Not just the actor, but the larger-than-life phenomenon that is Shah Rukh Khan
Seems like age is just a whiff which touches Shah Rukh Khan and drifts away. Don’t believe us? Well, watch the mini trails of Imtiaz Ali’s latest, ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’, and watch this man turning on his flirt-o-meter to the max. You will get what we are saying. While actors his age play romance the safe way, it seems that Shah Rukh Khan is once again going to prove that be it any generation, he is going to rule the genre of rom-coms, come what may.
After all, it is not for nothing he is known as the King, the Baadshah of Bollywood. He is one of those few actors who have performed consistently and carved a niche for themselves. Such is the charm of this man that he is revered globally, and not just in India. But, behind this immense success lies a story of utmost dedication and hard work, for this stardom was not built overnight. It was achieved and created bit by bit. And it was all done by this one man, who had no one to fall back to, on days he struggled and strove to make a name for himself. He is a truly self-made man, who dared to infiltrate the Bollywood ruled by nepotism, solely on the basis of sheer talent that he possessed, and the passion that drove him.
This man is not just a reel-life king of hearts. He is a star for the people and by the people, not just on screens, but off it too. Probably that is why, even his downfall was not such that it could pull his zeal down, for he always had the love of his fans.
Did you know that Shah Rukh’s charities are a through and through secret affair? While there are many celebs who rave about their ‘good deeds’, here is a man who likes to keep it mum. However, if you do snoop around the right way, you would find out the tip of the iceberg. In the year 2012, the superstar had adopted 12 villages. Till date, he is providing those villages with all the basic amenities required for a normal and healthy lifestyle, including but not limited to electricity, water supply, education, medicines, and others. He was even named ‘Bollywood’s Most Charitable Person’ by China’s Hurun Research Institute, when he donated Rs 25 crores towards social and rural development. He also makes regular donations to ‘Make A Wish foundation’ and even invites kids to visit his house, ‘Mannat’, a dream many of his fans cherish, but he wishes to share the same with underprivileged kids. This is just a small percentage of what the superstar does.
Many may say that since he earns so much, so what if he donates a part of it. We beg to differ. We have seen richest of richest bargaining for a meager 10 bucks. It does not take money, but a heart to disburse what you have, to share what you have achieved, with those for who even the basics are luxuries.
No matter how larger-than-life this man has been on screens, making us go weak in our knees when we watch him romance, Shah Rukh has never been embroiled in big controversies, and certainly not the ones linking him up to his co-stars. His minor brawls, even if they have been, have been just made huge. For which father will not argue and turn unreasonable for his daughter? Our fathers too have done that. What matters is that SRK has never been arrogant and flaunted his stardom, or ever taken it for granted. This can be said for very few celebs, in today’s day and age.
Here is a man who lives for his fans, and is humble and down to earth. Shah Rukh has always stated how he will always owe his success to his fans who have loved him in all the highs and lows of his career and kept him going. And he deserves every bit of that love.
Not just acting, Shah Rukh has invested his earnings in ventures like Red Chillies Entertainment and Kolkata Knight Riders. While former gives us movies to cherish and remember, as a production house, latter is a top team in the Indian Premier League.
A well-learned man, Shah Rukh has a huge three-floor library, and the little time that he gets from his schedule, he loves to spend that reading in his study. His interviews are laced with witty one-liners that never reek of ignorance, for whatever he says, it comes from a rich experience, and a life which he has spent reading and garnering knowledge, apart from pursuing his passion. Despite that, the superstar has always been humble about the same. If you don’t believe us, watch his recent Ted Talk, and all the doubts will vanish. Not a tinge of pretence, this man owns the stage with his wisdom and life lessons.
A brilliant actor, an amazing speaker, a father who adores his kids Suhana, Aryan and AbRam, and who has stood by his wife Gauri like a rock, here’s Shah Rukh Khan, the larger-than-life persona, a phenomenon, for you.
Kapoor & Sons: Caught the plight of homosexuals tenderly and yet made 'coming out' look doable
Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921. The house proudly flaunted that to the world, nestled in the greens of Coonoor. No one knew the darkness that was inside, the demons that were individually dealt with. But then, isn’t every family like that?
Two years have passed by since this Shakun Batra-directorial, story of a dysfunctional family had come to our lives. However, amongst the various themes that tore apart the family and eventually brought it together, one that truly had the power to transform, was that of homosexuality.
Not many know, that the role played by Fawad Khan, that of family’s elder son, a successful author, was actually offered to many A-listers, who turned it down, eventually leading him to step into the shoes of Rahul. And it was, indeed, a very big step on his part. He was venturing out of his territory, a man who has such a huge female-fan following, and comes from a country with religion as its main running philosophy. He did the role and brought such conviction to it that we were forced to stand up and applaud, his courage, and the beauty with which his character was carved.
