Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Q. Who is the actual Shah Rukh Khan, an actor, a businessman, a father or a husband?

A. Even I don’t know who the actual Shah Rukh is as because I spend most of my time portraying different characters. Most of the time we play such characters who are much superior from any point of view. But there is one common factor in each of the character I play and that factor is emotion. It’s impossible to depict a true sketch of a character without proper emotion.

But, when I stay at home I show my true emotions as a father and a husband. And I don’t know how much truth I can maintain while talking about my role of a father outside my home.

Q. Where do you find yourself at the best of your professional graph, as a host or as an actor?

A. Whether it’s in acting or hosting a show, success stays with me for very short period of time. I feel reaching height only when I make my cameraman or director astonished with the best of my performance. I feel really happy when all those shots reach the remote areas of the country and people feel them from the core of their hearts.

Q. What did your teachers think about when you were in school?

A. I used to be very mischievous in school but teachers always forgave me seeing the beautiful dimples. That’s how my smile was famously known as the Satan’s smile. Despite being so naughty I was the monitor of my class because I always topped in the class. Reading less was enough for me to bag best numbers. I had interest in everything other than learning.

Q. Any memorable incident of those days?

A. I still can remember that my few friends, including me, were doing masti because of which all of those friends were suspended from the school. My absence from the school on that very day saved me from suspension. The five of us were the best buddies in school. We later on decided to beg pardon from the principal. All my friends were very jealous of me as I was not suspended. I agreed on going with them to the principal and told them that everything would be alright. We went to meet the principal. He was quite friendly with me and that day also he started talking to me very generously which my friends could not accept. All of a sudden they started revealing my tomfooleries one after the other. The aftermath was very obvious. Along with my friends, the principal suspended me also. Still I can remember all those four friends.

Q. With your KBC you offered people an amount of two crores and the amount has reached to five crores with your on going show Paanchvi Pass, what was your first income?

A. If I am not wrong then my first income was just fifty rupees. There was Sri Ram centre beside my home. Even Film Fare Awards ceremonies were held at the centre. Once there was the concert of Ghulam Ali Sahab at that centre. I volunteered in the show and earned fifty bucks for that. I took my friends to visit Taj Mahal with that amount.

Q. What do excite your children most?

A. They feel excitement in all those things that excites me. They are all very excited with what their father does.

Q. What do you think of education?

A. All throughout my life I have believed that there is nothing more important than education. But the same education sometimes brings in tension and creates lot of problems. Today people stress more on becoming first than learning something. When I hear the cut off marks for colleges now-a-days, I get traumatised thinking that was I a student at this time, I would never have reached college though I passed my tenth with 92%. I think about how to make today generation realizes to go ahead despite having all the pressures from education and job. I want an environment where children themselves wish to go to school. I would request all the schools not to create pressure on children for education.


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Is the Indian Premier League changing cricket from a sport to a business venture? No, says Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan, with his snazzy new hairstyle. His captain Sourav Ganguly agrees.

CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai caught up with two Knights for this exclusive interview.

Rajdeep Sardesai (to Sourav Ganguly): Some believe IPL has brought in corporatisation of cricket, others say it’s brought out the darker side of the game. We’ve seen when the CEO of Bangalore Royal Challengers was sacked, there were questions about the captain Rahul Dravid as well with Vijay Mallya making certain comments. Does this corporate side of the game trouble you as a cricketer or do you just see big money benefiting the game?

Sourav Ganguly: Of course it will benefit the game. Money benefits everyone, so it will help the game as well. About Vijay Mallya, I think the point of view varies from owner to owner. It’ll be unfair for me to say from the outside whether he is right or wrong.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You are being diplomatic. Rahul Dravid is a great friend of yours. What if Vijay Mallya were to tell Rahul, ‘I don’t want you as a captain.’ Would you like that as a cricketer?

Sourav Ganguly: I’ve been in the situation of not being wanted as a captain (laughs). I haven’t liked it so I am sure Rahul won’t like it either.

