On the eve of the release of Billu, Shah Rukh Khan shares his thoughts with Rajan Singh...
Well all I can say is that work is worship. I dont do anything special to maintain this image called "SRK". There are commitments which need to be fulfilled; its actually business for others. I have known this from very beginning that I am means to ends and I am a not end. I work and do my job for so many people. I work for production houses; I also work for TV channels apart from my own films. In a way I am a very high-end employee. If you are to go somewhere to promote your film then you have to stick to your commitments. Well I have often observed this strange thing happening with actors, whatever the case is everyone tells only thing that please be there even for two minutes. They often tell this that there wont be an unruly situation we will even provide bodyguards for you. Its a difficult situation and I do understand their precarious situation. They have sent invitations to all mentioning that a movie star would be coming and they cant afford to cancel things at the last moment. Now I have started saying no to people because of my pending surgery. I have started extending everything by a month. My doctor had told me categorically on 12th January itself that I should get over with my surgery in next 21 days. But I had followed the doctors advice none of the commitments related to Billu would have been fulfilled. Billu is our production and it has turned out to be a good film. I will get my surgery done after the release of the film.
Your surgery is due sometime soon, has it affected your publicity plans for the film?
I am still busy taking a final decision on my surgery. My doctors suggested me three places. The first being doctors at LA who saw me first. Then there is also a reference from London and lastly Mumbai too is there where these days world-class surgery happens. Mumbai is no less from other places of the world and I have even met the doctors from Mumbai regarding my surgery. The only effort is to be with my kids during the surgical operation. After my surgery I cant move anywhere for three weeks. Getting operated in places outside your home becomes bit chaotic as you become entirely dependent on the driver, you are not aware of the place. It becomes another problem for the family that how long can they stay in the hospital. I think I may do it in India only to be with the children.
Are stars made of a different material; are they different from ordinary men?
Well, its the same blood and its the same bones of a common man, which a star is made of. If any problem arises in those bones and blood then your stardom becomes meaningless. This is going to be my seventh surgery. I was operated every time during my films only. I had them during the shoots of One 2 Ka 4, Dil Se and Koyla. Whatever happened during my work, this surgery comes in the form of repayment. I have got a lot and you also have to sacrifice a bit. Though stunts are not necessary for us then I think that fine no issues lets do it. And then you get these injuries and then you realize that we are not stars in real life, we are stars only in films. The message is conveyed to us that we are at the end of the day normal human beings. We all are mortal and normal human beings. I get this feeling that something really bad was n offing and God me let away with a minor thing.
Shah Rukh how does the whole persona of being a star carried in front of the masses in real life?
I think every creative show biz person be it actors or actresses believe in one thing and keep smiling and try entertain others too. We cant afford to go in the public with a sad face. I was shooting few days back in America for Karan Johars film My Name is Khan and few people from the Indian community present there came to me to have a small conversation. At that time I was under intense pain, it was so cold there that I could not even take my hands out to give them autographs. The pain was simply unbearable. Then I had to explain that I was hurt and in intense pain. After they left someone commented that I was lying. Their statement was based on the fact that I was shooting a while back. So its bit of a situation. I think acting in films amounts to hiding your personal things and then mouth those lines, which have been given to you. Try showing your dimples at whatever opportunity bestowed to you. But I am hopeful that everything will soon be fine and I will be back to work.
Shah Rukh Khan
Tell us a bit about the making of this film?
Yeah these days actually I am showing my dimples. In Billu I actually have reason to do so. Three beautiful girls are dancing with me in the songs. I had plans of making a small film initially and it has turned out to be a good film but I am not sure how much will this film appeal to the audiences. The film is all about friendship and there is also a line in the film, which goes on like that one should never forget old friendship and old relationships. Well actually on the eve of Valentines Day, my message to my audience is that on Friday the 13th, go and try find those friends of yours whom you have forgotten and say a hello to them. I think Billu is a thought like that. We tend to forget many relationships and friendships in our daily life, we can revive them by saying a mere hello and these are the things that matter in life the most. Billu is all about smiling with your friends.
You dance around with three beautiful women in the film Kareena, Deepika and Priyanka, how did it all happen?