Since times immemorial, all our memories of gay characters on screen have been that of carelessly effeminate and unimportant roles, which are just there to add a comic element. The stereotype has been high to an extent that often the champions of the same channelise it and promote it, for it is wrapped in the shiny paper of presentation. The biggest example of this was ‘Dostana’, which was an amazing story of friendship, still used homosexuality as humour, as its backdrop. Ironically, it came from the same production house, though nearly eight years before that.
But ‘Kapoor & Sons’ begged to differ here. The character here was real, someone who was hiding himself, for the society, his family. There was surreality to the theme of homosexuality here, which had the power to jar us inside out; and that, it did.
Two scenes from the movie specifically hit me. First one is when Sunita (Ratna Patak Shah) finds out that her ideal elder son, whom she adores and is proud of, is not straight. The aftereffects of the same jolt you, because the reaction is just what an Indian mother gives, in any situation that is beyond her control; uncontrollable anger at the offspring, and then uncontrollable guilt, of blaming herself and her upbringing. The scene is filmed so beautifully, that your eyes sting. The way Fawad’s facade falls and his fear is marked across his face, which is then replaced by the anger of hiding himself for all those years, and mother’s dilemma and hurt, it all comes out in a naked and real manner.
Another sequence is when Rahul (Fawad Khan) comes back home after the showdown with his mother and the death of his father totally uproots whatever sanity his family possessed. He sits with his mother, with whom his last encounter was one of his coming out, and she asks, hesitatingly, about his partner. A subtle way of expressing acceptance, the way they hold hands, without saying anything, it stays with you.
It may not be one masterpiece, but ‘Kapoor & Sons’ will forever remain a favourite for finally breaking the mainstream stereotype of a gay man, in Bollywood. And for that, no matter how many bans, I will forever be waiting for Fawad Khan to come back, and give us more performances; with dare and conviction.
An ode to Sridevi, the queen who inspired the queers long before it became mainstream
“I am a kid from the 90s but still can’t forget those days when, me-myself was not out and proud about my preferences. And inside my own sweet world would dance in front of the mirror on many songs, but majorly on ‘Hawa Hawai’ and ‘Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera’. These songs were just not tunes for me, it made me feel exactly what I was; a QUEERby birth”.
The news of the legendary diva Sridevi being no more with us is still hard to believe, as she was part of my and every queer’s childhood memories. While in the late 90s my bunch of friends would idolise a star from the West as their gay icon, me being a full-fledged Bollywood fanatic was in love with Sridevi and she was a diva I used to worship (and will forever). Her golden costume and perfectly done makeup in ‘Hawa Hawai’ made me feel, “Yes! There is someone like me out there who loves bling and all things loud.” Her feather headgear in one of the songs from ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’, touched my drag Queen‘s soul. One of the lines from her song ‘Hawa Hawai’ which is ‘Soorat Hi Maine Aisi Paayi’ transported me into a world where I thought that there is someone narcissist just like me. Sridevi’s charm was on my mind and the feminine side in me just wanted to be a replica of her.
The gone actress has not only given a lot to the Indian cinema, but her sass and talent of naturally moulding herself into any character gave her an upper hand in whatever she used to do. When many gay men were struggling and were confused about their sexual orientation they found a connection to their on-going pain in Sridevi’s roles. Whether it was Sridevi as a meek Anju and ferocious Manju fighting for everything wrong in ‘ChaalBaaz’ (1989), Pooja’s mutiny against the everlasting societal conditions in ‘Lamhe’ (1991), Seema’s confidence-filled and fearless dance in the ‘Mr. India’ (1987) song ‘Hawa Hawaai’ or her role of a naagin (snake) coming out to the world about her dual identity in ‘Nagina’ (1986), Sri’s roles had a deep connection and were etched in every GAY man’s mind.
And how can one miss ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’ song of Sridevi from ‘Mr. India’, where she owned the song and made every gay guy’s dream to dance on it once with his man. This particular song was wild, seductive and equal parts bold. Sridevi draped in a sky-blue coloured saree with a matching bindi and of course adding fuel to the fire was her dancing moves. Even at the end of the song, a fully wet in rainwater, Sridevi stretching herself on a pile of hay – ‘Tumne jo li angdayi hai’ – where the diva nibbles on straws with a drenched fire in her eyes, leaving Mr. Kapoor to chivalrously lie on a distant haystack.
While mostly when the film fraternity was in a zone where feminine men were used as a tool to add fun elements on the silver screen, Sridevi was a ray of hope for the LGBTQ community. She was like a powerful symbol for the QUEERS. Her role resonated each and every gays struggle, and also echoed their dysphoria into her characters. And with her, all the queer children surpassed the narrow-minded stereotypes which they were labelled with. Lastly, she might be gone, but the colourful rainbow universe she opened for all the fellow LGBTQ people remains there intact..
Hail the QUEEN! RIP Sridevi.