Rajdeep Sardesai (to Shah Rukh Khan): As an owner, do you feel you own these cricketers or do you feel they are a part of your team and therefore you can’t sack them if they don’t perform in a couple of games?

Shah Rukh Khan: No, not at all. I am very emotionally attached to each one of my team members. I know how it feels to not succeed. I have played sports in my younger days and I still play. I know the heart and the mind of a sportsman. We cannot generalise this as corporate influx into Indian cricket because, to be very honest, I am hardly a corporate. I don’t even know how corporates work. So may be I am the wrong guy to be talking to.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Are you saying, Shah Rukh, that you have put in $79.5 mn in this venture and yet, this is not a business for you?

Shah Rukh Khan: No, I don’t know even one number of what’s happening in my company and I don’t want to know. I just want to make sure this team is very happy, there’s no sadness in this team, no sacking etc. I can’t do it.

Rajdeep Sardesai: So you are saying even if the Kolkata Knight Riders don’t reach the finals of the IPL, Sourav Ganguly stays the captain? Right?

Shah Rukh Khan: Not reaching and winning is not an option. I don’t even think like that. But Sourav Ganguly will be the captain of this team till he is 106 years old.

Rajdeep Sardesai: And knowing Sourav Ganguly, he’ll still want to play cricket and will still want to make a comeback and will perhaps still have a Greg Chappell stopping him.

Shah Rukh Khan: I know just one thing: Sourav never goes away. We just close our eyes to him for a while and when we open them, he’s back!

Watch SRK here:


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However, before the Kolkata Knight Riders’ owner left the city for Mumbai (after Tuesday’s thrilling win over the Delhi DareDevils), he spoke to The Telegraph for around 15 minutes.

The following are excerpts

Whether Tuesday night’s victory could be looked upon as the Knight Riders’ most important so far in the IPL

I think every win is crucial… It’s important… Every defeat too will become crucial… We’ll get better by the time the last-four stage is reached.

The bowlers consistently scripting superb performances

Yes, indeed… They’ve been saying that Twenty20 is a game for batsmen, but look at what our bowlers have been doing… My children (Aryan, Suhana) didn’t come because they had school, but they’d called to say Shoaib (Akhtar) would destory the Delhi Daredevils… He did… Such performances (four for 11 in three overs) help bind the team better.

His first words to Shoaib after the last wicket had been taken

Nothing much… That he’d done it… He’s making up for lost time… After what he has gone through, it would’ve been enough if he’d just played the match… Fact is he got four wickets and was the Man-of-the-Match too… I hope the performance does Shoaib good and does the people who believe in him good… Shoaib has the best bunch around him, in the team and outside… John, (co-owners) Juhi and Jay Mehta, my wife Gauri… We can help him to get rightness in life and I’m haappy he heeded my advice and actually apologised to the Pakistan Cricket Board… Shoaib joined the team late, but is the most accepted.

The enormous confidence he has in his team

Look, I’m a believer and you can’t shake my belief… If you have to dream, then why hold yourself back? So, believe that you’ll be the champion… The Knight Riders have been showing a lot of character.

Knight Riders being smart in the field with a capital S

I’m not saying we’re the best team in the tournament, but we’re certainly the best fielding unit… John (Buchanan, coach) and the others have worked hard to step up the fielding.

Whether he’d been able to follow the Knight Riders’ sterling show in Hyderabad on Sunday

Of course… I was shooting for Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain?… We broke off for an hour-and-a-half to watch the Knight Riders bat… Saw Sourav (Ganguly) lead from the front.
His amazing relationship with the fans of the Knight Riders

I don’t behave like a star… I don’t show off… A lot of people tell me that my stardom will finish (early) because I’m such a normal guy… I don’t agree, for I think being that alone will extend this stardom… I’m not acting when I’m with the team or at the Eden… That’s me… It’s when I’m acting, that I’m Don or some other character… I’ve developed a bond with the fans and they’re respecting the Knight Riders by turning out in such huge numbers… In thousands, really, at the Eden. My way of thanking them is to bow after every match.

