Hindi film superstar Shah Rukh Khan, one of the world’s 100 highest paid celebrities, says the core of his job as an actor remains to spread happiness and that the money, awards and fame that come along are “peripherals”, which he is grateful about.
How does the life he is living today as Bollywood’s King Khan compared to the dreams he had when he entered the industry?
Shah Rukh said: “It’s extremely nice to hear the words King and Baadshah, heartthrob, loved, romantic hero, etc… All these things are really positive things. I’d rather be hearing these than some negative aspects that people might attach to my name. So, I’m extremely thankful and happy that this happened.”
“Having said that, my core job is to try and entertain people. Like I always say, make them smile… Fulfil some unfulfilled desire or emotion in them that might exist. Give them a couple of hours of happiness. It has to be as simple as that. Everything else that comes is peripheral.”
“Everything that gets attached to my acting in films… whether it’s the money, the fame, the name, whether it’s on a power list, whether it’s an award… all of those are windfall games,” Shah Rukh said.
“I’m very happy about them and grateful about them. But the core of my job is can I make people happy whenever I’m in touch with them? Through my cinema? Through just talking to them or meeting them. When you’re a star, people feel happy just meeting you or seeing you pass in a car. So to me, the core is just that, nothing else.”
Often, the 51-year-old star has said he sells dreams. But does the thought that there might come a time when he loses this ability, bother him?
“No. It doesn’t bother me. I believe that anyone who has the capability, the ability, the desire to sell dreams, has to dream them first. So, I have lots of dreams. As a matter of fact, if I were to be left alone, I could just live in the company of my dreams.”
“I don’t really always need to get these dreams verified, quantified or substantiated,” he said, stressing that he prefers to see the “optimistic side of life”.
Shah Rukh, who has spent almost three decades in Indian showbiz, will be hosting “TED Talks India: Nayi Soch”, a global first Hindi TV talk show created in partnership with TED, the non-profit organisation devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’, for Star India.
Asked if motivational talks by public figures can bring about a positive change among the country’s youths, SRK said: “I think ‘motivational talk’ as a term itself is overrated. It’s not about giving motivation to someone.”
“I think if you can hold on to the interest of people through your experiences, then it’s up to people to take away something of some worth which suits them. Not like the whole talk is going to become something that people are going to live by.”
“Some aspects may touch some people, some may not touch people, some may not like it at all. But I think as long as you can make it personal, people everywhere in the world get attached to personal emotions because emotions are universal.”
He also said: “For me to sit down and pen down my struggles and romanticise them, I think it’s being ungrateful about the success I’ve got. But having said that, yes, I think it makes a lot of sense when you achieve something, when you come from no background, like I have… When you come from a different city and without anyone helping out… when things fall right, it just feels nicer.”
“It also gives the message to people that if you can work hard, and if you have a bit of talent and you believe in yourself, that’s more than enough to achieve your dreams. You need nothing else.”