As Fan movie is being watched by lovers and haters alike, I need to write this honest write up on my connection with Shah Rukh Khan. Seems pointless that my nemesis Ritz is gone, no one has fan wars on the comments page, Naachgaana is defunct and so my favorite SRK fans no longer found.
When I was about 8 years old, I would get so involved in film scenes that I would cry, or laugh out aloud while watching movies. Particularly for the awkward scenes, when main character gets caught or teased or does something goofy. Thats what happened to lieutenant Abhimanyu Rai, he monkeys around during training session, gets caught and punished – is asked to stand under the sun until trainer chooses to let him go . His trainer forgets the punishment till late in the evening. About the time, trainer rushes to relieve him Abhimanyu Rai is about to faint, the girl he has been wooing catches him. Then he winks and says something cute. Thats the earliest memory of watching SRK.
Over the years I developed a strong connection with this actor, got to know more and more about his personal life, watched his interviews, Read his interviews (knew some write ups by heart), scanned for his name mentioned in film magazines, kept secret stash of photos, cutouts, stickers etc.. I pretty much learnt hIndi because of him. I started watching cricket so that I catch his Pepsi ads. Later I became cricket crazy. Recently I read an article in which someone had claimed that SRK used to his first e-mail password. Even I had Raj as my password. I even wrote Ram and Simran as the sender and receiver for mock money order in my English exams. Through him I learnt many things. My taste, my beliefs, my individuality all had some connection with SRK. In some sense, he was an integral part of my childhood. Hard to ignore doing f-l-a-m-e-s with his movie characters.
And then somewhere he started disappointing me. I hated his OTT act in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. But loved that everyone liked the movie and its a huge hit. Because the commercial failure of Dil Se, made me wish he had more hits. Though I connected with the common man SRK seen in films like KHKN, RBGG, Dil Se etc .. I didn’t mind him over doing the superstar persona and the stock expressions, for that sake of hits and more glory.
Thats when it became bizarre, His life had become an extension of my ego. If someone passed a joke on him (I did not mind mocking any other celebrity), it hurt me. Any mention of his name, made me happy. I started hunting for good, positive stories about him. Instead I found many nasty opinions on him. So, I created online accounts in sites like mouthshut, naachgaana. I became his warrior, defender, savior etc… I fought, mocked, laughed, got addicted to online chats etc …
After a certain point, I got disillusioned. Realized fans of other actors feel the same about their favorite idol. I learnt to compromise, appreciate good work of other actors. Yet, there were relapses, the craze peaked during movie release. I pretty much felt butterflies in the stomach waiting for upcoming his movies. The connection became an internet addiction interfering my real life relationships. One day out of sheer frustration of reading some nasty, unfair article on him, I threw away my phone and its screen broke. The sheer stupidity of this weird unexplainable incident amazed me.A low point. That’s when the connection got weak. I decided to have an SRK detox. Deleted online accounts, deleted all SRK stored songs, videos, blocked all Bollywood news sites, forced myself to think like greatbong.
The crazier aspect of this was the fact that my belief in his acting skills, his ability in signing good films etc had already declined every time he chose to work with Farah, Karan, Adi, circle of crony directors.I no longer loved his movies or his performances.
The craziest aspect of it, was how much I had internalized SRK. I could sense he was nervous about RaOne, so he had over promoted it. I could sense a synthetic acting even by the first promo. I knew it would another Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. Decided to not watch it. As if I wanted to keep his myth alive by choosing to ignore his failures. And then weirdly, 2011 to 2012, his career started going downhill, outbursts, blind items, borderline lewd jokes… As if Shah Rukh Khan is tired of being the mythical perfect super star.
Group of friends while casually chatting about Bollywood, claimed SRK had gone crazy and he should consult a psychiatrist. My husband liked him in JTHJ which he watched in Netflix, but I could see the Shah Rukh after memory loss, failed to create the happier younger version of him. His performance lacked energy. Made me wonder if he was under some depression of some kind.
I would come out to defend occasionally. But mostly watch from afar. Once in a few months I would check on what Satyam says (now that both his favorite star Abhishek and hated star SRK were slowly fading). I would chuckle to myself. Mostly felt indifferent but occasionally I felt sad, a heart ache. I would go to youtube and look at the old SRK of Kabhi Haan Kabhi Haan. To his credit, not many actors can show awkwardness and vulnerability better than him (every actor tries to perfect his or her timing).
Worst was getting to watch HNY with a group of rejuvenated Salman fans. How much they mocked the movie, and ignored it, I just grew silent. I could not disconnect. It still hurt. And the good news still made me happy. Good news finally did come. SRK signed Fan and Raees. New directors. Some hope. But then, he had to cram in a Dilwale, which turned out to be exactly what I had predicted.
HIs upcoming films look good. He has finally picked worthy directors. The kind I have always wanted him to act with. No Aditya Chopra/Farah/Rohit Shetty for the next 3 years. Some redemption I hope.
Fan released. Though everyone has praised his performance, I could predict he would have overdone Gaurav or some scenes of his. It would probably be an inconsistent performance. I haven’t yet watched it. Yet, it feels good. His performance won over Raja Sen, Subhra Gupta, Great bong, Prakash Jaju, Amod Mehra … his worst detractors. I don’t want the good feeling to go away by actually watching the movie. I guess I am more pathetic than Gaurav.