Not having been able to perform at the Eden

I don’t need to perform… The team itself is special (and draws thousands)… When we win the IPL, we’ll come to the Eden and perform!

The shout of “party” as he entered his team’s dressing room after the victory

Win or lose, we’ve been partying after the matches at the Eden… We had a party even after we lost to the Mumbai Indians… After John, I’m the eldest and being in that position, I wouldn’t ever like to give the younger players the impression that we’re down… That’s why the loss to Mumbai made no difference. Even if we’d lost to the Delhi DareDevils, the party would’ve been on.

Finally, the secret behind being able to smoothly slip in and out of different roles

(Grins) It’s about focusing… What you’re doing at any point in time has to be the most important thing in the world for you… Just that and nothing else… (After a pause) Rani (Mukherjee) was to have come to the match, but I didn’t bring her along as she had a shoot on Wednesday… I knew she’d get tired… I didn’t want her to lose focus…

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Amid the blood and the darkness of the Jaipur blasts, Eden stood out tonight — a Pakistani was the hero for 70,000 wildly-cheering Indians, showing how far sports can take people from the politics of hate.

Minutes after handing Shoaib Akhtar the golden helmet for winning the Kolkata Knight Riders a do-or-die match, team owner Shah Rukh Khan was hanging from his shoulders. It was the moment of the match — a jubilant SRK wouldn’t let go of the “younger brother” even as he tried to climb his broad structure.

In the stands, the crowd was erupting. For the first time, someone had taken the field at Eden Gardens who could match the popularity of King Khan himself. Shoaib had his “home crowd” going berserk with just his third ball, which got rid of Delhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag. Thereafter, every delivery hurled down by Shoaib was preceded by a thunderous and co-ordinated applause, right from his run-up from the High Court End to the ball thudding in the keeper’s gloves.

By the time the Rawalpindi — or should it be Eden now? — Express dismissed Gautam Gambhir, the entire stadium was doing the Dard-e-disco with Shah Rukh, who was standing by the ropes beside the team’s dugout. He might have been removing two of India’s best batsmen, but at the Eden on Tuesday, Shoaib was a Kolkata Knight Rider and not a Pakistani pacer.

In Jaipur, the blasts that killed 60 were blamed on a “foreign hand”. Although no one pointed a finger at Pakistan, it is the norm for each country to blame the other for any violence on its soil. By the time news came in, the match had already kicked off at the Eden.

Shah Rukh had dreamt of Shoaib playing the first IPL match and getting a hat-trick from his first three deliveries. That didn’t happen. Eight matches later, though, the Pakistani bowler made a dream debut in the tournament — picking up four top-order wickets for a measly 11 runs. The win keeps the Knight Riders in the hunt for the semi-final.

Being his superstitious self, Shah Rukh was in and out of the dressing room below the Club House. He would watch the game from within and every time Shoaib delivered, he would rush out for a quick jig with the KKR support staff. And then back inside again, hoping for another scalp.

The Shoaib effect was quite a contrast to the rather dull first inning. If in the match against Bangalore Royal Challengers last Thursday, SRK had taken it upon himself to rouse the crowds for the last 18 balls, against the Delhi Daredevils he tried to egg his batsmen in the middle to rise to the occasion.

Not that it had much effect, with Hussey, Shukla, Saha and Taibu struggling to tonk the McGraths and Maharoofs around the park.

The Knight Riders boss looked relaxed, though, cheering every boundary with his trademark Statue of Liberty pose — pumping his clenched fist in the air. Friends Arjun and Meher Jessia Rampal and wife Gauri were by his side but kids Aryan and Suhana had to miss out because of school.

As soon as Laxmi Ratan Shukla castled the last Delhi batsman Mahesh, he snatched his cap from the umpire and sprinted straight to the dugout. Before he could reach the ropes, Shah Rukh was there giving the all-rounder a huge hug. But the warmest and longest hug was reserved for Shoaib. Then, the team, their cheerleaders and Khan did the now-famous victory lap around the Eden.

