This week's blog is dedicated to the very first love of my life, whose looks and charm defined the minimum requirements that all my future crushes had to fulfill, whose wit and confidence is enviable and who entered his 50th year yesterday - the King of Hearts, Shah Rukh Khan!
My infatuation with SRK dates back to when I was a 4 year old, and my favorite songs to perform in front of doting relatives were "Ye Kali Kali Aankhein" and "Jati hun Main, Jaldi Hai Kya". I am told that I used to cry every time SRK was beaten up by a villain in a movie, and that used to happen a lot. Like many kids that age, I tried to contort my face into having dimples. Growing up, I tended to crush on guys with dimples. And sure, there was a phase in which I claimed that Aamir was my favorite Khan because he made <air quotes> sensible <air quotes> movies. But eventually I realized that it's important to be true to yourself, and proudly accept that you love seemingly <air quotes> senseless <air quotes> movies such as Om Shanti Om, Chennai Express and Happy New Year, sometimes only because they star SRK. Oh, and Happy New year is absolutely hilarious.
As I skimmed through all TV channels looking desperately for a good SRK movie to watch on his birthday, I thought about my favorite movies of his, the ones I could watch any time, from any point of the story, any number of times. They do not include some of his more celebrated performances such as Baazigar, Darr (I don't remember watching them, and some SRK fan clubs would disown me for that), Dil To Pagal Hai, or Kal Ho Na Ho. But they entertain you, and I guess that's what SRK is all about! So here are my favorite 9, do watch them if you haven't yet, they will leave you feeling great!
This movie was inspired by a lot of Hollywood movies, Nick of Time, Rush Hour, If Looks Could Kill,Mr Nice Guy, The Mask. A comedy about a detective called Baadshah, who foils an assassination attempt at a Chief Minister, using gadgetry like sunglasses through which you can see through clothes or shoes that allow you to walk on walls, this movie was a kid's paradise, especially with the song "Main to hun pagal", and SRK's antics in it. "Wo Ladki Jo" and "Hum to Deewane" were other great songs. Abhijeet had given voice to SRK in all songs in the movie, as was the case in most movies at the time, and I truly believe that it was one of the better actor-singer combinations in Bollywood.
This was the story of Rahul (surprise, surprise!) , who kissed his boss's ass to no end, and managed his multiple extra-marital affairs in order to earn more, only to fall for one of the boss's girlfriends. Frankly, it was a pretty ordinary story, but still a nice entertainer. The Abhijeet-SRK magic was to be found here too (Main Koi Aisa Geet, Bas Itna Sa Khwab, Jaata Hai Tu Kahan), as was the SRK-Juhi chemistry. I know I am going to hurt a lot of sentiments when I say this, but I truly believe that these two had a much better timing and chemistry than SRK-Kajol.
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani
This one had SRK and Juhi play two competitive, TRP-hungry reporters who stumble upon the story of a man sentenced to death for killing a politician who had raped his daughter, and try to help him, going against the nexus of politicians and media houses. Though the plot seems serious, the movie had a generous amount of comedy and romance, and some fun songs. The debut production of Khan,Juhi and Aziz Mirza's production company, it was actually a flop at the box office.
You would think that casting the two most beautiful people of Bollywood as siblings, and casting them opposite Priya Gill and Chandrachur Singh would be a big mistake. But this flick went on to prove that what matters more is a good story and strong performances. SRK as a Goan gang leader was a big departure from his usual characters, and his effortless performance in this one proved his mettle as an actor. Again, I am in love with the music of this movie, and am beginning to think that Anu Malik composed really beautiful songs if they were for an SRK movie.
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
Even though I would hardly ever admit it, I do like DDLJ, regressive as I find some aspects of it. Whether it was him playing soccer (was it? or rugby? or who cares?) in the rain , or wooing Kajol in Ruk Ja Ae Dil, helping Himani Shivpuri select a saree, or doing chores in the house of the wedding, SRK had a screen presence that other actors could only aspire to have.
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na
Now this is one sweet movie everyone must watch, SRK-fan or not! Shah Rukh played the mouth-organ-playing, navy-cap-wearing, Sunil who keeps trying to tamper his band's lead singer's attempts to woo Anna, the female singer of the band. The movie also had Ashutosh Gowariker in a small role, and you also see the famous Rustam Paori of Munnabhai fame. There was also a wonderfully choreographed song inspired by Boney M's Rasputin. The best part of the movie, though, was that Sunil doesn't get the girl in the end. But as the Don (you have to watch the movie to know) says, life goes on.
Main Hoon Na
Farah Khan's directorial debut had something for everyone: rickshaw-fight scenes for the kids, 70's songs for the parents, a sexy Sushmita Sen for the guys, and a never-been-cuter Shah Rukh Khan for the girls. Some of the college stereotypes, such as the forgetful Principal or the spit-spraying professor, were spot on! The scene where Zayed gifts his mom locks of his hair, or the one in which he enters the library for the first time, or the ones in which Shahrukh serenaded Sushmita were simple comical situations executed to perfection. And for many more scenes like these, MHN gets full marks!
Chak De India
I seriously doubt if there has been made a better sports movie in Bollywood. In the 153 minutes of this movie, it touched upon regional differences among players, the class difference between cricket and hockey, the disdain with which women sportspersons are treated by the sports committees, the ego issues of senior players, the woes of married female players and the haunting past of an ostracized coach. SRK did an impeccable job as Kabir Khan. Even though he was the star of the movie, the rest of the cast held its own and the result was a sports-oriented movie and not a star-oriented movie. Finally, the McDonalds scene always lightens up my day.
Every time I see this movie, I discover something new to think about. There is a lot to like about this movie. The tussle between the two main leads over Kaveri Amma. The modern girl trying to provide primary education at grassroot level. The Indian origin NASA scientist who slowly adapts to the lifestyle of a small Indian village. The mature love story which doesn't tie the characters down, but allows them to follow their own passions. The admission, that India is not the greatest country in the world. The portrayal of the problems of the country without blaming either the people or the government. Because in the end, it is our country and our people. Apart from these things, the movie boasts of SRK's finest performance, in which the thinking Mohan Bhargav had completely displaced the dimpled star we look for in every movie of his.
A brilliant actor, a smart businessman, a witty star , Shahrukh Khan is rightly called the King of Bollywood. Here's wishing him a great life ahead and hoping we see a lot more of him in the future!