My interactions with King Khan in 29 years of his career
My first interaction with Shah Rukh Khan was on the sets of the film Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa when he was shooting for the Kundan Shah and Vikram Mehrotra film. I went to do what we used to call a shooting report in those days and my boss Prem Panicker had assigned me the job then. I was around 19 then.
Khan had been having this fight with the media back then and he and the gossip press had banned each other. But I was a newspaper reporter/freelancer/retainer who did not have a press card back then in 1992. And when I introduced myself to Shah, her asked me for my press card. Fortunately, the producer Vikram Mehrotra stepped in and introduced me and I spoke to him for the first time at the Kamalistan Studios, Andheri East in Mumbai. My good friend the talented lad working with Filmfare - Jitesh Pillai had come a day later and I missed meeting him then.
A few months later, I landed up on the sets of Darr in Lonavala a few kilometres from Mumbai. Yash Chopra was shooting for the film with a Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shiv Kumar Sharma composed Ang se Ang Lagana… with Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kher and Tanvi Azmi and many others. Sunny Deol came in the evening to the location and chatted with us journos. He had also, like SRK, been avoiding the fanzines and the gossip press. He picked up his poison from the aerated drinks – he apparently never drinks alcohol – and started chatting. SRK was still off media. I got a picture with SRK then, but one of my friends took it and never returned it as she was a huge fan of SRK and I never had a copy.
Later SRK and I often had phone interactions via SMS and calls. Spoke a lot during Devdas. One incident that I can recollect was when he chatted with me how he felt about Devdas after having a special screening of Devdas for legend Dilip Kumar who had also played one version of Devdas much earlier. We had discussed instances of when he was hurt when he did a train sequence in Devdas and later when Devdas made it to Cannes. “I know your headline would be Shah Rukh Cannes” he chuckled over SMS back then.
Before that, SRK met me when he launched www.SRKworld.com – a website backed by B4U to chronicle everything he did. SRK was very skeptical about me. I had done a story on the Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai Vs Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani phenomenon and felt that I was anti-him. “But Karan (Johar) told me that you are a good guy and I should speak to you and we spoke about Duplicate.
He was kind enough to ‘take me for a ride’ from an event in a city hotel to an interview he was doing on a business channel and dropped me close to my office. I can never forget those street kids who came to the signals and were so cheerful seeing him and he was kind enough to speak to those little ones.
He even gave me the award for the Best Film Journalist from the All India Filmgoers Award organised by the late Ravi Sharma who diligently did the award ceremony every year in early 2000s.
We met many times later at the airport, during interviews and even celebrating his birthday at Mannat when he gave me an interview saying, “Abhi baki channels gussa ho jaayenge.” I was at NDTV back then.
My last physical interaction with SRK was when I did a series called the “Rise and Rise of SRK” on Zoom which I was heading back then in 2008. It’s been 13 years and I have not had a one on one with SRK.
Waiting to meet you soon, Shah.