Later, the Knight Riders’ owner briefly spoke to The Telegraph.

Shah Rukh, incidentally, will be back in Mumbai early on Wednesday to continue with his TV show shoots and prepare for a new film.

The following are excerpts from the one-on-one:

The following are excerpts

On the Knight Riders’ superb win on Tuesday

(Laughs) We’ve been having some tough games and they’re making the team tougher! At the end of the match, John (Buchanan, coach) asked ‘how did we do it?’ Indeed… We bowled beautifully and fielded so well… The two run outs made the difference.

Having got very emotional

Because the boys played so well and because the Eden crowd has been supporting us in such a big way… That’s why I bow to the crowd after each match… It’s my way of thanking them…

His remarkable connect with the fans here

They probably like me because I’m humble… At the Eden, I’m Shah Rukh Khan… I’m not putting on an act.

MoM Shoaib Akhtar’s performance

I’d been very disappointed when Shoaib wasn’t allowed to play till last week… He’d been our first buy at the February 20 IPL auction and was probably the first buy for any team… I don’t want to get into the rules but I’d been extremely disappointed… I’d been very keen to have a photograph taken at the Eden with everybody in it… Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Shoaib… That didn’t work out…

His dream of Shoaib taking three wickets in his first over remaining unfulfilled

But I amended that to three in his first three… Shoaib, in fact, did better… Four in the first three! As I’ve said, I’m very happy as he’s become the most liked player around… People would say he’s a budtameez and so on, but he’s not that… He’s shown what he’s capable of.

Whether Shoaib’s comeback script would match anything from the world of films

Reality is always different…

Shoaib opening with Ishant Sharma

(Smiles) That’s one dream which has been realised… I wanted them to bowl together… That has happened at the Eden.

Finally, whether captain Sourav Ganguly should again be considered for the ODIs

Look, my involvement with cricket starts and ends with the Knight Riders… I really don’t know much about other things and wouldn’t like to comment.

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Its four in the afternoon and Shah Rukh Khan is on the sets of Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain? The clock is running. The audiences are in their seats and minutes before “Action,” SRK is playing basketball with the five kids from the show.

Siddharth Basu walks in, with some last- minute instructions for the bacchas, who listen intently.

Shortly after, the group takes their places under the lights. An hour later, they break shoot and we head to SRK’s make-up room.

He tucks into his dabba from home. In between morsels of lunch (at 5 in the evening) he talks about his show, its low ratings, Amitabh Bachchan’s digs and more. Read on.

Do you miss KBC?
I don’t get emotionally attached to my work. I do it to the best of my capability and then, I move on. I am not into nostalgia.

You seem to be enjoying Paanchvi Pass more…
Yes, I am. I like this format. KBC was too restrictive. After a while, it was taxing to make it entertaining. Paanchvi Pass is fun but we don’t shoot more than two episodes a day because the kids get tired. Internationally, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader was much bigger than Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

You already have your first millionaire on the show!
Yes, a lady has won a crore on the show. Two other guys reached that amount but walked away with 50 lakh.

The questions are hard, no?
You and I may find it hard but the kids know the answers. I get about 60 per cent of the answers on the show right but when I go home and ask the questions to my son Aryan, he gets 80 per cent of them right. And there is a reference point, you know where the questions are coming from — class one to class five, so one can prepare oneself.

Amitabh has commented on the low ratings of Paanchvi Pass. Comment.
Yes, I heard about the blog and later, I read it. Mr Bachchan is a huge superstar and normally he is quite reticent and you don’t get to know the views of such people.

It’s nice that he’s blogging now and one gets to know his thoughts and his views on one’s work. But I did not understand the graph on his blog. I don’t understand graphs. I don’t think most people do. I don’t understand TAM, FAM and MAM. I don’t keep track of these technical things.

