The King lives on: Shah Rukh Khan's career is far from over

Published: January 15, 2016
From a creepy stalker in Darr to a psychotic murderer in Anjaam; SRK won the admiration of several even when he was pushing his leading ladies off the roofs of high-rise buildings.

From a creepy stalker in Darr to a psychotic murderer in Anjaam; SRK won the admiration of several even when he was pushing his leading ladies off the roofs of high-rise buildings.

From a creepy stalker in Darr to a psychotic murderer in Anjaam; SRK won the admiration of several even when he was pushing his leading ladies off the roofs of high-rise buildings. From a creepy stalker in Darr to a psychotic murderer in Anjaam; SRK won the admiration of several even when he was pushing his leading ladies off the roofs of high-rise buildings.

KARACHI: People can be really unforgiving. And God help you if you’re one of the biggest movie stars in the world (read: Shah Rukh Khan) and have just delivered a flop (read: Dilwale).

But you can’t blame them, can you? Shah Rukh is no ordinary movie star. During the course of his career spanning nearly 25 years, he has appeared in over 60 films. You often hear people say, “Shah Rukh is the greatest romantic hero of this generation.” But it’s not just his romantic characters that struck a chord with audiences around the world.

From a creepy stalker in Darr to a psychotic murderer in Anjaam; from, well, a baazigar in Baazigar to his big break as the dreamy Raj in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Shah Rukh won the admiration of several even when he was pushing his leading ladies off the roofs of high-rise buildings.

The transition of his character in Ram Jaane – from a small-time criminal to a notorious gangster – is in a lot of ways similar to his transition from a small-time theater and TV actor to one of the most popular movie stars in the world. Think about it: Ram Jaane is a lone wolf; a fierce risk-taker. Na koi aagay, na koi peechay; so he does everything in his power to meet his goals.

Shah Rukh in and as Ram Jaane

Young Shah Rukh, like Ram Jaane, was a rebel. He was comfortable in shunning much of the norms governing his line of work. “There’s a lot of ‘ji hazoori’ in the film industry. Everyone — actors, producers, directors – wants to please everyone else. So, if someone acts slightly different, they say he is arrogant,” he said in a 1994 interview.

‘When will you learn acting’: fan asks SRK after watching Dilwale

The host goes on to ask him if he puts forth a lot of conditions before signing a film. “That’s true. I tell the director I can’t do ‘aa aa ee oo oo oo’ (referring to a popular dance number of the time, featuring Govinda and Karisma Kapoor). I have set some standards for myself,” he responded, in the most bad-ass fashion.

But more importantly, he came across as a young, talented actor who was open to taking risks, and was hungry for roles that redefined the quintessential Bollywood hero of that time.

Add to that, he had no pressure on him. Like Ram Jaane, he was a lone wolf. He hadn’t inherited the profession from a movie star and he didn’t have a godfather in the industry (his ‘love affair’ with Yash Chopra blossomed later); so, naturally you’d expect him to do everything in his power to meet his goal.

But, then, somehow he ended up playing Raj, who — as we know – is as quintessentially Bollywood as it gets. He sings; he dances; he plays the piano and knows how to woo a woman. And voila! He is a blockbuster hit. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that there was a marked shift in Shah Rukh’s choice of characters following DDLJ. He mellowed down. He was no longer a hardcore gangster; he was a lover boy. Ram Jaane became Raj. People liked Raj more than they liked Ram Jaane.

And that was the end of the first phase of his career.

Shah Rukh as Raj in ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’

During the second phase, or the post DDLJ years, he romanced, then he romanced a little more and then he kept romancing. Film after film. And people kept falling in love with him. Film after film.

There were some exceptions, though. He played Aśoka but the film failed at the box office. That must have been disheartening. Then, he featured in Swades – but, unfortunately, that too didn’t score big at the box office — something he had become so used to by then. So, barring a Don here and a Chak De! India there, Shah Rukh started playing it safe.

You can see him admitting to it in an interview recorded on his 50th birthday a couple of months ago.

“There are so many market forces, and thought processes and so many things people tell you. ‘Ub aisi [film] kar do’. So, eight to nine years ago, when people told me I was only doing romantic films, I said, ‘Fine, I’ll do Aśoka.’ And that kind of went wrong box-office wise…

A still from ‘Aśoka’

“Then somebody said, ‘No, no you don’t look good in such films it’s best you wear Polo t-shirts and dance like you did in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.’ I was like ‘Okay’. I did Chak De!, and people said, ‘Why don’t you do more of such meaningful films’

“Then I did Swades somewhere and people said, ‘Woh chali nahi yar Shah Rukh finished.’ I am not saying it doesn’t affect me. It does,” he said.

