It takes a special kind of charm and charisma to rule everyone’s hearts for decades together. And there’s only one personality who continues to achieve it effortlessly: The Shah Rukh Khan! Rightly credited as the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh has been reigning Hindi cinema for 31 years. From being an unapologetic misfit in the film industry to ruling it, SRK has garnered the love and adulation of millions from the country as well as globally. With an insatiable appetite for success, he is the epitome of self-belief.
He is truly a people’s star. With the various roles he has aced, people actually see him as the characters he’s portrayed. “He is our husband, our boyfriend, our 3 AM friend, our college buddy, our teacher, our guru, our parent, the guy you can always turn to for advice, and a shoulder to cry on,” says an admirer. Every fan feels a sense of belonging towards Shah Rukh Khan, he means something to all of us, and therein lies the secret to his mega-stardom.
He surprised his fans by dropping a Jawan promo late last night indicating that the blockbuster movie is available to stream on Netflix. And that’s not all, he also treated his audience by dropping the trailer for his third most-anticipated film from this year with Rajkumar Hirani – Dunki.
On his 58th birthday today, we look at some of the reasons why the whole world is so gaga over him.
A Delhi Boy Living The American Dream
Shah Rukh’s journey did not begin as a fairy tale. He was an underdog who came from a humble, middle-class Delhi family and went on to become the global celebrity that he is today. Thousands come to Mumbai every day dreaming as he did, all those years ago and he showed us that it could be done. He achieved beyond what he dreamed and turned his fantasy into his reality. Right from Khan’s big-screen debut with Deewana in 1992, the actor tasted box-office success almost immediately and became the undisputed leader of the Hindi film industry.
Given the web of nepotism, Bollywood was entwined in, the world saw a common man carve a niche for himself solely on his merits. He reflects the ambition of a commoner who wants to make it big. Shah Rukh’s rags-to-riches story is an example of how to “make it” to the top without any film lineage or connections to prop him up. Seated at the Marine Drive, Khan announced that he would own the city one day and that he did. When someone amongst the masses makes their way to stardom with nothing but sheer hard work, they are bound to be loved by all.
His Iconic Love Story
Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan‘s love story is one for the legend. Taylor Swift’s lyrics “We were just kids when we fell in love” from Love Story fit in perfectly here. SRK, who is an alumnus of Hansraj College in Delhi fell in love with Gauri from Lady Shri Ram College when she was studying there. He is inherently shy and Gauri too isn’t as talkative. They crossed paths at a party and were eventually infatuated with one another. He tried proposing to Gauri, who turned him down the first time, as her parents weren’t in favour of the inter-faith marriage.
She decided that she needed a break from the relationship and then left for Mumbai, without telling him. He sold his camera to get some money and left for Mumbai with his friends. He was determined to win her back no matter what. SRK remembered how much she loved swimming and decided to visit different beaches in Mumbai to look for her. He and his friends took a cab to get to all the beaches in the city until his money ran out. In the end, right before giving up, he ended up finding her at the last beach and won her back.
They then had a low-key marriage and the rest is history. The actor was not as financially stable back then, but he promised his wife that one day he would fulfil all her wishes, and Gauri being a loving partner stood by his side. And after all these years, King Khan is amongst the richest actors in the world. Shah Rukh and Gauri are the ideal power couple whose marriage endured the test of time. And with 3 lovely children working towards their bright future, they are truly blessed with the best family. Now that’s an iconic love story and it’s no surprise that King Khan is hailed as the King of Romance.
Being Vulnerable On Screen
The actor has never shied away from depicting fragility and vulnerability on screen. His portrayals of the fragile lover, the fragile hero, the fragile husband, the fragile Muslim, and even the fragile villain are all noteworthy. The men he plays are rarely at ease with themselves and those around them. The insecurities that bother his screen characters have evolved through the progress of his career spanning three decades. They are often emotionally destitute, unable to feel fully loved, and unwilling to let go of their need to find love.
Khan is also South Asia’s romantic superhero – his films are the standard that all desi romances attempt to match up to. The love Khan’s characters seek is not only the traditional love of a woman, they desperately seek the love and approval of fathers, friends, and fellow countrymen. The men he plays feel deeply, are constantly vulnerable to the gaze of the women, and shed many, many tears. Film writers often comment on how Shah Rukh can cry better than most actors in the world. These teary-eyed displays of humanity have only endeared him to countless fans.
