|Shah Rukh Khan in Dear Zindagi|
Shah Rukh Khan's penchant for acting knows no bounds. He became the nation's heartthrob in the 1990s thanks to his remarkable acting performances in films like Darr, Baazigar, Anjaam, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Karan Arjun, and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Since then he has only grown in stature as an actor. In fact, his roots themselves are so strong and deep-set in acting, that we can understand how he has been able to deliver one powerful performance after the other, no matter what the genre of the film is. Tracing back to the humble Ramleela performed in his colony in Delhi, where SRK had first tried his hand at acting, is where the journey started. Then he further honed his skills at Barry John’s Theatre acting school. In fact, his acting abilities, have a lot to do with his theatre background. That explains how seamlessly he fits into any role and makes it his. His first foray into acting were with the TV shows Fauji and Circus, where he left an everlasting mark. Soon, with Deewana, his first feature film, he got considerable recognition as well that only set the stage for more to come.
With Baazigar, Darr and Anjaam, SRK made decisions other actors would shy away from. He played the anti-hero with great aplomb, making you love the wrong guy in the film, from the word go. While some felt he shouldn’t have played such negative characters, it was his belief in his talent that made him nail the performances. The world was ready for Shah Rukh Khan, but Shah Rukh Khan had always been ready for the world.
These roles defined SRK’s image in the early 90s until Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge changed everything. In between, SRK also played boy-next-door characters. Who can forget the young SRK of Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa oozing with nervous energy? Towards the late ‘90s, SRK ended up with more serious roles and SRK was certainly up to the challenge. During this phase, Dil Se was by far the biggest challenge for SRK and not merely because the role was a demanding one. For starters, SRK didn’t know Tamil while Mani Ratnam didn’t speak Hindi. It certainly must have been a daunting task but the actor managed to pull it off with aplomb. SRK's performance in the film remains one of the best of his career.
A hallmark of SRK’s career has been his eagerness to take up bigger and newer challenges as an actor. Although, his detractors claim it otherwise, SRK has been one of the most versatile actors of Hindi cinema. SRK himself summed it up candidly in an interview: “I am an actor. I can be a part of Mani Ratnam's world. I can sit with fight masters and talk their language. I can sit with the head of states of the world's biggest countries and chat with them over a formal dinner. I can sit down with Mr. Tim Cook and talk for 2 hours. And I can sit with AbRam's nanny and really enjoy myself. I can become who you are. And films are like that.” SRK is the thinking man's actor and its evident in the memorable acting performances he has delivered over the years. Even when SRK does out and out commercial films like Happy New Year and Om Shanti Om, he offers us much more than an average performer could offer. Even his staunchest critics vouch for his commitment and daring as a actor.
In his recent outing Dear Zindagi, SRK plays the role of an uber-cool counselor named Jehangir Khan aka Jug. No other star in his position would’ve agreed to take the backseat as he did with relative newcomers in this film. SRK's charm is indeed perennial. It’s another of those roles that only SRK can pull off. SRK’s detractors might complain that why has he suddenly started doing character oriented roles, seem to have forgetten the amazing character driven parts he played earlier in Chak De! India, My Name is Khan and Swades to name a few.
|Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De! India|
Continuing to be brave in his choices, Fan deserves a special mention. People moved out of the theatre, forgetting, that it was SRK potraying both the superstar and the fan. He broke the mould of stardom. His performance deserves nothing short of a National Award for portraying both Gaurav and Aryan.
|Shah Rukh Khan as the fan and the superstar in Fan|
Next we will get to see SRK in films as diverse as Raees, wherein he plays a bootlegger, Aanand L. Rai’s untitled film wherein he will play a dwarf and Imtiaz Ali’s next rom-com set to release next year. As SRK continues his romance with cinema we would be remiss to expect anything but the best from SRK the actor. After all this self-belief in his talent, his incomparable knowledge, wit, charm and gentlemanliness in real life, will cement his position as number one for generations to come. He is, after all, a super actor and a superstar. And we firmly believe, that the best is yet to come.
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