This week’s Unlikely Hero of the Week is the amazing Shah Rukh Khan.
Okay, it’s slightly ridiculous for me to call Shah Rukh an unlikely hero since he is without a doubt the most famous movie star in the entire world. But seeing as most of the people reading this are probably American or Western, you might not have heard of him. The fact that very few people over here think of SRK as a household name is why I’m counting him as “unlikely”.
DUDES! You’re missing out!!!
Shah Rukh Khan is one of the most talented individuals I’ve ever seen, but I suspect a lot of people in the West don’t give him a second thought because he is a Bollywood star. And let’s face it, Bollywood has a certain reputation. A fun, sparkly, song and dance, over-the-top reputation, but not the sort of thing you hand out Oscars for.
Shah Rukh stands above all that. And while yes, a lot of the films that have made him famous are typical Bollywood, they are also seriously entertaining. The first film I saw Shah Rukh in was Chak De India, a (fictitious) film about the Indian national women’s field hockey team. He plays the down on his luck coach who pulls the team together. Great film. But then I went on to see the films he made with his best buddy, Karan Johar: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho, and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna among others. I was blown away. Not to mention the awesomeness that is Swades, Devdas, Don, Om Shanti Om, Veer-Zaara, One Two Ka Four, Ashoka, Darr, and MY FAVORITE MOVIE EVER MADE EVER ANYWHERE Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and I could go on for a long time. Because I think at last count SRK has made 68 films and I have seen 45 of them. And most of the people reading this probably haven’t seen any of them. (P.S. Netflix has a lot of them! Go put them in your Queue!)
So instead of talking about his films, let me tell you a bit about SRK the man.
Shah Rukh was born in Delhi in 1965. He is Muslim and his father was an activist from the Peshawar area of Pakistan who moved to India before the partition. Both of Shah Rukh’s parents died while he was still very young, which has had a profound effect on him. He says himself that he has never quite recovered from those losses. One biographer speculated that he has a deep psychological need to be loved by the world to make up for the loss of the love of his parents. Deep stuff.
Unlike a lot of other Bollywood actors, he studied theater in school before going to Mumbai to break into films (by way of TV). He rocketed to stardom by taking risks and playing negative characters before he started to get the romantic leading man characters. He’s won so many Indian film awards that I can’t even count them all.
More interesting in my humble opinion as a lover of all things romantic is his relationship with is wife, Gauri, and his family. As SRK tells it, Gauri is the only woman he’s ever loved, and he’s gone on record as saying she’s the first woman he ever kissed and also the only woman he’s ever slept with. Their courtship is the stuff of romance novels too. Gauri is Hindu and upper class and at first her parents were dead-set against the idea of her marrying a working class Muslim boy. But SRK persisted. So much so that at one point Gauri felt smothered and ran off with her friends to Mumbai to get away from him. He spent every last cent he had and then some to go to Mumbai to find her. On his last day there, just as he was running out of money and would have to go home, he found her! And she knew that this was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. *sigh*
They have two children, Aryan and Suhana, and SRK is always tweeting about them and all of their accomplishments and how much he loves him. He loves making movies, but if he had to choose he would choose his family.
But it’s kind of impossible to talk about how awesome SRK is. You really need to see it for yourself. That being said….
This is, in my opinion, the coolest thing anyone has ever done in a movie. Dancing on a train. And yes, he did severely injure his neck doing it and had to have surgery. He now has a couple of platinum vertebrae in his neck (I think I got that right)
This song is from the movie Om Shanti Om. And yes, it’s supposed to be completely ridiculous and over the top. It’s making fun of “item numbers” in Bollywood films. But oh my gosh, he is so hot!
But if you only have time to watch one of the YouTube videos I’m posting in this post WATCH THIS! My Name is Khan is one of the best films SRK, or maybe even all of India, has ever made.
And finally, because I can’t resist, here is the trailer to my favorite movie ever, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. It’s the story of a dopey middle-aged man, Surrinder, who marries a young, grieving woman, Taani, as her father’s last wish. He has fallen in love with her at first sight but she is indifferent to him. When Taani joins a dance class Surrinder disguises himself as “Raj” and accidentally ends up as her dance partner in the class. But when Taani begins to fall in love with “Raj”, Surrinder stands to lose everything he’s ever wanted.
And I have to include this pic too, which SRK took himself of him and his family and posted via Twitter. Also, you can follow him at @iamsrk