His Interviews > His Films
Beyond the movies, SRK’s television interviews and public lectures have amplified his humour and humility. A big part of his fanbase obsesses over his interviews more than his films. These media conversations mark the actor’s best performance till date: his version of the unapologetic middle-class superstar. It makes the viewers see him as wise, witty, successful, and wildly sexy. Khan has crafted a deliciously arrogant yet poised public persona, forever enchanting us with moments of self-disclosure followed by self-deprecating intellect and bitter sarcasm.
Brazen, self-aware, and hilarious, there’s never a dull moment when Shah Rukh is speaking. He goes from offering sound advice on dealing with financial insecurities and troubled friendships to cracking hilarious jokes about aging in the film industry and his own sexuality. In all his quotes and jokes about himself and the world, there is always the hint of a man who works hard, cares deeply for his craft and enjoys laughing at himself. What’s not to love?
A True Family Man
You can literally see the love this man has for his family overflowing from his way of being. He is a true-blue family man who does his job sincerely and never misses a chance to share moments with his family in spite of such a hectic schedule. Shah Rukh Khan’s social media is filled with pictures of his wife and children with super adorable, doting, and wise messages penned by him. He loves spending time with his little ones while dishing out valuable life lessons and teaching them humility.
Papa Khan shares a special bond with his only daughter and with Suhana stepping into the world of acting, he is standing by her side like a rock as a strong guiding force. He also shared his acting journal with her. Their family went through the most adverse times when his eldest son Aryan was jailed by the NCB but he endlessly fought to get him out. All his fans stood in support. Shah Rukh’s goofy videos and pictures with AbRam on social media are a fan-favourite.
Besides family, he always treats everyone around him with respect and dignity, whether you are a woman, a co-star, a servant, or a stranger. Every person who has ever interacted with him, at any given level, will have the same thing to say – he is extremely warm, makes you feel utterly comfortable and important, and is super hospitable. Now that’s the mark of a true gentleman.
A Man Of Culture
The mega-star does not confine himself to one religion or discriminate. He believes in all of them and passes on the same values to his children. Whether it is Diwali, Eid, Janmashtami, or any other festive season, the actor celebrates each and every occasion with his family with an open heart and that is why he is loved by the fans beyond the geographical borders of the country. In interviews and pictures, many a time, it is spotted that SRK carries Lord Ganesha’s idol as well as a holy Quran at his place, for which he received a lot of appreciation from netizens. This only goes to show the love and adulation he has for the country.
Connect With The Fans
Shah Rukh’s stardom is truly unfathomable. More often than not, there’s a sea of fans waiting outside his posh Mannat residence in Bandra with the hope of catching a glimpse of the superstar. This happens every year on his birthday at midnight and keeping up with the tradition, SRK comes out on his balcony to wave at them. He posed in his signature pose and blew kisses at his fans as they celebrated his birthday. Khan wrote on X, “It’s unbelievable that so many of u come & wish me late at night. I am but a mere actor. Nothing makes me happier, than, the fact that I can entertain u a bit. I live in a dream of your love. Thank u for allowing me to entertain you all. C u in the morning on the screen & off it.”
Not only has he ruled the hearts of millions with his romantic roles and exceptional acting skills, but he has also won them over with his quick wit and humor. Shah Rukh’s interactions with his fans during his ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions’ on X (formerly Twitter) have become legendary, showcasing a witty and hilarious side of him that adds to his magnetic personality. Called the #AskSRK series, these interactions are a bridge that connects the superstar with his dedicated fan following.
Ab kya karoon beauty with brains type hoon ha ha ha https://t.co/DRANqOFY3Y— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) September 27, 2023
Just like the Pathaan dialogue between Shah Rukh and Salman Khan goes, “Humein hi karna padega bhai, desh ka savaal hai bacchon pe nahi chhod sakte,” only these superstars can do what they do. And nobody can replace SRK. He truly is the last of the stars. We are forever fans who are in love with his work and adore him for the gentleman that he is. Happiest Birthday King, we look forward to being entertained by you for years ahead ❤️