The Front Row: Shah Rukh Khan on Batman, His Future

Anu: Shah Rukh what is the hardest thing about being a super hero?

SRK: First let me just tell you what I think a super hero is, obviously they are in tights and they fly. I think the reason and the need when it spread there and anywhere else in the world, comes out from a great desire of the heart and mind to be protected and rescued. I think all of us have that, we don’t accept it and that’s why the birth of super heroes.

I’ve grown up reading all the comics; Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and some strange ones which never made it to be popular either. I had a red towel, blue swimming trunks. I used to wear them and I used to sit on the bed and fly. I had my own vehicle- Batmobile, so I always wanted to look at this genre and I did with Ra.One. I think in India, one of the research teams told me when we were making this film, we were too far gone to retract, but they told me that there are 10 genres in terms of popularity in India and science fiction and super heroes is the last one.

Anu: Why?

SRK: Because I think super heroes are still the artistic parallel cinema in commercial cinema .When you make an art film, we keep a low budget because it means that you have 10 people to watch the film and just enough money to make it for those ten.

It’s the same thing for a super hero film in the commercial sense. You have just enough money to make it for that many audiences who are ready to watch it. So it’s an art film, in the commercial sphere.  I mean, you go and suggest to one of the big directors who has made a super hero film, ‘Now Spider-Man’s got to dance’… he’s not going to put a dance to it. But we need to put a dance in it because the film is so expensive you need to be able to attract every aspect. You need to have comedy in it. You can’t make it very linear about this one person who has one weakness and then grows to save the world.

Anu: You said to me a couple of years ago that, “Our concern is not whether we can ever make a crossover film, our concern is whether we can even hold on to our audiences.” So when you have a film like “The Dark Knight Rises” which is the film event of the year, how does Bollywood actually battle that? We don’t have the bucks, we don’t have the infrastructure.

SRK: I think we don’t have the acceptance, we have the bucks.

Anu: You think so?

SRK: I have the bucks, I have the infrastructure, Karan Johar has it, Mr. Yash Chopra has it, all of them have it. It’s 10 times cheaper to make a film like this in our country. I’m not being the prophet of doom here, I’m telling you what’s there to be seen. You know with the access into the digital world, the exposure, Hollywood films are releasing a week before they are releasing in London or in America, so the kids want to see that.

Anu: You can’t fight The Dark Knight?

SRK: You can’t fight The Dark Knight. When a film comes out and makes a billion dollars all over the world, it’s a billion dollars anywhere in the world. And a big part of that business is from India.

Anu: So does that worry you Shah Rukh? Do you think about 10 years from now, what?

SRK: I mean I made a superhero film and I’m okay. Everyone else out there they are going to suffer .You can laugh at my Ra.One now but when I come out with Ra.One 7 on a wheelchair then you see. (smiles)

Anu: Shah Rukh last month you finished 20 years in movies. What are you hungry for now?

SRK: The 20 years have passed away really fast. I think I’ve been in about 70 films now. I think the main thing is I still haven’t found out what turns me on about doing this.

Anu: So you’re still searching?

SRK: And that’s why I keep going on. I have never gone on a set and felt, “Okay now I know I have to do that”.

Anu: You’re still nervous?

SRK: I’m very nervous. Nervous means I’m not like nervous-nervous, I know my lines I know my stuff, I feel very comfortable with cameras. But I’m not at all confident that I’ve done this. When I see actors in other films they like ooze confidence, they look like they own the space.

Anu: Like who?

SRK: So many of them, most of them. I think the fact that I’m still ill at ease of knowing what I’m supposed to do just makes me keep on going. It doesn’t feel like 20 years. I always tell this to my daughter and my son that you know every morning I wake up and think of the same thing, that this is the first shot of my life so I better make it stick and this is the last shot of my life and I won’t get another chance so I better make it stick.

So in both cases I’m just, like, I better make it stick. I know I make a lot of mistakes in acting. I can sense them, I can feel them. So it’s also not looking for excellence. I’m not looking for perfection, that’s extremely boring.

Anu: It’s overrated.

SRK: I don’t even know what it is. I don’t know what is perfect. How should it be perfect? And I say all this and it may sound like spiel but I really don’t know how you encase acting? How do you compartmentalize performances? How do you do it right? How do you do it better than last time? I don’t know.

