Shahrukh- The King Khan

Shahrukh KhanConsider yourself in Bollywood. Now look around you. What do you see? A hundred new faces... each resembling a vaguely remembered face of yesteryears... all star-sons and star daughters - wannabes from star families with acting 'in their blood', backed with just the right walk, right talk, right clothes and... the right connections! Courtesy, momma dear and papa beloved seeking to extend their fame past the...
...expiry date or wanting to bask in a belated glory.

And now look at what kind of success these wannabe - babies are aiming for! No, this face does not bring back any memories from the 'golden era'. Instead, this face has a mellow freshness that is almost contagious! Yes, this is Shah Rukh Khan for you - Bollywood's definition of a successful self-made celebrity.

Shah Rukh who joined the media bandwagon as a rookie, literally, in the television serial Fauji, has today graduated to become the Baadshah of Bollywood. But unlike any other actor before him, Shah Rukh dared to be different. He has thrown caution to the wind trusting his immense self-confidence (some call it arrogance) and his nervous energy to see him through the iconoclastic experiments and emerge a winner, every time. So where no hero had earlier succeeded in portraying a negative character, Shah Rukh went ahead and did just that. With Baazigar he forced the audience to empathize with his negativity, in Darr he was a psychotically obsessed lover while Anjaam had him as plain arrogant bad without any justification whatsoever!

Shah Rukh's versatility becomes manifest through Koyla where he played a deaf and mute person, his personal favorite Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, as a bumbling character who loses out on his love and the ambitious country lad Raju from Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman.

Then there is the landmark Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. While the filmi world was still in the 'lovers elope and marry' loop, DDLJ had Shah Rukh in a role of a youth who was the perfect blend of modern attitudes and traditional values. Raj from DDLJ shaped an entire generation of Indian youth with his perfect balance between the two worlds. This role was executed with such finesse that global Asians identified with the character. DDLJ's Raj was one of the major factors in the ultimate opening of the international markets to Indian films.

With the global outlook dominating Indian filmmaking, all Shah Rukh had to do was improvise, which he did with Dil To Pagal Hai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. These went on to become huge international hits. So did Dil Se and Pardes. And though the film was not very well received, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani showed that Shah Rukh was serious about his promise of putting back what he has earned from films. Asoka The Great continues his behind the screen involvement with filmmaking.

Last year's Mohabbatein showed yet another side of this scintillating performer. His restrained and mature performance in presence of a gang of six newcomers and a veteran like Amitabh Bachchan proved his understanding of film-dynamics. No wonder Shah Rukh is the hottest Indian actor around!

The most amazing thing about Shah Rukh however is the fact that it is not just his characters that are admired and loved. It is Shah Rukh, the person who is admired even more. For someone who landed in this world of films without any filmi connection whatsoever, Shah Rukh today is an example for every actor to emulate. A living proof that success does not need high-placed contacts or star-mothers and fathers. Be it his self-confidence or his versatile acting, his business vision or his nervous energy, Shah Rukh today inspires his viewers to give 'the Best'!