The journey is more interesting than the destination. Ashwini Deshmukh gets newer insights into Shah Rukh Khan.
Stardom is his inseparable shadow, sometimes ahead of him, sometimes behind him… but always around him. His fans are the same too. Unflinching, untiring, unwavering. Three decades and counting, the Shah Rukh Khan juggernaut refuses to slow down. His energy matches the enthusiasm of his fans, his charm continues to woo women and inspire men across the globe. His stardom intact, what motivates him now is the desire to challenge himself as an actor. Fan, Dear Zindagi, Raees and now Zero are proofs of his experiments with the craft. He revels in the journey. Each character adding to his creative catalogue, each character born out of the turmoil of incompleteness… in search of completeness. With Zero behind him, he’s now keen to take flight as Rakesh Sharma in a biopic on the famed astronaut. And rule the skies… once again.
It's been a three-decade-plus career. How much have you changed as an actor?
When I stepped foot in the industry, most journalists thought I was rude and arrogant. (Laughs) A lot like Bauaa in Zero. When I read my earlier quotes, I’m not embarrassed. But I can understand why I said them. I’ve said things like, ‘I’m not junk food, I’m tandoori chicken’. Or ‘I’ve come to rule, not to be ruled’. I wasn’t arrogant. I lacked knowledge of the craft. Over the years, I realised how little acting I actually knew. When I knew little, I said a lot of things. But now that I know more, I realise there’s so much more to know. There are few years left. I can find a billion things to do as an actor. Of course, I may not have the capability, the talent, the time or the stardom as the years go by. But there’s no dearth of wanting to improve. Now, I’m beginning work on astronaut Rakesh Sharma’s biopic.
Tell us something about it.
It’s a story about a real person. So the challenge is how I bring dignity to that person. Do I copy him? Do I mimic him? Do I just get the emotions right? Or do I play him differently with his permission? Unfortunately, we sometimes reduce acting to singing, dancing and fights. I don’t look down upon it. But I wish I’d known there was so much more. So yes as an actor I can do a lot better now.
Has the audience become more critical over the years?
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