Anu: Shah Rukh, are there any regrets? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

SRK: No it’s been good. Like I say it’s the great Indian dream. I’ve done everything right, I think especially now I think with my cricket win also. I don’t get time, Anupama, so sometimes I wish I could have done that film also. I wish I had worked with that person also when I got the chance but there were reasons that it didn’t happen and if it’s not mine then it’s not the best.

It’s how I think and I know it’s wrong to think like that but that’s the way you survive every morning and I’m really happy with the way I’ve done. At this point no regrets except for the fact that I’ve injured myself a lot physically so that hurts. Even in romantic scenes now you hug a girl and your shoulder is not rising and the girls have become taller so it’s a big problem hugging them. But no regrets.

I do wish I was physically as good as I was 10 years ago before my spine surgery though it doesn’t come in the way of my working. I can still wear tights and fly. I think it’s time you wrote the second part of that book (King of Bollywood) or should I have some regrets and then you’ll write it?

Anu: We have got to spice up the story.

SRK: Like I said, I can do any act, so if you tell me to make it spicy I can do it very rock star-like with heavy doses of substance abuse and aggression and orgies. I can give you that, too. Sometimes I feel I’ve led too sedate a life.

Anu: Too tame?

SRK: Yes, too tame. When I read about myself, whether it’s a business achievement, whether it’s in terms of some mad behavior somewhere, I am like, “Should I turn around and say I didn’t do that or should I let it be and let them feel it’s alright he’s a little mean like that and he is a little sensual like that?”

I don’t know how to react. And I’m too shy to even clarify it, so I just keep quiet. But yes. I think I’ve led a very tame life. I’ve worked a lot, about 15-16 hours a day, never seemed like work. I’ve really enjoyed it. The kids are a great boon. They are the central, focal point of my life. I hope my daughter becomes an actor. I really hope she becomes an actor. That would be regretful if she didn’t.

Anu: And you said you would have figured out how to act by then, right?

SRK: Oh yes. I want to do some exciting films. I really want to spend the next five years doing cinema which can make me fail. But to do that, I have to first do safe films.

I think the time has come when I can open up, get out of my own shy shell and comfort zone, so to say, and try and do new stuff and still make it commercially viable because that is important. I want to work with directors who make cinema which is really wonderful and push, you know, the bar a little more so that the youngsters do not look down upon our films.

Because if we don’t, we don’t have anyone to blame 20 years from now. I think it’ll be really sad if I’m sitting down 20 years from now and saying ‘hamaare zamaanein mein hum kitni achi picture banathe the.’ I think that will be the saddest comment that any of the leading Indian film personalities can have 20 years from now.

If God has given you so much and if the film industry and the audience has given you so much, it’s your duty to work for the future. I’ve been working for 20 years. I’d be a loser if I didn’t do something in terms of work, apart from making the next big hit.

Anu: Sounds fabulous Shah Rukh. Thank you.

SRK: Thank you very much.

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  1. Avatar
    Serenzy 8 years ago

    “I think the time has come when I can open up, get out
    of my own shy shell and
    comfort zone, so to say, and
    try and do new stuff and still make it commercially viable because that is important. I want to work with directors who make cinema which is really wonderful and push, you know, the bar a little more so that the youngsters do not look down upon our

    That’s Absolutely Awesome to hear but frankly speaking Chennai Express & HNY shudn’t be those Movies Shahrukh!


    • Avatar
      sputnik 8 years ago

      Well SRK always says one thing and does another. He will read/hear scripts from Vishal, Anurag but do movies with Rohit Shetty. He always has time to do movies with Yash, Adi, Karan and Farah.

      He talks about importance of screenplay like Hollywood movies before Ra.One but will add unnecessary scenes like Sanjay Dutt – Priyanka cameo and Rajni cameos hoping that will add to the Boxoffice.

  2. Baba Ji
    Baba Ji 8 years ago

    Very typical of srk.As usual big talks and less doing.He is talking about acceptance in India.Well,the superhero films are not some “art” films in commercial sphere as he wants us to believe.They have all the same ingredients of a typical BB.Take the case of recent tdkr,it has all the cliches of a superhero film.The basic flow and structure of all BBs are same.

    He wants to make a case for ra1’s failure.May be he truely believes ra1 was an art film in a commercial zone.I suggest an introspection is needed here from his side.

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