Koimoi Reader Vivek Tejwani writes to us about Shah Rukh Khan and his journey into Bollywood. Being a die hard fan of the star, here is an honest plea to the star from our reader.
Shah Rukh Khan is a name that has provoked a variety of thoughts attached to the mind of every educated Indian. He has been living out a career that one can only dream of, one that inspires many, one that has gained from the globalization of Indian cinema and even contributed to it! His body of work was always classified as “different” and it helped him gain an instant connect across generations of Indians. His early hits like Darr, Baazigar, Deewana amongst others saw him break stereotypes that his contemporaries were conforming to.
Furthermore, his work started influencing the Indian diaspora, all over the world, beginning with the landmark “DDLJ” bringing out patriotism in the NRIs and at the same time breaking the angry, rebellious man’s character that prevailed in Indian cinema, before he began.
He proceeded to venture into relatively new territories with Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Devdas, Asoka, Chalte Chalte, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Veer Zaara, Swades, Chak De India and My Name is Khan, each depicting him as a refreshingly new character, with a strong plot and a deep, long standing message. Despite the never ending argument about him “always doing love stories”, I firmly believe the characters he played constantly challenged himself as well as us as an audience, with Dev Saran cheating on his wife in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Rahul Raichand depicting the pain of an adopted child in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Veer Pratap Singh re-writing the meaning of love in Veer Zaara, right down to Dev babu wasting away and eventually dying, for love, in Devdas.
What is of interest is that with time, off-screen, Shah Rukh became more and more of a money-spinning machine. Us fans revere him for that, what with Mannat being valued among the best homes in the country! Yet, with the corporatization of the process of film making, and money becoming the sole of every motion picture, as a fan, I begin to question my idol’s ability to stand out. I respect the fact that advertisements fill his pockets, he made himself sellable with his demeanor and humility, yet what troubles me is his conforming to corporate standards that others have started to set.
A Red Chillies Productions Pvt. Ltd. (and Dreamz Unlimited preceding it), which initially produced thought provoking, funny and consequential movies such as Asoka, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, One Two Ka Four, Paheli and Chalte Chalte have now started making its bread and butter from films like Om Shanti Om, Chennai Express (loved the film personally) and Happy New Year!
Is this transition due to the 100 cr. club? Above all, isn’t a personality like Shah Rukh Khan above such clubs?
As a loyal fan that followed his car right up to his building, I have a sincere plea for Mr. Khan. As was your dream, please make sure that Red Chillies continues to stand for different cinema, interesting cinema, one that is appreciated by everyone alike. And I request your participation in such cinema, as your name guarantees that the fate of that particular venture will be successful! A Ra.one would still be successful without Akon singing, or Rajni Sir making an appearance, because it has the SRK stamp of authenticity. I plead with you to not lose that stamp over time.
As pompous as I may have sounded, let me confess, my knowledge about film-making pales in comparison to Shah Rukh’s and it is herein where I leave it to him to try and make the right choices to make commercially viable, yet thought provoking cinema. Because he’s done that before. And whatever Shahrukh Khan participates in, he excels. P.S. I think he’s felt it himself, hence Raees and Fan.
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