Shah Rukh Khan’s career is now officially over

So, he continued to play it safe. But at 50, it just doesn’t cut it anymore. His fans, who fell in love with him every time he opened his arms in his signature pose, are tired. He is losing quite a lot of them but does this mean this is the end of Shah Rukh Khan?

Absolutely not.

As of today, Shah Rukh has three films lined up. Fan – in which he plays a fan of his real-life persona, Raees – in which he playes a Gujarati bootlegger and an untitled film alongside Alia Bhatt — which is to be directed by Gauri Shinde of English Vinglish fame.

You don’t need a genius to tell you that Fan and Raees aren’t your typical Shah Rukh movies — obviously, it’s because he is not playing a love-struck ‘teenager’ in either of these two films.

First, let’s check out the teaser of Fan:

And now, watch the Raees teaser:

Whilst Raees is reminiscent of Ram Jaane, Fan has Shah Rukh playing an actual teenager. Observe his body language, his dialogue delivery, his tone and his appearance in both videos. What strikes you the most? He isn’t playing Raj. Raj, ladies and gentlemen, has left the building.

And so, there you have it. Shah Rukh Khan’s career is not over. This is the end of the second phase of his career and beginning of the third.

Teaser release: Is Fan going to be the greatest Shah Rukh Khan film ever?

But, hang on. What about his film with Alia Bhatt? It’s fairly obvious that Shah Rukh would have to kill Raj (or kidnap him and lock him up) in order to move forward from here on. And it appears he has realised that. “The film isn’t a typical love story. It’s not about a romantic relationship in the usual manner that a man and a woman share,” Gauri Shinde was quoted by DNA as saying about her upcoming film.


That’s nice. We can’t be certain that Raj won’t resurface after these three films. But why talk about something that hasn’t happened yet?

Also worth noting is that no matter how many self-proclaimed ‘die-hard’ fans of Shah Rukh claim to fall out of love with him after every ‘bad’ film, the fact remains that there’s no dearth of true die-hard Shah Rukh Khan fans in every corner of the world. And as long as our planet is not struck by an asteroid, these fans are neither leaving his side nor letting him fade into oblivion.

So, sit back and relax — the King lives on.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • harkol
    Jan 15, 2016 - 4:07PM

    A tubeless tyre never goes flat in one go (or one burst). It loses air slowly…

    Famous actors are like tubeless tyres.Recommend

  • Bilal Hussain
    Jan 15, 2016 - 4:54PM

    And not to forget his super hits like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Mohabatein, Pardes, Veer Zara.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 15, 2016 - 4:58PM

    He’s showing his age on screen and that says that he has to reinvent himself……and I see no reason why he can’t and possibly become a bigger success than what he was / is .Recommend

  • Sangita
    Jan 15, 2016 - 5:50PM

    Well written SRK can never be over but he definitely has to get more choosy and do not Salman Khan type but intelligent movies Recommend

  • fara
    Jan 15, 2016 - 6:05PM

    I am a heart die fan of Srk. Formerly fan if aamir since I saw shah rukh in Deewana movie I helplessly fall in love with him. Then no other actor could make in front of his charm. HeHid single smile and enough to fed away all his rivals. His acting was something no other actor was close to.
    But then something happens in 2013. Don’t his health, busy schedule or was it mental pressure, do much smoking or what. His appearance suddenly changed. I understand aging but salman and aamir both look much younger than Srk. Why srk looks so mature that his face doesn’t have anything of his cute look he was known for. He didn’t or couldn’t keep himself in a goof shape as aamir and salman. Those rivals that were nothing compared to srk today they look and do much better. Shah rukh khan should first care about his physical and mental health. U can see his tired face through don gangster, and from then in in all his movies. I hope he can manage to take care of himself… We can’t get enough of him. Even today I watch Asoka and Raja ban gaya gentlemen and still fall in love all over again with that dimpled energetic and smart guy. I can’t believe that Asoka didn’t do well in box office. Its the only Bollywood movie I watched I don’t remember how many times and still love it. I don’t think any other Bollywood movie I watched can beat the magic of Asoka. I think its failure was purely luck and not movie or king acting cos both rocked.
    Well as his all time fan I love to see him a lot for so many more years and hate when his movies come second or third. I hope he takes only great projects and take more care of his health. I can’t wait for raees and fan. And I hope and pray they break all records in box office history. Truly speaking when shah rukh is in his best none other actor can cone even close to his charm. Salman aamir and others together can’t deliver shah rukh khan magic when king is on top of his game. That’s why we call him king. Love SrkRecommend

