There is no second opinion on the fact that SRK makes for amazing copy – whether it is his fans or his critics. The Baadshah of Bollywood has been the subject of countless reams and several tomes.
His life is the stuff fairytales are made of – or even film scripts. Losing his parents in his early 20s, Khan made his acting debut in 1988 when he appeared in the television series, Fauji, and in 1989 did another TV soap called Circus. His Bollywood debut was in Raj Kanwar’s Deewana (1992) with Rishi Kapoor and Divya Bharti. SRK, thanks to his unusual looks, only got a taste of big-screen success in what Bollywood refers to as ‘negative roles’ – a vendetta-fuelled murderer in Baazigar , stalker in both Darr and Anjaam. His contemporaries at the time regarded these roles as professional hara-kiri. For Khan, they were a foot further into the door of a world he had until then been an outsider to.
Over his 25 years in Hindi cinema, Shah Rukh Khan has played every kind of lover imaginable. I still remember a friend who actually did change her name from ‘Kiran’ to ‘Karen’ after being mortified by his portrayal of a psychotic lover in Darr. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) was that milestone in the history of Hindi cinema that redefined the job description of every romantic hero. His Raj was the stuff of collective dreams.
In the year that marks his silver jubilee in the film industry, “the man from nowhere” as he once addressed himself as is still everywhere, and on every major bookshelf there could be. It is therefore apt, to mention the best books that have been written on the man who turns 52 years young next month.
SRK – 25 Years of a Life; by Samar Khan and Sonali Kokra
Penned by journalist-turned- film director Samar Khan (including the critically acclaimed Shaurya and the highly successful documentary Living with a Super Star), with assistance from another journalist, Sonali Kokra, this coffee table book is a collection of 30 essays from directors who worked closely with India’s biggest and the most successful superstar – Shah Rukh Khan. These write ups are an intimate and honest picture of Shah Rukh the actor, from the point of view of the people who have worked closely to make him SRK the icon .
SRK — 25 Years of a Life’ looks at Shah Rukh through the eyes of the directors who transformed him into unforgettable characters in every film. A deeply personal and professional account of SRK, the actor, as seen by these film-makers and what makes him a living legend.
The design of the book – inspired by Bollywood’s hand-painted film posters – are an added USP of the book that definitely is a must have in the collection of every true SRK fan.
Shah Rukh Can: The Story Of The Man And Star Called Shah Rukh Khan; by Mushtaq Shiekh
Who better than a friend to tell the story of your life. Mushtaq Shiekh first met Shah Rukh Khan as a journalist. Over a period of time, Mushtaq turned into a close confidante. His first book on the superstar has been written after delving deep into spending a considerable amount of time with the Khan family. Being a friend he had the privilege to dive into the deepest facts about the life of King Khan, his amazing rise to power from nothing, his unshakable grit, and confidence which led to the rise of India’s richest actor. The chronological book also is the first one that goes into SRK’s familial past, his time from being a strunggler to his glory days. And in the way SRK’s story is told, it is an inspiring read. This book is a delight for Shah Rukh fans presenting almost every aspect of the life of the superstar.
King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema; by Anupama Chopra
Journalist and film critic Anupama Chopra’s book is the astonishing true story of Bollywood, a sweeping portrait about a country finding its identity, a movie industry that changed the face of India, and one man’s struggle to become a star. It has been done through fly-on-wall access to one of its biggest, most charming and charismatic stars. Shah Rukh Khan’s larger than life tale takes us through the colourful and idiosyncratic Bollywood movie industry, where fantastic dreams and outrageous obsessions share the spotlight with extortion, murder, and corruption.
Shah Rukh Khan broke into this $1.5 billion business despite the fact that it has always been controlled by a handful of legendary film families and sometimes funded by black market money. As a Muslim in a Hindu majority nation, exulting in classic Indian cultural values, Shah Rukh Khan has come to embody the aspirations and contradictions of a complicated culture tumbling headlong into American style capitalism. His story is the mirror to view the greater Indian story and the underbelly of the culture of Bollywood. Not just a biography, this book is also academic in nature, of great relevance to students of Indian cinema.
Shahrukh Khan – Still Reading Khan; by Mushtaq Shiekh
The next logical course in knowing a star – aside from his individual existence is to know the difference he makes to his industry. The raison d’etre for his fame and fan following. This is exactly what the second book by Mushtaq Shiekh does. It informs and educates readers about how SRK has changed the Hindi film industry and its dynamics. Over the years SRK has conquered areas where no actor has ever been. A clear brand philosophy and a brilliant understanding of mass psyche has been the strength of the SRK product.
He is probably the best brand ever churned out by Indian industry. One section of the book deals with the portrait of the artist as an individual, while the other would be an analytical commentary of his body of work and closer look at the Shah Rukh phenomenon through his films. The books argues on several premises including that of visual pleasure and the erotic gaze to explain the strongest points of attraction that a Shah Rukh film holds for the audience. The book also delves into the emotions and economics of being the Shah Rukh Brand.
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.