Have you ever thought of blogging?
No, for three reasons. One, when I type, I do so in caps and on the net, that’s like screaming. Two, because when I write, I write very long copy. And three, I am a very busy man, I don’t have time to write long blogs… also, my colleagues say that they blog because the media writes a lot of things and they want to put their version out there.

So, in short, you end up doing the journalist’s job. In my mind, it’s very clear I am an actor and not a reporter, so I will do my job, and I will let them do theirs. If they write something that’s wrong, I’ll abuse that person and say they got their facts wrong. If they get it right, then I’ll say ‘great, they represented the facts well’.

Your reaction to comparisons between KBC and PP?
I don’t know why comparisons should be drawn between my shows and shows done by other stars. I don’t compare myself to others’ shows. I will compare my ratings to the ratings of my last show. And if Paanchvi Pass has not done well, I accept responsibility.

I’ll take 60 per cent of the blame. If I take credit for the success of my films and my shows, I also accept the brickbats when things go wrong. I don’t need anyone to tell me that my show is not doing well. I am well aware of the facts.

Any theories on why Paanchvi Pass hasn’t got the desired TRPs?
Yes. I don’t think that it’s possible to get the ratings that the first KBC got, or even what the popular saas-bahu soaps were getting at one time. Firstly, because at the time, there weren’t so many channels. Secondly, the IPL has bitten into a large chunk of the audiences.

The other day, I saw Gauri’s mom watching the match with some of her friends, and I thought, ‘That’s sweet, they are watching it because Kolkata is playing.’ But after a few days, I saw them watching the match again, they had all gathered specifically to see the match and my team wasn’t even playing. And these are not the usual cricket fans.

Even Gauri is now going to see all our matches, even the ones that I cannot go to because of my other commitments. Before this, she used to hate cricket and she would never even watch a match at home. The T20 format has clicked. It’s no longer just a game, it has become a social event.

Your thoughts on barbs about low TRPs?
If someone says that my show is a flop, I will work harder. If someone says my show is a hit, I will still work harder, so it doesn’t matter what anyone says. I will continue to work like I always do.

And finally, do you think the ratings of Paanchvi Pass will pick up after IPL ends?
Absolutely. It will pick up for sure. I will take a break shortly and then come back from my holiday and shoot more episodes. Things will have changed by then. If not, we will work harder and ensure they do.

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Always a gracious winner, the Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan, headed towards the Bangalore Royal Challengers’ dressing room at the Eden.

That was around 1.25am on Friday.

Shah Rukh knocked to offer much needed commiserations, but only found a couple of rather startled attendants feasting on the leftovers.

“Let’s chat here,” Shah Rukh told The Telegraph and, about an hour after his team had won the battle on the field, he took control of the Royal Challengers’ dressing room.

A complete victory, really.

For the next 20-odd minutes, Shah Rukh (accompanied by son Aryan, who could turn out to be an amazing footballer) spoke about the Knight Riders having put a stop to their losing run in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

It was past 1.45am when Shah Rukh finished and, on the way out, picked up a banana. Of course, he didn’t forget to ask “guys, anybody else interested?”

The following are excerpts from the one-on-one:

His top emotion after the five-run win over the (Vijay Mallya-owned) Royal Challengers

More than feeling relieved, I’m feeling bad that the boys suffered four defeats on the trot…. We could’ve had four wins instead of three in the first seven matches. I’m feeling bad because we’ve had our run of ill luck.… Chris Gayle got injured and couldn’t play a single match…. Then, we should’ve had Shoaib Akhtar from the start. These things haven’t helped. We’re clear about not playing somebody for gains in the short term and getting him injured in the process. It’s sad that what was planned by John (Buchanan, coach), Jeet (Banerjee, associate) and Joy (Bhattacharjya, team director), by way of fielding players, didn’t work out. It’s the run of bad luck which cost us one of the matches…. Probably the one against the Mumbai Indians or the one versus Kings XI Punjab.

