Swati Khandelwal National Editor at Business Television India (www.btvi.in), met with Shah Rukh Khan to have a conversation about his association with Hyundai, his movies, his company and almost everything under the sun. Here is an exclusive excerpt of her interview with Mr Khan. (Part 2)
Any particular script or a role that you have been wanting to do and it’s just not come your way or probably is a part of your bucket list?
I am very fortunate, if it has not come my way; it was not written. Most of them come my way and I may not have done it by virtue of not wanting to, or not liking it, or just making a mistake. In retrospect though I don’t think I have made any mistakes. But no! In my sense of being as an actor has reached a space that the challenge is not about “Oh give me this role because I want it”.
The challenge is that you gave me the role and I will do it for you because I think that’s what acting should be about now. At least, mine. If I say “Ohhh set piece me a role, fix me a role, give me this tailor made, I want to be this or this.”
I am very clear. You come with a film, if I like the story I am in the head space, I will play whatever role you want. Maybe I won’t play it as well as you expect me to. But I think after working for 25 years I would like to be there. You know, like when Gauri says to do a ‘Dear Zindagi’ or Rahul says do a ‘Raees’, I am like, yeah.
Those were different roles and brings out the other side
Ya, Fan we knew clearly. It doesn’t have a song, doesn’t have a heroine. Whatever you accept from it. But neither did ‘Chak De’ but you still do it. It wasn’t a great film when we started it. Nobody wanted to do it. All the actress left it and when the trailer came out everybody said what a crap film ‘Chak De’ is going to be. It was the smallest opening film of my career and we thought it was a flop on Friday but people liked it. So in retrospect people tell me now, “Arre ‘Chak De’ jaise karo.”
I was about to ask you because I remember asking you the same question, A Swades or Chak De.
Nobody wanted to do that film. Swades was another flop but I think it was the most beautiful film I have ever done. So you can’t go by what people tell you to do, you got to feel it, just go for it and hope it works.
With the kind of hard work that you put in, I mean in all your movies, driven and passionate as a person you are, the movies you said you are doing one a year or just a couple. You are very selective about what you’re picking up. Anand Rai’s you said is the next movie which you have taken on that is again a very challenging role, can you tell us about it?
My cinema takes 100 days of work as an actor and I don’t work on films as producer. So couple of 100 days, that’s 250 days. You know there is advertising and the live performances and the holidays with kids, so two is just enough. I finish one and take a couple of months off, be with kids and then move on to the other. I can’t do more than that. Sometimes I try to do three but it has to be a ‘Dear Zindagi’ where I was required for 10 days. So I can do that. It depends you know, what I get at that point and time. Anand’s is very.. uh time consuming film you know. I play a dwarf in the film so technically I don’t think there is a film that had been made in the world. We just saw 20 minutes of it yesterday after having shot for it 6-8 months ago. In post production it will take about a year and yes it is extremely challenging, very beautiful. Katrina and Anushka are there in the film and we are shooting tomorrow morning. We don’t know where are we headed with that in terms of, should we be spending this kind of money to create a dwarf technically which has been done before.
But you are taking that chance and risk in seeing how the acceptance would be and as you said nobody else ever in the world has done this.
So you have those films, lot of people turn out and say can you do a safer film in between? So I say, no let’s just finish this and there is nothing like a safer film. A film is a film is a film. So, one just goes ahead, decides which film turns you on at that point or state of mind and hope for the best really.
You have a lot of time that you need to give your family and the time you spend working, we all know. All sort of understand that we all love to manage with the work profile you have. Making time for your family is very very critical. As somebody as you, are to make time for family how easy or difficult is it just about your intention to do it, it just happens. Is that so easy?
Don’t know. I think .. I think I have a wonderful family. I think whether it’s my sister, my wife, my kids now, I think, they make time for me. You know, they know I am busy. They have seen this for 25 years. They know what I do and they know I am not faffing them. They know there’s no place I’d rather be than holding them tenderly. But I have to work. Today I had to leave. My son comes back at 1 o’ clock from school. I have been off for 8 days. 1-7 I am with them and then I request everybody in my office to come at 8 pm after office, and they are kind enough to do it. And it’s always like, “Mr Khan is with the babies. It’s all right. We all will stay late.”
Sometimes they may sacrifice being with their own babies. And so there’s this love we have for each other. And sometimes I will tell them, you go home. They say “But Sir I have to…” I am like, no no you go and be with your babies. It works like that. I think everybody takes out time for each others’ babies. And my babies take out time for me. So they are like … “What time are you coming?” and I will be like, now. I reach home at say 12 or 1. So if my daughter was there, she says “Acha I will work till 12.00. After 12.30 we are watching a movie.” And then the mom will say, “He’s got shooting in the morning.” Then my manager will say, “We will figure it out. We will keep it at 4 o’ clock.” They do it, it’s not so difficult.
You are someone who has really reached from nowhere. I mean we all know the way you are really looked up. I mean I personally have a lot of regard for you. How did you make it possible? This is asked to you a million times. But there’s no shortcut that we all know. Of course luck plays a role but hard work is there. Any substitute to hard work?
