AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE by Surabhi Sunil
The media calls him the Baadshah of Bollywood, King of Bollywood or King Khan. Appearing in over 80 films and earning numerous accolades from the people, critics and even the government, Shahrukh Khan is one of the country’s most loved personalities. His ardent fans are scattered all over India and also many parts of the world.
Growing up Khan excelled in his studies and was also attuned to sports such as Hockey and Football. Initially, he wanted to pursue a career in professional sports but due to a shoulder injury that was no longer a possibility. Instead, in his youth, he acted in stage plays and received praise for his imitations of Bollywood actors. One of his childhood friends and acting partners was Amrita Singh, who became a Bollywood actress.
Khan’s first starring role was in the television series Dil Dariya, which began shooting in 1988, but production delays led to the Raj Kumar Kapoor directed 1989 series Fauji becoming his television debut instead. Following this, he played various characters in several television programs.
His appearance and performance in these programs led to critics comparing him to the film actor Dilip Kumar. Khan, however, was not interested in film acting at that point as he didn’t think he was good enough. The interest developed and he changed his decision in April 1991.
Deewana, Khan’s debut film was a box office hit and launched his career in Bollywood. Baazigar released in 1993 showed Khan playing an ambiguous avenger who murders his girlfriend, a role that shocked Indian audiences with the unexpected violation of the standard Bollywood formula. Some of his most famous movies include movies that considered iconic in Bollywood either for its commercial success or for its story and romantic notions.
Always on the lookout for projects unlike the norm, My Name is Khan was one of his best performances to this day that also earned immense commercial success in India as well as abroad. Embodying a character diagnosed with a mild Asperger syndrome, his portrayal was reviewed as one that was sure to receive the Autism Society’s gold seal of approval.
In 2007, Khan became the third Indian actor to have his wax statue installed at London’s Madame Tussauds museum. The following year, in partnership with Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, he acquired ownership rights for the franchise representing Kolkata in the cricket tournament Indian Premier League (IPL) and named the team Kolkata Knight Riders.
Khan’s on-screen laid back style and dimpled smile infused with his ofscreen humour and charm made him the quintessential romantic hero of Bollywood and the King of people’s hearts. Not just the people of India but over 3.5 billion people all over the world laugh, cry and smile with their beloved star.