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Shah Rukh Khan Birthday: 5 Reasons Why He Deserves To Be Called ‘King Khan’

Happy Birthday Shah Rukh Khan: Here's why he is 'King Khan'.

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As cliché as it may sound, I’d like to believe that there are only two kinds of people in our country– those who love Shah Rukh Khan and those who don’t. I, for one, belong to the former category. Having grown up watching his movies, grooving to the tunes of 'Chhaiya Chhaiya' and being smitten by the romantic, dimpled-smile, open-armed Raj’s and Rahul’s on screen, Shah Rukh has been an integral part of my childhood, just like any 90s kid. 

But, over the years, shedding my starry-eyed rose-tinted fan glasses, I have come to terms with the fact that, as an actor, Shah Rukh has his limitations. And this isn't just my admission, but even Shah Rukh himself has acknowledged that he is an ordinary actor.

So, then the natural question that comes to anyone’s mind is, how has he managed to not only captivate the hearts of Indian audiences, but gather a fandom transcending international boundaries?

The answer lies in the fact that Shah Rukh’s stardom was never completely based on his ability to act. It’s as much as his onscreen presence as is his offscreen persona that deemed him the status of ‘King Khan’.

Here are 5 reasons apart from his acting skills, that contributed to the phenomenon Shah Rukh is. Check it out:

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Generosity and Belief in Giving Back to Society:

Over the years Shah Rukh has been quietly engaged in various charity work. After tragically losing both his parents to cancer, he has been passionately involved in helping cancer patients and has funded cancer wing in Mumbai’s Nanavati hospital and even donated his team’s entire earnings from the IPL 7 for cancer patients. 

He established the Meer Foundation, an organization that works to enable and empower acid victim survivors and has been closely working with the Make a Wish Foundation for years. 

Happy Birthday Shah Rukh Khan: Here's why he is 'King Khan'.

Shah Rukh with the acid attack victims at his foundation

(Photo Courtesy: Meer Foundation)

In 2011, he received the prestigious Pyramide con Marni award at the UNESCO Awards and then in 2018, he was felicitated with the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum for his outstanding charity work. 

A Champion for Women’s Rights

Shah Rukh has always been vocal about the need to have a more equal society, especially in terms of gender. He was one of the first actors in Bollywood to have the name of his female co-stars before his name in the rolling credits. It may not seem like a groundbreaking change, but it’s an attempt to shift the male-centric discourse of Bollywood to a more level playing field.

Moreover, he has taken a stance against the gender pay parity in the industry and emphasised the need to close this gap. He said, "It's a male-dominated industry. You can't shirk it away or ignore it. I would love it to be different. There should be no disparity. A male actor and a female actor should get the same fees - why is it different, I don't know.”

The Inspiring Journey From an Outsider to Industry’s 'Baadshah'

Coming from a lower middle class family in Delhi and having lost his father at an early age of 15, and then his mother at 26, Shah Rukh had a rather difficult life. But despite the loss and the setbacks, he never let the situations take control over him.

With no ‘conventional hero-type looks’, industry backing or connections, Shah Rukh moved to Bombay, hoping to make a name for himself. I feel that Shah Rukh manifested his whole life in the Yess Boss song 'Chand Taare'.

Jo bhi chaahun woh main paaun

Zindagi mein jeet jaaun

Bas itna sa khwab hai

Happy Birthday Shah Rukh Khan: Here's why he is 'King Khan'.

I’d also like to believe that it wasn’t just about his desire to be famous, it was his conviction, commitment to the art and hard work that has led him to such soaring heights. 

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An Icon of Secularism and Tolerance

Shah Rukh, the son of a freedom fighter, was always taught the importance of freedom and living together in harmony. Over the years, he has carried the lessons of secularism with him and has staunchly believed in creating a society that not only tolerates, but celebrates diversity.

Happy Birthday Shah Rukh Khan: Here's why he is 'King Khan'.
As a practicing Muslim, Shah Rukh has followed the ideals of Islam, but he has also celebrated Hindu festivals with the same enthusiasm and respect. He has always encouraged his children to learn about different religions and respect them equally. 

Due to his religious identity and his stance against increasing intolerance, he has been subjected to hate comments, vilification and at multiple occasions, has even been asked to prove his commitment to India. Despite the attacks, Shah Rukh’s belief in the secular fabric of the country has never flailed. 

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Unmatched Wit and Intelligence

Every time I think I may be getting over the SRK charm, all it takes is a peak at one of his talks, and I go right back to being in awe of his charming wit. The way he articulates his thoughts, and holds his audience, is a quality that not just me, but many admire. 

His intelligence is not just limited to being an actor or performer, but extends beyond his craft. He has on several occasions been invited to deliver lectures at prestigious universities such as Oxford, Yale, IIM Bangalore, and Edinburgh. 

Happy Birthday Shah Rukh Khan: Here's why he is 'King Khan'.

Shah Rukh receiving his honorary degree from The University of Edinburgh

(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

It’s his awareness as a social and political being, a parent, and as an avid reader of books, that has earned him several national and international accolades including 5 honorary doctorate degrees, Global Diversity Award in UK, Padma Shri, and France’s Legion of Honor.

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