Shah Rukh Khan must have been four to five years my junior at school – that is St Columba’s, when he must have been doing cartwheels on the playground during lunch break, then in between studies and cricket making up his mind on a film career and along the way receiving the school ‘Sword of honour’ for being the best student in both studies and sports. And if school folklore is to be believed he qualified for the IIT entrance exams after class 12th but refused to go for the interview.
Now imagine Shah Rukh Khan as an engineer at say Infosys instead of doing cartwheels at age 46 on the Chennai grounds after his team won this year’s IPL trophy. I would prefer him doing the latter. The man simply brings a smile on your face and makes you believe that anything is possible. He has a certain kind of spirit that cannot be contained but has to be shared for the sheer joy it brings to so many people. I can’t remember a man who has been more admired and vilified at the same time. If nothing else it takes a certain kind of talent to be in the public eye for almost more than a decade. I remember they used to once say that this is ‘the age of Satyajit Ray.’ Well it seems that the ‘age of SRK’ has dawned and stayed up there without a chance of an eclipse.
The more the man succeeds the more his detractors wail and moan. Today the MCA or the Mumbai cricket association must be counted as a body or rather an object of hate. SRK publicly apologized on the Chennai grounds and that raised his stature even further even though he had no need to do so and look at the way the MCA reacts. They are still sticking to their concocted stand.
I remember a long time back the thespian actor Dilip Kumar was put in preventive detention during the I965 Indo Pak war for no other reason than perhaps religious bigotry. Beneath the surface some of that vile, age old thinking is still at play. There are many out there who want SRK to fail spectacularly, bite the dust. But successful bollywood films end with the hero triumphing over all odds. And SRK was made for bollywood – reality imitating fiction for a change.