Has Shah Rukh Khan Changed in the Last 20 Yrs? Find Out

A throwback to Shah Rukh Khan’s first popular interview on ‘Aap Ki Adalat’

5 min read
Is Shah Rukh Khan the same guy we saw on <i>Aap Ki Adalat </i>two decades ago? (Photo courtesy:

If you’ve seen the trailer of Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan, in the build-up to the character of the star Aryan Khanna in the film, we’re rushed through photographs, video clips and interviews from Shah Rukh Khan’s own real life. One of the clips has SRK saying with his trademark grin:

Aap greatest hain, lekin main uss se thoda sa better hoon.
Shah Rukh Khan as he appeared on <i>Aap Ki Adalat </i>in 1994&nbsp;
Shah Rukh Khan as he appeared on Aap Ki Adalat in 1994 

This is a clip from Shah Rukh Khan’s first interview on Aap Ki Adalat in 1994. It’s an interesting and insightful one, like most of Khan’s interviews are. We see a cocky, confident and charming 29-year-old actor, fresh off the success of films like Deewana, Baadshah and Darr smartly defending himself of the charges thrown against him. So almost 20 years later, has SRK changed? Figure it out for yourself:

Self-Assured or Arrogant?

When asked if it was correct to label him as ‘arrogant’, Shah Rukh says that it’s a norm in the industry for people to bow down and say “yes sir” to everything, so when a guy comes around who believes in standing upright and greeting you with a namaste it’s seen as arrogance.

When Rajat Sharma further questions him about putting forward conditions (how dare he?) before signing a film SRK happily agrees. Khan says:

Yes, I have several conditions. Because I like to work in an atmosphere which is very relaxed, ki aaram se hanste khelte sab kaam ho jaaye.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)

Well, not much has changed here really, check out this interview with SRK we did last week. The actor pretty much echoes the same ‘condition’.

In the interview from 1994, Khan goes on to say that before listening to the script he pretty much tells the director that he won’t do stuff like Govinda’s gyrations or ‘Sarkailo Khatiya’, but what’s interesting is that he candidly admits that he watches all of it but just can’t bring himself to do it:

Script sun ne se pehle main director ko  bata deta hoon ki mujh se “A a e e ooh ooh oh” nahin hoga, mujhse khatiya nahi sarkai jaayegi, mera apna ek standard hai. Main khud yeh gaane dekh ke kaafi khush hota hoon, I like it when they come on TV. But I can’t do it myself.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)

Shah Rukh’s conditions include not doing a film that does not respect women, though he admits that he has slapped women in his films.

When asked if he accepts the charge of copying Dilip Kumar’s acting mannerisms, Khan shoots back with this:

I copy every actor -  Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Balraj Sahni, Robert De Niro, Michael J Fox, Tom Cruise.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)
Has Shah Rukh Khan Changed in the Last 20 Yrs? Find Out

And then come the prophetic words:

It’s not arrogance, it’s a belief that somewhere down the line, people should say, great actors are copying Shah Rukh Khan instead of saying Shah Rukh Khan is copying great actors.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)

Public Face vs Private Space

Over the years though Shah Rukh has been more than accommodating to let the media access all aspects of his life, including a documentary titled The Inner World of Shah Rukh Khan, which candidly follows the star in his daily life. SRK has also constantly been protective about the privacy of his family and still is.

When accused by Sharma of misbehaving with the press for writing about his private life, SRK responds:

Just because I am an actor, because I come on the big screen, because thousands of people come to watch me, it does not give anyone a right to write about my mother, father, brother, sister or pet. They are not in films. It’s an occupational hazard, I know and it’s not going to change. But I still believe it’s a little personalized. Why are you saying that my wife is like this just because I am in films. I would not like to be party to it.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)

On Playing Negative and Glorifying Evil

After films like Baadshah, Darr and Anjaam, SRK had sort of made himself an easy target for this holier-than-thou question:

Aren’t you glorifying murder, victimization, torture through your films, Mr Khan?

Surprisingly, Shah Rukh seems slightly rattled by the question, doesn’t find an easy answer, but tackles it with his now trademark wit.

It would be glorifying if I got away with it in those films. I get beaten up so badly in these films that I now call myself the most ‘hit’ actor in the industry. Everyone has hit me, so much so that even my heroines have started beating me. I don’t think it’s been glorified.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)

It’s probably the discomfort from questions like this and some self-introspection that finally led the actor to switch over to playing a full-time romantic.

Shah Rukh Khan with his kids Aryan and Suhana (Photo courtesy: Twitter)
Shah Rukh Khan with his kids Aryan and Suhana (Photo courtesy: Twitter)
I don’t have kids, but my logic is, 10 years from now, if I have a boy or girl, I should be able to proudly show them that your father has done this film. My kid shouldn’t have to hide his face and go to school because Shah Rukh Khan is his father.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)

And finally, SRK is grilled about his attempt to buy the Filmfare award for Best Actor. Yes, Shah Rukh did actually walk into the Filmfare office and offer the editor money in return for the award. But instead of letting this become a ‘scoop’ for the press, the actor revealed it himself in public at the awards show. Here’s how he philosophically puts it on Sharma’s show:

When any man has a desire, he becomes cheap. I was desperate to get the best actor award, because I felt I deserved it, objectively, I believed I should get it this year. So I went to the editor of the film magazine and told him that I am a very cheap guy, I really want this award. If you take money for giving awards, I am ready to pay you for it. But he told me it’s not how you get awards here. If our readers find you deserving they will fill in the forms and vote for you. So, when I finally won the award, then I publicly apologised to Mr Khalid Mohamed of Filmfare at the award function.
Shah Rukh Khan, Actor (Aap Ki Adalat, 1994)

Ace photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha, who was the judge on this particular episode of Aap Ki Adalat read out his verdict on SRK as:

It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.

Well, most journalists and fans may agree that Shah Rukh Khan did take that bit of advice to heart. You could accuse the biggest superstar in the world (as he was recently tagged by the British press) of many things, but not being nice is definitely not one of them.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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