SRK – the name that has been ruling the Indian entertainment industry for the past 26 years now. His charisma is unflinching and his stardom is sky high – reaching newer heights every day. He is one of the most loved movie stars this world has ever seen. In India, before SRK, people have seen the stature of a Rajesh Khanna & Amitabh Bachchan, but the magnitude of Shah Rukh Khan’s stardom is seen hardly in a century. Nasreen Munni Kabir in his documentary, “The Inner & Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan” described him as the biggest movie star ever. His popularity can even surpass the likes of Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt put together.
In this time of growing stardom of Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, etc. the position of Shahrukh Khan is still secure (Just look at the crowd at Mannat every Sunday or on his birthday!) Because, who has that destiny to hold a record number of nominations – 226 in total, out of which he won 207 times and to be precise won 29 times for the Best Actor. The most prestigious Filmfare Award was won by him 8 times for Best Actor and he was nominated in this category for 25 times.
The Indian cine-goers have applauded Padma Shri Shah Rukh Khan mostly in his romantic avatars because no one can romanticize the idea of romance like SRK does! But personally, he doesn’t like these romantic roles much. It is those action-packed thrillers that give SRK the kick! But he became what he is today for playing those Raj/Rahul’s on-screen who magically opens his arms for the actress. His signature pose is supported by a flawless comic timing & an endearing melodrama!
Before he celebrates rather the whole nation celebrates his 53rd birthday, let’s rewind and find those characters that prove that SRK is more than just the “King of Romance”.
Chak De India
Releasing the same year as Om Shanti Om, in 2007, this movie is a milestone in his career for sure. Even the SRK-haters would also agree to this point. A failed hockey player who is hell bent to build the Women’s Hockey Team in India so that his mettle is proved – is a cinephile’s delight! As Kabir Khan, SRK was at his best. What a personality we saw on screen! Kabir Khan’s eyes were always in the search of positivity. His motivational speech to his players or the last scene where he breaks down completely after the win – are two of the best moments of this great movie directed by Shimit Amin.
This movie released in 2016 and Gauri Shinde is the 4th woman director who directed SRK. His role was of a psychiatrist which was like an extended cameo presence. Chak De India made him a mentor and this movie made him a therapist. As Dr. Jehangir Khan, he gives some life-altering lessons to Kaira played by Alia Bhatt. This is another Un-SRK movie where he is not given any love interest although the enchanting and mysterious personality of the psychiatrist makes the patient fall in love.
This movie gave him a strong foothold in Bollywood. K..k…k…..k … Kiran. What a scream was that! Directed by Yash Chopra, this movie released in 1993 and had Sunny Deol as the lead actor of the movie. But guess what! SRK stole all the thunder with his negative role. His eyes were piercing like a hawk! The creepy stalker – he is simply not afraid to kill to get to the love of his life and that amazing performance still give us goosebumps. This is one of his finest performances. In an era where playing a negative role almost killed the dreams of actors, SRK played this role of Rahul Mehra and things changed!
A never seen before Shah Rukh Khan was presented in this movie directed by Ashutosh Gowariker that released in the year 2004. This year also saw the timeless romance in Veer-Zaara. But this movie was again a path-breaking one for SRK. He played the role of a NASA Project Manager who comes to India and realizes his duties towards the nation. He completely discarded that “Star” aura with this movie and became one with the character named Mohan. The pain in his eyes seeing kids selling a glass of water for 25 paise is really commendable. He is truly bigger than that “King Of Romance”!
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa
Primarily, if you look into the story of this movie, it is a soggy story of any commoner. Someone who doesn’t look good, is not great at studies, not interested in the family business, but desperately loves a girl who doesn’t have any future plans with him! Shah Rukh Khan as Sunil won the hearts of Indian audiences with innocence and flaws. Sunil loves Anna and music but none is giving him anything crucial in life. But he doesn’t lose hope. It was one of the oldest movies of SRK that released in 1994 and the lovely performance won him his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor-Critic.
Directed by Santosh Sivan, Asoka released in 2001 and saw an SRK never seen before. He played Emperor Asoka in the movie who fulfills family duties, falls in love, and then sees the atrocious Kalinga war and chooses the path of peace called Buddhism. Shah Rukh Khan walked the regal way while portraying this historical character. The long hair and intense eyes didn’t make him a Box Office winner but it is one of the finest performances of SRK sans romance!
He says that he was able to buy “Mannat” due to this movie. This movie permanently nailed his superstardom in India. He was not totally a hero or an anti-hero in this movie. But yes, he was very much a believable actor. The role of Vicky Malhotra/Ajay Sharma couldn’t have been historic without Shah Rukh Khan. A ruthless person who throws Shilpa Shetty from a tall building is hard-hitting that scares us like hell. But this man is on a mission of taking revenge for his family. He romances the enemy’s daughter and wonderfully enough he portrays both the heartless and lovable characters with ease.
Kal Ho Naa Ho
In one of his interviews, he told that may be his biography or autobiography would be named “Kal Ho Naa Ho” and this is the tune or song that would be played at his funeral. Many say that this movie directed by Nikhil Advani released in 2003 is a modern-day version of Anand. SRK’s sensitive portrayal of Aman Mathur – a dying man who teaches the meaning of life to fellow neighbors is unforgettable. He made us laugh, cry, and fall in love. Although it is a romantic movie we saw other facades of SRK more in this movie.
Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman
Again a common man story! This is a story of any small town boy or girl who is ambitious and wants to work hard to reach success. Raj Mathur, lovingly known as Raju by neighbors is from Darjeeling who comes to Mumbai to become a big engineer. In his new city he finds love and in office, his boss falls in love with him. This story is not only about romance but shows how difficult is it to lose the moral grounds and how far people go in the name of “earning some money”. Money became so important that the life of human beings seems nothing in front of that. SRK – a middle class from within portrays these confusions beautifully.
My Name Is Khan
This is perhaps one of the most challenging roles of SRK. He played Rizwan Khan, a survivor of Asperger’s Syndrome. SRK pulls off this character with utmost brilliance and conviction. Directed by Karan Johar this movie released in the year 2010 and dealt with real-world issues without getting too preachy. The performance of Shah Rukh Khan in this unconventional movie proves why he is more than just the “king of romance”.
Why SRK is a big hero in our country? That is perhaps a million dollar question. But probably because every average Indian person sees a part of themselves in him. He never had the charming looks of Rajesh Khanna, the baritone or height of Mr. Bachchan, or the highly built-up body like Salman Khan. He looks very average, with medium height, boisterous hair, & an ok kind of physique – this is the look of real India. A nation still described as poor, inhabited by middle-class people requires some kind of magical success story as an inspiration or hope. SRK is that dream & motivation. He injects the thought that wherever you are in whichever field you are – if you work hard and remain focused – no one can snatch away your success story!
Raising a toast to many more successful years of SRK!