Deepika, Kareena and Priyanka were so sweet during the making of the film that its hard for me to describe, not forgetting Lara Dutta who is the lead heroine of the film. I had called up Kareena saying that the shooting of my film was to commence after three days and what was she doing? She told me that she would be busy shooting for my film after three days. She is very sweet. At that time both Saif and Kareena were supposed to go abroad for some vacation but they were kind enough to postpone their schedule for three days. She sweetly came on to the sets and shot her song. Similarly I had called up Deepika too saying that I wanted her to do a song in the film. After that she must have called me 10 times asking me that when was she supposed to shoot? At that she was busy shooting for Chandni Chowk to China in China. Priyanka too was busy with Dostana and Fashion and both the films are on the verge of their release. She informed me that she had three spare days, which she had kept aside for the marketing activity of Dostana. She further added that she would do her stuff in the evening and shoot for the song in morning. I am so touched and thankful to all of them. If actually reflects their greatness in such a short age. Its really sweet of them to harbour such a thought to be available for their colleagues. They never asked me that how have the songs shaped up. They were not even aware of fact that how will I use the songs in the film. I am really thankful to all of them.
Tell us bit about the story of the film?
Well in the film the main story of the film belongs to Billu, which has been portrayed by Irfan Khan. The track, which has Lara and Irfan in them, also has Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav and then a movie star enters their life. Normally when people hear about things associated with films they mainly presume that it will center on dance and drama routine. And I actually wanted to show a difference between the life of an ordinary man and a star and reveal the fact that after a point everything is same only. I play the character of Sahir Khan who is a film superstar in the film. The beauty of the film is that two different world come together face to face. But there is no difference when it comes to love, goodness, relationships and thats the whole essence of the film. About this film one thought that struck me was that the film would look more real only if I were to rope in big stars in the film. I wanted big stardom to come into the real world of films.
Are you also trying to give any hidden message through Billu?
The thing, which we have tried to portray in Billu, is that the thing, which people think about stars, is not always real and not always correct. This does not also means that he is not a good human being; he is just a normal human being. Apart from this we have also tried to convey this message that an ordinary man is the most beautiful person. He is happy and he possesses all those qualities, which could make him a superstar. When two different worlds come together then the life of an ordinary man goes for a toss. Chances are that post that it may even come back to its original form or may not. The story is that of a common man and a star too is a common man. I too am an ordinary person and have been working for the past 20 years. I was there during Golden Globe awards and I met some really big stars over there like Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz. Our publicist was telling this to everyone present that stars from India too are here. We were shaking hands with everyone present and also rooting for Rahmans victory. Then I suddenly told my wife that where have we come in life, I had never ever imagined in my life that someday I will be sitting with these people. I saw Clint Eastwood sitting at a distance, Angelina Jolie was almost seated next to me, and then I thanked God. The only thing we should always remember is our root, the place where we came from and then only you are able to attain that real happiness in life. When I had come to Mumbai first then I had only 1500 Rs in my pocket and had no place to live. I had no clue that where was I heading. Nothing beats our ordinary lives and I have realized this at the age of 43. I can say this from experience that if you remember your roots then you will attain maximum happiness.
Any regrets about not being a part of Slumdog Millionaire, as it was you who were approached first by Danny Boyle and not Anil Kapoor?
No I dont regret about anything. I always feel this that the stuff we have is the best. I dont feel anything missing in my life when I see the other person happy. And I truly feel about this that the people who have worked in this film have done a stupendous job and had I been a part of the film then it would have surely lessened. Anil Kapoor has done an excellent job and I truly believe this. I have rejected so many films in my career and that does not mean that I rejected them per se. I could not those films because of dates issues or some other factors. It never strikes me that wish I had been a part of this film, I am a very content man in such respect. I am very happy about Slumdog Millionaire. Danny Boyle and I had met initially and had a long conversation and the script appealed to me a lot. I had no clue that the film will turn out to be so good. I am really happy that A. R. Rahman and Gulzar Saab have made our country proud and because of them we earned respect while in L. A. I dont regret about anything and feel proud about Slumdog Millionaire. At the award ceremony I was requested to hand over the trophy for the best foreign film category along with Penelope Cruz but later on I requested the authorities to change it to any award related to Slumdog Millionaire.
Thanks a lot.