Chit Chat

I’m not apologising: Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan is over the moon, now with the IPL Trophy safely tucked away in Mannat, his home in Mumbai. Relieved that the wait is over, he’s wondering why he’s been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. The movie superstar and Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner spoke to TOI in a freewheeling chat. He talked about KKR’s celebrations and why he won’t apologise to the MCA…


IPL champions…. How does it sound?
Whenever I have thought of winning the IPL, I kept telling myself I’ll fight for it, I deserve it, and everyone believes in me, I can do it. But when my team actually won it, I realised – of course, in a very beautiful way – there was just a feeling of emptiness. I think this victory has been a great lesson in life. When you believe in something and you get it, it becomes all the more bigger.

Is it a personal triumph?
Yes, winning the IPL had become a personal thing for me. I used to read, watch on television, what is being written and said about me. Sometimes it was personal. They said Shah Rukh doesn’t know how to run a team, he is going through a mid-life crisis. There were insinuations that me and Jay (Mehta) were interfering too much, getting into the cricketing side. Somethings I read weren’t nice. Some politician came out the other day and said Bollywood should not be allowed in IPL. My question is if Bollywood can be allowed in the parliament, why not IPL? What kind of logic is that?

According to people IPL is about parties, drugs, Bollywood! Not sport?
Isn’t sport a good thing. People have a few beers after a match and it becomes a controversy. That day after the final, some channel reported that champagne was being opened. I wasn’t there but I was just hoping they don’t make another controversy out of it… “Arrey dekho, Shahrukh ke team ne bubbly khola.”

Is this all getting scary?
It doesn’t scare me, it irritates me, disturbs me. People keep saying I am a role model and have to act like one. Do they know what a role model is? A role model is an individual who plays some damn role in public life. I don’t play any role in public life. I am an actor and I come from a background where many middle-class people come from. It shows how important it is in life to have some kind of education. I hear people say… “Why does he (Shah Rukh) wear dark glasses at night?” I’ll tell you why I wear them. I wear them because the sun doesn’t stop shining on me… even at night! If you can’t wear and feel bad about it, I’m sorry.

Your critics have gone on TV saying you go overboard with things…
I don’t want to name people here but when these so called pallbearers of society give lectures and talk about how one should conduct himself or herself, it’s irritating. I want to tell that person “You stupid red-wine drinking, uncool, good for nothing socialite… what right do you have to glorify yourself in tabloids or on TV like that? What life have you seen? How dare you go on some television channel and call me an overgrown schoolboy? What life have you lived?

The Kolkata celebrations were dramatic…
After the World Cup, it was the biggest celebration in Kolkata. Just heard one gentleman politician say why are they celebrating so much when only five Bengali players were there in the team. How dare he say that? Does he mean he doesn’t watch other sports if there is no Bengali player in it or my movies because I am from Delhi.

What about the Wankhede controversy? There’s confusion about the apology bit…
Let me make this very clear, I am not apologising to anybody. I only apologise to my kids for what happened, I apologise to myself for having gone there. I will also not take on an organization (MCA) for the actions of one or two individuals. There was a man wearing a yellow shirt that night who spoke rudely with me. People expect me to remember his name? I don’t even remember names of my co-actors. If that man comes in front of me, I will beat him. He said things that were trash, unsecular and unworthy of my repeating them. I have lived in Mumbai for more than 20 years, have my domicile here, my home and family here. I am as much Indian as that idiot who made the comment or anyone else in this country. Thankfully it took me 10 minutes to understand what he said… otherwise I would’ve caught him right there and slapped him. I don’t teach my children what is Hindu and what is Muslim. Every association has their rules and they should follow it and God bless them for that. It doesn’t matter to me if I go to Wankhede or not.

Was it blown out of proportion?

Has there been a conscious effort to shift focus from Brand SRK to Brand Kolkata?
Yes, there has been a conscious effort to shift the focus from Brand Shah Rukh to Brand Kolkata. Venky (Mysore) said it is very important to do that. And I think that’s good. I started it off, stepped in as an initial promoter. But I think I need to take a backseat and take care of the creative part. And leave the finances and cricket to the teams that we have in place. The less I’m involved the better for me.

You’ve played bigger roles for BCCI, like mediating with Sahara
How could you not give Sahara a replacement for Yuvraj. Firstly, there cannot be a replacement for Yuvraj. But still, a tournament had to be played and since Yuvraj was undergoing treatment, it was only fair – not just to Sahara but also Yuvraj – that something had to be done.

I sat with all the co-owners and everybody agreed. The rule says you can’t do it… but then you can. Even when it was about the number of teams, I had spoken about how expanding the number of franchises from eight to ten would help. I have always offered to help where I can.

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