Chit Chat

Gauri Khan: Shahrukh called my mother ‘sexy’ the first time he met her

Shahrukh has a rather unusual sense of humour. Doesn’t it get you into tight spots?
Plenty of times. When we got married and my family didn’t know him well enough, he would crack weird jokes and embarrass my poor parents. Like he called my mother ‘sexy’ the first time he met her. My mother got the shock of her life. Today it’s two years since my mother has been protesting, telling him to call her ma, mama, anything but sexy, but he insists on calling her ‘sexy’.

My ma knows him by now. But when it’s someone like Deanne’s model friends with whom we’re just acquainted then it becomes awkward. Like when he met Madhu Sapre for the first time. Shahrukh was barely introduced to her and he quipped, ‘Hi Madhu. Madhu Sapre kam kapre (Madhu Sapre, not many clothes).’ I almost just died of embaraassment. Recently we’d gone for this party and behind the backs of some guests, he would imitate their walk, their talk, etc. Oh, his mimicry was perfect but it wasn’t the right place to do it!

Millions of times I’ve forwarned him about what to say. But once we reach the place, he embarrasses my by my instructions, repeating it word for word.

What’s the cutest thing he has ever done?
2 Once when we we were at my friends Shivani and Sabina’s place, Shahrukh declared, ‘We are having an engagement party.’ There was a box wrapped, flamboyantly style and inside it was this ugly green plastic ring with flowers on it. He asked me to close my eyes and slipped it on my finger. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to say the least. That was supposed to be our engagement party.

Do you think he would have been a different person had he not been succesful?
He’s always been like this. He’s always been over-confident and outgoing. With people whom he doesn’t know he’s shy and introverted. But when he gets to know the person or is confident about the subject he can really talk. I don’t think he would have been different.

He comes through as a person who has reserves of energy – almost superhuman. How do you manage to keep up with him?
I sometimes feel I should tie him down because whenever he comes home, he is so enthusiastic about everything. It’s, ‘Come on let’s go out. Let’s do this or do that. Lets call Chikki, let’s play video games.’ Even if he hasn’t slept for two to three days at a stretch, he has this same enthousiasm. Even on the sets it’s the same story. he tells the director, ‘Let’s do this.’ The director is tired, but he’ll say, ‘Let’s shoot for some time more.’ If nothing, he’ll help people around but he won’t sit in one place.

When Shahrukh gets into anything he is very adamant. Like there was a point when he had joined film and had come down to Delhi. He refused to go back till we were married.

He’s one person at home, another outside. I mean he won’t even stretch his hand to lift a glass when he’s at home. But when he’s outside he is brimming with energy. He can sleep for 24 hours, waking up once only to have his cup of tea. You have to even nag him to take a bath. He is an extremist. If he starts doing something he wants to keep doing it for the rest of his life. In a way it’s good that he spends all that extra energy working, so that he is very relaxed when he’s at home.

This profession is so unpredictable. Touchwood Shahrukh is very successful today. But tomorrow if he fails, will you be able to accept it?
Basically I can’t associate failure with Shahrukh. Those who don’t know about his past, probably think he’s just struck lucky! But I’ve known Shahrukh for a long time now. He has made a success of everything he attempted, studies, sports, painting, sketching. So even when he entered film I never thought of whether he’ll succeed or fail. It’s not a wife’s love speaking, it’s just an objective analysis. I think it will take one or tow years more for the people to realize what he is all about. Agreed in his line you cannot be successful forever. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.

You prefer being wooed before marriage or romanced after it?
Earlier we used to meet outside and now we meet at home. Shahrukh is more protective and caring after marriage. Earlier he knew I was with my parents. But now when I’m leaving town, every detail has to be written down 100 over. I’m going to Dubai and he wants me to get one of those cellular phones so that he can call me up every half an hour. He wants to do demented things like that.

How involved is he in your work, your dancing and all?
As far as my dancing concerned he isnt involved. But then neither am I in his acting. Even I don’t show an effusive interest in his work! I have never been remotely connected in anyway with acting. Not even in school or college. I haven’t even played a tree in the school dramatics.

Shahrukh comes through as a very intense person.
He is intense about whatever bothers him. I think the whole commotion is because he’s from the film industry and yet he’s so faithful to his wife. Her men aren’t supposed to be monogamous. But Shahrukh isn’t filmi in the least. He is like any other man from any other walk of life who loves his wife a lot. I’m sure there are men who love their wives as intensely! It gets noticed in Shahrukh’s case because he’s a star. I’m glad he is an exception to the rule of star husbands who are not faithful to their wives.

How close are you to his heroines?
Though I have met her only twice I find Madhuri very warm. We’ve gone to Juhi’s place for dinner once, but I don’t know her really well. I’m close to Kajol. When we were in London, Tanuja, Shilpa Shetty, Kajol and I had a realy whacky time going for plays and all.

What kind of relationship do your parents share with Shahrukh today?
Now they have accepted him in a big way. And are quite happy with my choice. Not because he is succesful, but because he really keeps me happy. Apart from that, they’ve becomes mini-celebrities back in Delhi. You know people refer to them as Shahrukh’s mother-in-law and father-in-law.

Have you changed your surname after marriage?
Shahrukh told me that Khan actually means chieftain so obviously a Khan’s wife can’t be call Khan she’s Khanum.

I’ve changed my surname after marriage to Khan. That Khanum things don’t take him seriously. He must have been trying to pull another one of his fanst ones. To my friends I am still G.C and to Shahrukh I’m still Gauri Maa.

Are you going to take a shot at a film career?
Not even in my dreams! Some guys come up with absurd offers for me to work opposite Shahrukh. When I feign ignorance about acting they say, ‘Koi baat nahin hai, tohda naach gana hi karna hai.’

What did you feel when you saw him for the first time in Fauji?
Well it felt damn weird. You know this guy who I was kind of going around with was on the small screen in my house. But to date I felt he looked the best in Fauji with his Tom Cruise crew cut. There are times when I feel he should revert back to the same crew cut. But he’s become filmi, he thinks long hair is in vogue and suits him better.

What kind of experiences have you had with his fans so far?
Right from Fauji days he used to get mobbed. But one of the worst experiences I’ve had was on New Year’s eve last year, when some revellers came up to our car and began shaking the whole car because they wantd to touch him. I was petrified.

No, I don’t miss the moonlight walks beach. In fact going for a long drive in the car suits lazy me, just fine.

With all the fans cluster around him do you ever get pushed into the background?
Generally whenever I’m with Shahrukh he never leaves my hand for even a single moment.

Or he makes sure I’m safe with Deanne or Chikki. Because he knows if such a situation arose, I’d walk out of the room and won’t even know where to find me. Apart form the element of fear I think he loves me too much to allow me out of his sight for even a moment.


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