Whether the four defeats left him depressed…

Not depressed, I’m never depressed. But, yes, I did feel bad for the boys.… I treat them as my kids and my response had been the way I’d respond if my kids (Aryan, Suhana) didn’t win a race or something.

Having been rather restrained during the match, except towards the end…

(Grins) I was indeed very tired, yaar.… I’d been shooting for my TV show till 6.30 in the morning (Thursday)…. I then took one of the earlier flights because I wanted to spend some time with the team. At this point, believe me, I’m absolutely exhausted.

The thrust of his interaction with the Sourav Gangulys…

It wasn’t a pep talk…. Don’t think I can give that.… I don’t have a role in the planning, that’s taken care of by John and (assistant coach) Matthew Mott.… The Knight Riders’ support staff is just fantastic.… If I said anything to the players in the early days, it would’ve seemed as if the owner in me was speaking…. Today, that stage has passed and when I say anything now, it’s as if I’m talking like a team member…. One needs time to come together.… Initially, they must’ve been suspicious of me…. Wary of me…. I’ve won their trust by actually being a part of the team.… I wish I could practise with them as well…. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that next year.… I want the wins as much as the players themselves and, like them, don’t want the losses…. An owner of a team would like a win for different reasons, but my reasons are the same as theirs…. I’m happy that I’ve been able to win the team’s confidence.… My wife (Gauri) has been able to win that confidence too…. (Co-owners) Juhi and Jay (Mehta) have been able to win that confidence as well….

The message he gave his team…

That we should play like our first match and play it like our last match.… To show the world and ourselves that we could take a hit and still get up and hit back…. My father used to say the opposition wants to win as much as you do, so don’t think you’re the only one fighting…. The opponents, too, fight.… I believe the one who can take the harder hit is the one who is stronger…. We’ve taken the hardest hit and it’s time to come back stronger.

His one-on-one with Shoaib…

I told him to do something to the opposition.… He said he’ll do just that! Shoaib also promised me that even if he plays two matches in this year’s IPL, everybody would remember those matches…. He needs to acclimatise and needs to be fully fit.

Whether he’d been confident about the team defending 129…

The experts said it was a good score, but the experts have been saying a lot of things a lot of times…. I don’t think this (Twenty20) game has anything to do with the experts, this game is run by passion.… Defending or not defending that score was a different matter, but I liked the body language when the boys started the second session.… I’d seen them the same way in Bangalore (during the April 18 IPL opener)…. Unfortunately, the Royal Challengers had to face the worst times both times! I say unfortunate because I love Rahul (Dravid) and Anil (Kumble) and the others.… I’ve known them for years, done Pepsi shoots together…. I’m good friends with them and they’ve come home…. (After a pause) Even if we hadn’t won, the body language suggested the coming together of heart and soul…. The mind had been together, we needed the heart and soul to be together (after four defeats on the trot).…

MoM Sourav’s spell (3-0-7-1)…

It was awesome.… Players like him need to be given breathing space…. If he doesn’t do well in one match then the question is ‘what are you doing about Ganguly?’.… You can’t write off players like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav and some others whose names I’ve missed out…. Also, we shouldn’t be praising one performance of theirs…. After all, they’re expected to perform… They’re meant to win matches… It’s not about winning or losing as much as it is about the desire to play together and trying to get results…. It may not happen this year, but next year…. However, I’d like this team to be remembered for its ideology. That’s important.

At the half-way stage in the IPL, the marks he’d give the Knight Riders on a scale of 10…

We’ll win this championship.… I wake up in the morning thinking I’m the best, when I know I’m not.… I’m not the best, but I still believe that I am…. If I don’t believe that, then I don’t even become good enough.… I think the team wakes up with the thought that it can win the championship…. Inshallah, it will.… If we don’t, we may not have been good enough on a particular day…. May not have had the right breaks.… But we’ve got to wake up with that belief…. Right now, I do believe the Knight Riders will win the championship.

