Shah Rukh Khan has been known to speak his mind and sticks to the stance he takes in a very borderline arrogant manner. And why not. If one has an opinion it’d rather be a strong one. At a an age where most of Bollywood would do whatever it takes to avoid expressing opinions out loud on public platforms, SRK’s outspoken attitude has often come across as a pleasant change.
From giving it back to journalists who asked why he does the same kind of roles all the time to speaking out about being targetted by right-wing leaders, the actor has always been in form. With his new release Raees painting the town red, we bring to you a few instances where SRK spoke his mind in as unabashed a manner as possible.
On journalists and of journalism: In a recent interview with a media house, Shah Rukh made his point on how Bollywood cannot speak out like Meryl Streep because the two are very different platforms. Slamming journalists for their tendency to put words out of context and twist them, SRK did not hold back with his opinion on journalists. While he ‘waits for mediapersons to get over their newly gained stardom’, he says:
Why would you say that I wish Indian actors spoke like this? Can I say I wish Indian journalists presented me like that too? Is that fair? Give me a platform where you present my point of view, not as part of the agenda you have in your storyline. I would speak — I always did, I always will.
On being part of hashtag trends: The king of standing his ground in another unabashed interview made it clear he would speak only when he feels he needs to.
There is so much noise otherwise. There are days I don’t want to add to that noise, don’t want to be a hashtag. Sometimes I need space to find out what has happened and then decide if I want to comment.I don’t want to be part of this hashtag trend.
On being a Muslim: It is not uncommon for public figures in our country to be categorized on the basis of their religion. No matter who you are, somehow to a certain part of the nation you are just a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian. Not one to take such unnecessary discrimination lying down, SRK has been known to take strong stances when asked religion-laced questions.
Whenever there is an act of violence in the name of Islam, I am called upon to air my views on it and dispel the notion that by virtue of being a Muslim, I condone such senseless brutality. I gave my son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-Indian and pan-religious) ones: Aryan and Suhana. The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can’t really escape it. I pronounce it from my epiglottis when asked by Muslims and throw the Aryan as evidence of their race when non-Muslims enquire.
I imagine this will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders and random fatwas in the future. It will also keep my two children completely confused. Sometimes, they ask me what religion they belong to and, like a good Hindi movie hero, I roll my eyes up to the sky and declare philosophically, “You are an Indian first and your religion is humanity”, or sing them an old Hindi film ditty, “Tu Hindu banega na Musalmaan banega – insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega” set to Gangnam Style.
On being a Khan: As a man known for being witty and extremely quick with his answers, his take on being a Khan is quite unmissable. Trust SRK to pick up a surname and turn it into an opportunity to make you laugh.
I am a Khan. The name itself conjures multiple images in my mind too: a strapping man riding a horse, his reckless hair flowing from beneath a turban tied firm around his head. His ruggedly handsome face marked by weathered lines and a distinctly large nose.A stereotyped extremist; no dance, no drink, no cigarette tipping off his lips, no monogamy, no blasphemy; a fair, silent face beguiling a violent fury smoldering within.
I could say I fit into each of these images: I could be a strapping six feet something – ok something minus, about three inches at least, though I don’t know much about horse-riding. A horse once galloped off with me flapping helplessly on it and I have had a “no horse-riding” clause embedded in my contracts ever since.
On the Bengaluru mass molestation: Another area Bollywood never deems important enough to be making statements on is crimes against women. With the Bengaluru molestation, this seemed to change. How could someone as sharp-tongued as SRK be expected to not be a part of such a positive change.
I tell Aryan and even AbRam never hurt a woman. If you do, I’ll behead you. And no, times have not changed. A girl is not your chhadi-buddy; show some respect.
Worry not, of course he faced flak for talking about beheading his son by some people who thought SRK was on the path to becoming a murderer.
On being a patriot: True to his form, Shah Rukh kicked off a controversy on his 50th birthday with a statement regarding India becoming intolerant. Several came out to say he belonged to Pakistan in his heart and questioned his patriotism. BJP MP Adityanath went a step ahead and compared the actor to Hafiz Saaed, Adityanath was also being true to his form.
SRK retracted his statements but made his stance clear.
Not being secular is the worst kind of crime you can do as a patriot. No one can question my patriotism.
There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighboring nation rather than my own country – this even though I am an Indian whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave my home and return to what they refer to as my “original homeland”. Of course, I politely decline each time, citing such pressing reasons as sanitation words at my house preventing me from taking the good shower that’s needed before undertaking such an extensive journey. I don’t know how long this excuse will hold though.
On US Immigration: None of us are alien to the lovely relation SRK shares with the US immigration guys who make it a point to work real hard to make it into their country. With his wit in place, the actor spoke as nicely as he could of the immigration guys at the American airport.
Whenever I start feeling too arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to the U.S. The immigration guys kick the star out of my stardom.
On surrogacy and AbRam: When Shah Rukh’s youngest AbRam was born out of surrogacy, the media an public alike took it upon themselves to raise all sorts of ridiculous questions about the chosen method of birth. Protective if his family as he has always been, SRK was quick to snub those asking such questions.
I am not overtly happy talking about him. He is my baby and nobody else’s. You can come home and see him if I allow you to come in my house. It is one of the only things that has made me uncomfortable in my career is you take on a child who is sick when he was born and make it an issue… I find it very disgraceful. I am a movie star, disgrace me but not my kids. I did not like that fact when the media spoke about the surrogacy. I hate it. They said I had sex determination test, which was rubbish. I am too educated to be indulging in this non-sense.
Here’s hoping SRK stays his unabashed self and keeps telling us why there is nothing wrong with having an opinion.