the energy of a nuclear fission. It's true. I am like that.
Barkha Dutt: But it's true. You are having at six in the morning?
Shah Rukh Khan: Yeah, I am having dinner at six in the morning. Just imagine. I came from work and I said, "khana khana hai". I said, "Breakfast de do". So my cook said, "Sir, dinner hai, yes breakfast abhi tak hua nahin."
Barkha Dutt: And dinner nowadays is at what time?
Shah Rukh Khan: Dinner nowadays is at 3, 4. I workout at 1:30 to 2, back in to dinner.
Barkha Dutt: And you can get the eight pack?
Shah Rukh Khan: See I told you. I can fly with my eight pack.