Shah Rukh Khan: Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a riveting, gripping film
After 20 years in the industry and 75 films under his belt, there’s still no stopping Shah Rukh Khan so much so that a SRK release still creates frenzy like no other. No wonder then that they call him The King Khan or Baadshah of Bollywood. Shah Rukh is back with his latest Diwali release- Jab Tak Hai Jaan which is a Yash Chopra romance and has him paired alongside Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. The promos of the film have already created a tremendous buzz and from the looks of it, this one has all the ingredients of a blockbuster. Bollywood Hungama’s Nikhil Ramsubramaniam met up with the man himself- Shah Rukh Khan at Yash Raj Films (YRF) studios and got chatting on a variety of topics. In this Part 1 of a two-part special interview, SRK talks about playing an army officer yet again after his Fauji days, his return to the romantic genre and what he feels about the ‘King of Romance’ tag. Read on…
You’ve had blockbuster Diwali releases with YRF before as well, yet there is something special about Jab Tak Hai Jaan isn’t it?
I think every film that I do is special. I don’t do films just for the fun of it or just to make a big hit. I do films because somehow I enjoy that part of my life. I am sometimes criticized of only working with friends but it’s not like that. I work with people whom I enjoy working with. I’ve worked with Yashji, Adi before as well and the whole team at YRF is like family to me. I’ve been working with them for the last 20 years now. Our track record has been nice and people have appreciated what we’ve done. So yes it’s a special film for me but I can’t choose between the films that I’ve done. Of course sadly Yashji is no more so you do feel a bit poignant about it. I just wish he was here to see the release of the film and beyond.
You started your acting career playing an army-man in ‘Fauji’ and you are back to playing one in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. In a way, life’s come a full circle for you…
I was very young during ‘Fauji’. I liked the physicality of being in the army during my ‘Fauji’ days. You get to see the various guns and magazines etc. so yes it was a good experience back then. I wanted to be an army officer when I was a kid unlike other kids who want to be astronauts or doctors or pilots. When I did ‘Fauji’, I didn’t even know where I was headed. It was just a group of friends who got together to make a TV series. This time too for Jab Tak Hai Jaan, it was a lot of fun playing an army officer. I remember when I dressed up as an army officer wearing the uniform on the first day of shoot in Ladakh, some of the real army officers came up to me and said, “Sir Aap Bahut Achche Lag Rahe Ho Uniform Mein.” So it felt nice that you can be a part of something and play an army officer which in real is such a respected role and responsibility.
You seem to have 2 distinct looks in the film- one clean shaven and one the rugged look. You have tweeted that you prefer being clean-shaven but it seems that a lot of people have liked the bearded look. What do you have to say about that?
Yes girls seem to have liked my bearded look as well. There is a certain opinion that people have when they say ‘girls find men in army uniform attractive’. I’d say girls like me…with or without uniform (smiles). See when actors have been doing their job for too long, they become larger than life. In Hindi films, seldom do you get to play and portray a job that is closer to reality. When you meet the army officers and jawans, they are very normal people. So more than a show of masculinity, playing an army officer somewhere brings an identification to the common man.
The promos of Jab Tak Hai Jaan don’t seem to give away much besides the fact that it’s a Yash Chopra romance. Would you like to elaborate a bit more on the plot of the film?
When I see a trailer of my film, my first rule to anyone is that the promos should reveal what the film is all about. If you say you aren’t getting a clear idea of what the film is all about, then maybe you are not looking deep enough. It’s all there in the promo…there is nothing more to be said. The lines of the poem ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ which I recite in the promos say it all. I don’t like to talk too much about the film as it ruins the fun and experience of watching it. It’s a love story full of emotions. I saw about 90% of the film last month during the London schedule and I must say it’s very riveting, gripping and dramatic.
With Jab Tak Hai Jaan, you also return to playing a lover-boy all over again. Having been a part of so many love stories, how do you try to differentiate your character each time?
I don’t think of lover-boy as an image. I’ve done a variety of roles in 75 films in over 20 years of my career. These tags like ‘King of Romance’ are frivolous. I’d rather be just called ‘The King’. If you’ve done something before and you think it’s similar, to play it differently is a lot of hard work. People say that I’ve played a lover boy umpteen number of times. That is just a sub-conscious feeling. Consciously I don’t think I’ve done any two roles that are exactly the same. I may have played the lover boy before but in each of those characters, the internal emotions and conflicts of the characters have been different. The clothes or look of the characters may be similar but clothes or looks do not make a character alone…these are just crutches to help you find your way. Every Hindi film has a love story. My last genuine love story I truly believe was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai not even Veer Zaara.