There is something as endearing as it is enduring about Shah Rukh Khan. No, I do not mean the whirlpools that form in his cheeks every time he smiles (a genuine smile). I am not even referring to the cliched arms open pose he is often trolled for – though he has this honest knack of embracing everyone he meets. But well, I am talking with the bias of a fan who has watched every Shah Rukh film ever made. I have now stopped explaining the depth of my adoration for SRK and I am happy to concede to every critic by simply saying, “Kuch kuch hota hai, tum nahin samjhoge…”
These are some recollections from my interactions with him over more than a decade – when I was a print journalist in Delhi – to a TV journalist in Mumbai…
When I met SRK in Mumbai for the first time, almost six years since I had met him in Delhi, it was for the launch of a perfume. Beginner’s luck, or whatever you may want to call it, I ended up rushing for the same elevator in which SRK was present. Rather than rushing away with a shut door, he motioned for his security to allow me to join the team in the lift, along with my camera person. I was floored. Not just that, he actually said, “We have met before…” and the excited me went on to narrate the few times I had interviewed him. Later on, when my ‘turn’ came to interview him, after the press conference, he actually got up from the seat where he was sitting when I entered the room. Wow! That was just so ‘Tehzeebafta’…it’s a word I learnt from him, incidentally. Small wonder then, that my boss who saw the interview couldn’t help remarking, “How smitten you look!” Errr, yes, perhaps because I WAS!!!
At another event, several months later (I think for a Tag Heuer launch) at Taj Lands End, all of us journalists had set up our ‘mini-sets’ for one on one interviews for our respective channels. So SRK would finish one interview with a TV channel and go over to another ‘set’. When he arrived on mine, my camera person told me that there was a problem with the light and he would need five minutes to set it right. Keep SRK waiting?! Sacrilege. I gingerly told SRK that, apologizing profusely. With a smile he motioned for his sinfully black coffee and shared a muffin with me while the camera person set about doing what he had to! That is SRK – no starry airs whatsoever.
There is an electric air about him. His energy is amazing and despite his injuries, he is very agile. So much so, he was a knight in shining armor for me as I, smitten by him during a shoot, stood rather close to a precariously balanced light during another shoot. Something caused the light to suddenly keel over and there was the real-life superhero, who literally plucked me from harm’s away.
To be saved by SRK, yes, it does happen to a few.
Shah Rukh Khan is, few will deny, wit personified, in the face of every inane question that may be thrown at him. Years ago, at the press conference launching him as the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, in place of Amitabh Bachchan, someone asked him, ‘Why is the colour of your set laal (red) while that of Amitabh Bachchan’s was neela (blue)?’ Few would have the answer to that one, let alone, have the answer in a split second. “Kyunki Bachchan sahab neela akash hain, or main dharti ka laal hun!” You just gotta have better questions to ask Shah Rukh Khan.
To me, he has been living example of the adage, ‘A tree laden with fruits, always bends low’..
About The Author
Aarti Kapur Singh
Aarti has been a journalist for a little less than two decades and has worked with some leading names in print and electronic media. She hates labeling her adoration of Shah Rukh Khan…and only insists on calling him a ‘murshid’. In her free time she moonlights as a freelance agony aunt for her friends and is best friend to her 10 year old son.