If there is one actor who has broken major stereotypes in Bollywood, it has to be Shah Rukh Khan. Even today when popular TV actors are struggling to make a successful transition to the big screen, SRK had done the ‘unthinkable’ almost three decades ago. After featuring in renowned television shows like Fauji, which followed the training of an Indian Army commando regiment, and Aziz Mirza and Kundan Shah’s Circus, Shah Rukh had made his Bollywood debut with the 1992 action-romantic drama, Deewana.
Featuring alongside the reigning stars of that time Rishi Kapoor and Divya Bharti, SRK’s rich brat-turned-responsible hubby avatar was much loved and the film went on to become the second highest grosser of that year after Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit’s Beta. However, a few of its follow-up’s including Chamatkar, Dil Aashna Hai, King Uncle and Maya Memsaab didn’t live up to the expectations, and that is when King Khan challenged the rules yet again. At a time when leading men stayed away from taking up negative parts with a fear of being stereotyped, in 1993 Shah Rukh played an anti-hero in Abbas-Mustan’s thriller Baazigar and an obsessive lover in Yash Chopra’s romantic-thriller Darr. Both proved to be box-office successes and the former even bagged SRK his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Reportedly, his role in Baazigar was earlier offered to Salman Khan and film director Rajkumar Kohli’s son and former Bigg Boss contestant Armaan Kohli, but they rejected it as the part had negative shades.
While Shah Rukh continued to carve an important space for himself in the film industry, 1995 proved to be a millstone year for his career. With seven releases in his kitty, he began the year with the successful Karan Arjun, and then had a few duds in Guddu, Zamaana Deewana and Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India!, but then came the iconic love story of all time, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Marking Aditya Chopra’s directorial debut, it featured SRK and Kajol in the lead and was the biggest grosser of that year. In fact, the film is so loved that it still plays in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir with a relative number of audience turning up for the morning show. It won’t be wrong to say that Shah Rukh’s journey to superstardom had begun from here.
In 1996, while he made a few bad choices with English Babu Desi Mem and Chaahat, 1997 was again a good year for him with Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai and Subhash Ghai’s Pardes. The former is still remembered for its modern choreography and had even bagged Shiamak Davar a National Award for Best Choreographer.
Then in 1998, came Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which marked the beginning of the actor and director Karan Johar’s successful future collaborations. Taking the brand of Shah Rukh’s eponymous Rahul forward, the film is known for SRK and Kajol’s chemistry, Rani Mukerji’s scintillating avatar as Tina, the friendship bands and SRK’s famous ‘cool’ pendant. It was truly a film made for the millennials.
Two years later, Shah Rukh ventured into film production with his close associate Aziz Mirza’s Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. Co-starring Juhi Chawla, the film today is one of the favourites for the TV audience but back then had failed to create a mark at the Box-Office. In the same year, he also featured in Josh and Mohabbatein, which were accepted by the audience especially the latter one co-starring Amitabh Bachchan alongside six young actors. Bachchan and Khan’s love-hate relationship was one of the highlights of the film.
SRK continued to charm the audience with Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Devdas, but not without his share of duds like One 2 Ka 4, and his home-production Ashoka The Great. He tasted his first success as a producer in 2003 with Chalte Chalte, which was the sixth highest grosser of that year and had featured in another hit Kal Ho Naa Ho in the same year. The film’s title song still resonates with the audience because of its evergreen lyrics by Javed Akhtar, voice by Sonu Nigam and music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.
Then in 2004, while Main Hoon Na and Veer Zara gave him commercial success, Ashutosh Gowariker’s Swades, which saw him play a NASA employee, gave him critical acclaim. 2006, 07’ and 08’ gave him back to back successes in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Don: The Chase Begins Again, Chak De! India, Om Shanti Om and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. This was truly a time when Shah Rukh shifted genres; juggled great scripts and had made some brave choices.
Since 2010, Shah Rukh started featuring in fewer films and while many continued to remain afloat at the box-office like My Name Is Khan, Don 2: The Chase Continues and Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Rohit Shetty’s Chennai Express co-starring Deepika Padukone, set the cash registers ringing, quite literally. Its follow-ups Happy New Year and Diwale did reasonably well, but his fans started expecting more from the superstar. While the audience didn’t really mind Raees, Shah Rukh’s Fan, Jab Harry Met Sejal and Zero (2018) failed to create the desired impact.
Since then his fans have been waiting for SRK to make a blockbuster comeback. While reportedly the actor is taking this time to self-examine his mistakes, we are sure like always the superstar will rise again like a phoenix to capture everyone’s heart. We don’t call him ‘King of hearts’ for nothing right? Rumours are rife that he has said yes to Rajkumar Hirani and South director Atlee’s next, however it is yet to see with which film Shah Rukh will make his much-awaited comeback. But let us tell you, we can’t wait to see the King Khan back on the big screen.
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