No, I don’t think there is any substitute to hard work . At the end of it all beginning with luck, with blessings, timings, uhh lucky breaks, great set of people working for you, with you, all said and done at the end of it all when Nadal wins or a Roger Fedrer wins after years of even losing or winning, there is hard work. All the management, the people’s love, everything is there. Everything adds to it. Every moment adds to it. But at the end of it all you just need to work extra bit harder. I think just when you think “Iske aage me kya karunga? I have done everything I think,” you can still do a little more. So when you reach the end of hard work. You should sit back at the moment and say I can do a ‘little’ more. And a little more will always lead to a lot more in terms of result. There is no alternative to hard work.
Also the second part what you believe is what you feel is right has to be done. There will be as many opinions if you’re a public figure. Be as many people telling what you should be doing, how you should be doing, why you should be doing and when you should be doing. You should listen to all of them, pay heed to it, understand it completely. If any of that matches with what you believe and what you feel, do it. If it doesn’t matter and doesn’t match, at the end just do what you believe and what you feel. There is no alternative to feelings. There is no alternative to your hard work. Rest of it will always follow.
We are a financial news channel . People watch us and try and make money through stocks , markets and so on . What is the best advice you could give to people to make money and i mean somebody like you who has worked hard to earn what you have how do you invest … What is your way of investing
See I am fortunate. For me to be here, where i am in terms of having earned lots of money. I don’t think that advice is buy-able. I got very very lucky. I got very very fortunate. I don’t have a face which would launch a thousand ships, and I still launch a thousand ships. I think I have been very fortunate. This advice I genuinely know may not be applicable to everyone. But i can always say. What I have always done, I am very basic retail types. I mean please listen to their channel for markets. I have no idea of share markets.
I am a big believer of money does not make money. Hard work makes money. You know a lot of people say that “Dimaag se kamate hai, mehnat se nahi”. I am a labor class. I believe my hands should be dirty and hard to make money. I am very old fashioned. I am also so old fashioned that I say, buy yourself a house and keep it intact. Don’t save for a rainy day. Use it to follow your dreams if you made money. Keep a logic of this is all i need. We actually need very little you know. You know 6 ft of ground space, do waqt ka khaana and you know a little roof overhead and now may be a mobile phone and a car of course. And car makes a lot of things, has a roof, so just buy yourself a car. Specially if it’s a Hyundai.
Having said that, you don’t need much . Once you got what you’ve got, use it to follow your dreams. Invest in what you think is right. Also there is no overnight success or quick money making schemes. Please do not follow any money making schemes. Even if your next door friend or neighbor has managed and tells you over a drink “bhai kal me double kar dunga.” Just like goodness, badness, i think material is given in a life. How much material you will earn, you can spread it over 50 years or you can do it in 5. I think 50 years is better.
Because technology is ruling our lives literally or at least we are letting it rule, the disruption we are seeing or the social media is taking all of our time, making us an addict so to say. From our cell phones and constant twitter updates, so on and so forth. How do you balance it right? lot of time that you have or people have is spent on social media. What do you have to say about this disruption?
Well. I don’t use my phone too much and I am not a big social media or phone person. I am not a very person person also. I am not the best person. I am not hooked on to my phone. You know when cars came out and became commercial, I think there were a lot of people worried. You know there will be accidents, they are dangerous and things will go wrong. Over the years we found a way around it. I am sure the same thing happened when the planes came in. Oh will it crash.. blah blah blah. All technology is going to bring in negativity.
I think social media is nascent, its new. There will be a lot of talks like this. Right to privacy and what should we do, necks are getting collapse risks or thumbs are becoming like this. I read somewhere there is thumbnitis. People are using it. It will be there. We will find a way around it. For me to sit back here and talk about new technology, which i don’t even understand, neither do you actually. Everybody wants to take pictures, everyone wants to put out everything, everybody has an outcry, everybody has an opinion. Everybody wants to say something to someone at any given point and time. I think I can only just say this in the overall scheme of things, at the end spending some time with yourself is the best way possible. yeah do your stuff. It’s very hip and cool to do all the stuff but spend sometime with yourself. Not with anybody else nameless and faceless.
Or with your family..
Yes just with yourself. I mean yeah may be your family. Just spend your time with each other. I do that. I read a lot and not on the internet only but you should just spend time with yourself. And i think all of us commenting on “Abhi social media mein ye ho gaya, falana…” it will sort out. Youngsters will sort this for us. It’s their invention. They will make it alright. I don’t think we need to worry so much and make such an outcry about it, “Ye aisa hona chaiye … Right to privacy hona chaiye.” Its okay. Its a great platform and use it well. Its an awful platform, use it badly . Just like the roads. Use the roads well, its great to commute. Use it badly, its really a bad place to be.
Infrastructure is a mess… I took 3 hours to reach here
I truly believe life is terrible but it’s the most beautiful thing also. Live it as is. We just see it like this. I am just happy like this. You are on social media. If you think traffic is too much, find something interesting to do. Read a book, yeah.
Wonderful and optimistic as always Shah Rukh Khan, thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you for having me on the show.
National Corporate Editor & Chief of Bureau
With over 12 years’ experience in the industry, Swati Khandelwal Jain is the National Editor – Corporate, Anchor & Chief of Bureau at BTVi -India’s premier business channel. She is in charge of corporate news & digital news content for the channel. Passionate about Cars, bikes and travelling, Swati hosts BTVi’s flagship weekly show ‘THE AUTO SHOW’ wherein she interacts with the biggest auto honchos on regular basis. The show while showcasing latest luxury cars also provides detailed reviews on the modern bikes along with its innovative technology and unique features.