  • Nupul Timalsina
    Jan 15, 2016 - 7:54PM

    I am from Nepal;
    Nice article
    well written!!!Recommend

  • Fan
    Jan 15, 2016 - 7:58PM

    Shah Rukh Khan is not only the King of Bollywood but the King of Hearts & any of his movie which does not perform well at box office can’t reduce the Love of his Fans. Actors come & go but the Biggest thing is to live in Hearts of People not only in movies. He has millions & trillions of fans across the Globe & no one can deny this fact. Personally, I love him not only because of his Movies, Acting & Style (which is obvious) but also because he is a Family-oriented man, Loving Husband, Caring Brother & a Doting Father.Recommend

  • amit
    Jan 15, 2016 - 9:11PM

    Love u SRK.. King Khan lives on and on…..Recommend

  • norah
    Jan 15, 2016 - 9:15PM

    this is the stupidest story I have ever read – even the headline is embarrassing – his career is far from over? really – dilwale was not a flop it under performed in india made abt 145 crore – I wonder why? there was a clash there were shows being cancelled because some pple didn’t like what he said abt rising intolerance – which a lot of people have also talked abt – but only srk gets blamed? it happened in 2010 during mnik – dilwale is the highest grosser overseas for srk and is still playing more than a month after being released –

    perhaps you lot sd ask why so many people are so biased against srk especially. nobody talks abt the duds that other actors have given – ranbir Kapoor even ranveer singh has had 2 big hits but only with bhansali – the rest of his films were duds – ajay devgn saif and akshay all have given average or duds – but nobody bothers abt them

    for salman and aamir – yes their films do well in india so great for them but to insult srk by saying that his career is far from over is just patronizing – and disrespectful – he like salman and aamir don’t need box office success they have passed that stage – Recommend

  • Bade Desho me.
    Jan 15, 2016 - 9:24PM

    SRK may have his fan base intact in Pakistan. But, his recent comments about “intolerance in India” has cost him lot of fans among Indians and people of Indian origin around the world.
    As a result, his Islamic background has come into sharp focus and pushed his patriotism to the background.
    His apology came too late and only after the debacle of “Dilwale” at the box office. I doubt if he will ever get back all the lost goodwill and affections.Recommend

  • Neil
    Jan 15, 2016 - 11:45PM

    SRK is king. He is fantastic actor. I think, he should be more careful about choosing script.. If he choose good script, nobody can match up to him in acting. By the way, nice article.. perfectly analyzed. He has very interesting line up of films RAEES, FAN, WALK nd Talk. He will be back with bang. SRK rocks totally, I love bollywood, because of him.Recommend

  • Sudipta
    Jan 16, 2016 - 12:36AM

    Nice Article… But check the box office result.. DILWALE is not flop…Recommend

  • Jan 16, 2016 - 5:58AM

    Srk is undoubtedly the kjng of Bollywood and I can surely fan is going to be a blockbuster and raees too cuz srk is a great actorRecommend

  • Saddam hussain
    Jan 16, 2016 - 8:59AM

    He is great actorRecommend

  • Jan 16, 2016 - 4:00PM

    He is the best actor in film industryRecommend

  • camela wahadali
    Jan 16, 2016 - 9:24PM

    you are the best love youRecommend

  • ramesh patil
    Jan 17, 2016 - 12:57AM

    Yes I agree if srk choose good script, nobody can match up to him in acting…Recommend

  • Rafay
    Jan 17, 2016 - 4:04AM

    It would be much better if Dilwale was created as sequel to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaye Ge.But they missed this great opportunity.Im not sure about Fan,but I think that Raees will be one the greatest movies of Shahrukhs career.I also think that SRK is heading towards final movies of his career,as there are many subliminal messages in Fan and Raees.Recommend

  • Tanvir
    Jan 18, 2016 - 1:16AM

    @fara: Do you think one day there is going to be a biopic on SRK ? I think so. Recommend

  • Aamir
    Apr 10, 2016 - 11:44PM

    Srk’s actin is all time flawless no words undoublty he has given manny hits in the bollywood mostly ladies childrns admire his skills of acting in every flimm..i m fan of salman khan(bhaijaan) but words above for srk it’d praise n he was deserving aftrall he is king n sallu is anothr guy tht peopls follow him like a religion whthe ever he do on silver screen was hit machine constantly tht his best… both r best on their wayRecommend

  • Anonymous
    Apr 22, 2016 - 10:27AM

    Shahrukh khan in an as….” I love you king khan…!!Recommend

  • Shaheed
    May 10, 2016 - 1:44PM

    Shahrukh- A fading light

    Dilwale = He tried to cash the DDLJ (1995) glory = Result = Flop

    Fan = He tried to cash Darr (1993) glory = Result = Flop

    Raees = He is trying to repeat Ram Jaane (1995) = Result = Flop

    Old glory can not lead you always… Time to re-invent yourself Shahrukh Miyan..

    P.S = Those who still believe in Box Office collection w.r.t. Shahrukh, >100 cr. (Domestic circuit) is a complete Flop.Recommend

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