Regularly sending text messages to his players…

(Laughs) I think I’ve got SMS diarrhoea…. Some probably don’t understand the messages, but how else do I explain things to 18 and 19-year-olds…. I’ve lived life a little more than them.… I’ve lost in life, but have gained a lot too.… My experience will probably sound a bit alien to an 18-year-old…. So, I send Rudyard Kipling’s verses…. I send them Abraham Lincoln’s prayer for one of his son’s.… I send them some of the things my father used to tell me.… I want to pass on to my kids what my father would tell me.…

Having had to scrap the stage performance he’d planned for Thursday…

Look, I’m through with trying to put up a show (on a match day).… I’ll come down to the Eden Gardens one day, after getting everybody’s permission, and put up a show…. It won’t happen in this IPL because there are restrictions on time for the kind of show I want to put up.… Only between 6.55 and 7.05 pm or only during the break.…

Whether the King of Good Times, Mallya, had congratulated him…

We’re friends outside the IPL…. He was a very good host when we played in Bangalore and I’ll be speaking to him.

Finally, if the Trinamul demonstrators actually had a word with him when they blocked his Eden-headed convoy…

No. People can make claims, and they keep doing so, but nobody spoke to me.

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What Drives SRK??

Enough of cricket. Are you aware that Rakhi Sawant has challenged you in the item act?
In an item act? (Laughs) Well Rakhi did her first film with us, Main Hoon Na. I have a highest regard for her personality and I wish her all the best. At this stage, I think it would be really strange for Rakhi to challenge me and for me to accept it…I wish her success and am sure she will win the item act.

The sky seems to be the limit. A Shah Rukh Khan wax statue is to be installed in France’s Grevin Wax Museum. You are the only Indian after Mahatma Gandhi to have a statue there…
I think it is a great honour. I have already been honoured with the highest civilian honour by the French government. It’s an honour for the films I have done. It’s the Indian economy and Indian films that are reaching out. I simply happen to be riding on that vehicle — sometimes the package starts looking nice because the content is good. I am lucky.

That’s modesty, isn’t it?
With all humility I truly believe that it is the essence of India and Indian cinema that is reaching further. I am very glad I was born in this time of acting and have made a kind of an impact. I have been to France for Veer-Zaara and saw how the people who came to watch were not just Indians. This is a really good sign.

Is there is no end to Shah Rukh Khan rediscovering himself?
I was always like this and I am like that. People say I have a great business mind but I say no. Some people say that I am an intelligent person but I say no. I always have great belief when I wake up in the morning. And that’s where the energy comes from.

Preity Zinta wants Kolkata and Mohali to play in the IPL finals…
I wish her the best. She is confident that she will reach the finals but I will not make tall claims like that. Honestly, on behalf of my team, I would like to say that we hope to play cricket that everybody cherishes and in that process we reach the finals.

Tell us something about your love for Kolkata…
As a sporting city it is the best. People out here have a passion. The city has a history. When I start talking I end up with Subhash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray.

I am acting with Rani Mukerji, Kajol and Abhijeet and Kumar Sanu are singing for me. So, Bengal is there but we tend to overlook it. When you understand it you realize there is a huge pool of talent somewhere in the water of Hooghly. And this works for me.

When was the first time you watched a cricket match?
I went to watch an India-Pakistan match at Ferozsha Kotla. I have seen some matches in Mumbai and then I watched the T20 finals in South Africa. I had promised my son I would take him to World Cup Soccer but he fell sick in France. Then I took him to the T20 finals.

What drives SRK?
To me, young people are an inspiration. I have reached a stage of comfort now. I am always getting offers to be in some social activity or the other but if there is anything socially relevant I want to do, I want to do it in the field of sports because it makes a lot of difference.

I had problems in childhood, lost my parents but succeeded because of the audience, God’s wishes and because I follow certain simple tenets. I want every youngster in the country and around the globe to know that whatever you do you should try and be the best. You want to be an actor be Amitabh Bachchan, you want to be a sportsperson be Roger Federer.

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