He's got movie-goers in a vice-grip with his performances and wields influence like no other Indian actor can, not only in India but across the world ...

By Blessing Johnson (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Fri 15 Apr 2005, 7:24 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:58 PM

a tribute to the fact was echoed recently by Time magazine which declared him 'The worlds biggest movie star' in terms of recognition. If you haven't already guessed, it's Shah Rukh Khan, also called the Badshah of Bollywood and King Khan in the Indian movie industry.

His presence in a movie is almost a sure-shot sign of it's success, the media even suggests that a new movie being made can either have oodles of sex or it can have Shah Rukh Khan. One could see his immense star power at the launch of the second line of perfumes, called Tiger Eyes by Jeanne Arthes of Paris, bearing his name at a hotel in Mumbai. The media and guests waited for over three hours for his arrival for the launch of the perfume, without so much as a whimper. City Times has an exclusive chat with the successful actor just before the launch of Tiger Eyes.

Can you tell us a little about the perfume you are launching? How Indianised, do you think is the perfume?

To put it in a broad sense this new perfume is going to smell a lot different. You know things have changed and times have changed. The industry has changed and they are trying to bring in new fragrances ...an absolutely new smell, the mix and ingredients used are different as is the bottling a packaging. I think over the years Jeanne Arthes has been in India and has been working with Indian actors and celebrities like Zeenat Aman, Mr Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar and have got to know the personality of the people here and now when I meet their representatives here, I find them Indian ... they are not French at all. I think they've understood a lot more about India and its culture, so I guess they must be striving to bring in a union of the smells of France and the way perfumes are made in the west and how they suit the personality and usage in the East. That's because I hear these perfumes sell a lot in Dubai, Malaysia and the eastern countries.

But don't you think people buy these perfumes because of your name attached to it?

Whatever the reason, but whenever I go to the Arab countries I do find that because of the weather, there's a different connotation to a perfume and the company is getting quite good at that.

Do you use the products you endorse?

Mostly I do. I mean, I do drink Pepsi, two of my cars are Hyundai and perfumes I definitely use because I like perfumes. Especially this, I quite like it.

Coming to films, you've come up with negative roles like Baazigar and Darr. Have you made a conscious decision not to do these kind of films?

It's not up to me to do roles, somebody has to offer it to me but then a lot of my friends who are close to me and most of my actresses who've little babies tell me not to do mean roles. Children like you to be nice in films and stuff like that.

I hate being nice all the time but if somebody offers me a negative role that is interesting enough, I'll do it.

Is that why you are doing an Amol Palekar film?

It's called Paheli, it's nice. The film makers who make parallel, or art cinema as it is commonly known are a different breed of people. So when a commercial artist like me combines with them for a product, we can only hope the 'mix' is something new and wonderful.

So are you looking forward to it?

Yes. I guess it'll go to festivals. It's a good film it has a thought. It's about the freedom of a woman making choice in the backward part of India ... the parts where education hasn't reached yet and it has a social message too. This one is about a married woman who falls in love with a ghost ... it's a different theme altogether.

You come a long way in the past fifteen years, where do you see yourself fifteen years down the line?

Well, one has really never tried to get caught in these two eternities .. yesterday and tomorrow, you know we are always worried about either yesterday or tomorrow. What I do now is good, right now I like you and you are the most important part of my life and you would be till the next five minutes when I talk to you, and then I move on. I'm in no way trying to deride your importance ... I think one needs to keep on doing this and not plan on what is not existing and not be distressed with what is gone.

You've been named by Time magazine as the 'World's biggest movie star', what's your response to it?

I think Time magazine has just been kind to me. I think their logic is on the fact that the eyeballs that see me are the most in the world, that is thanks to of course we being so populated and they rate me as the most watched actor in the world. Which is quite interesting because at some time our population has come as an advantage. But it's nice to read a credible magazine like Time say that there is an influence of my acting and my films on so many people ... and hopefully it is a good influence and even if it isn't, I just hope people just smile and have a nice time for two-and-a-half hours.

Being a top actor deprives you the little pleasures of life. Do you ever miss your middle-class upbringing?

Honestly, who wants the little things in life and as far as the pleasures, it's an assumption that I don't have little pleasure ... I've got two little pleasures at home. I get a lot of time with them whenever I go home. I mean it's an absolutely normal life and I think the life you get is the life you get to choose and the life I chose is a lot of humility, goodness and fun in the little pleasures of life. So I may have a big house, big cars, my movies are big but what I am is completely different from what I come out on screen as and I don't really miss on the little pleasures of life ... I have a great time.

What you're saying is that you have normal needs. If that's the case how come you bought property in Dubai?

I didn't buy it, it was gifted to me. I just went to see it because I had heard a lot about the Palm. I thought it was just a thing on paper and then they took me on a boat and then showed me, it was all developed and I was quite impressed. I think it's one of the most impressive structures I've seen around the world in modern times. It's very impressive for someone, in a land that's got only sand to decide and create an infrastructure and think so far to make Dubai the hub for the eastern and western worlds. It's a wonderful vision. Nakheel was quite good to me.

How's it working in Dubai?

I had stopped going to Dubai seven or eight years ago, but recently I went there for a big show and then again for a holiday for a couple of days with my kids. I think it is easily the most developing nation and city in the world today. It's a place that people should learn from. The western and especially the eastern worlds like India and other developing nations ... so much guts and so much hard work, such amazing vision to create a city and a country and trying to invite the world to their country. I think it's a fantastic culture.

And what changes have you seen now that weren't there seven years ago?

The only change I haven't seen is they keep making buildings but I've found a lot of educated people and many others heading big corporations and really wanting to bring the world over, attracting them with their infrastructure. I think that's a fantastic aspect when I go over there, earlier when we used to go there used to be only parties, but now there is a lot of literacy being utilised for the right purpose.

Are you thinking of living there ... maybe in the future?

I may do it, as you say, whenever I want the little pleasures in life.

I also understand that you're writing a book on your experiences.

I started writing a book when I was a little depressed five years ago and I thought I'll finish it but after one month I stopped being depressed, so the book has taken quite long ... when you don't want to meet anyone, you write. But it's now more or less complete and inshallah, in the next three or four months, I'll go to London and finish it there.

You've done a lot of films but which one do you rate your best, not according to the box-office collections but your performance?

The next one ... everytime.

Films are make-believe but you went through a tough experience in Colombo where there was a bomb blast during your performance. How has that experience changed you?

I went to Sri Lanka because I think of it as a part of my culture, our own sub-continent. I think we spread up till Afganisthan and a little everywhere and I know the people there, the culture, the cricketers ... I mean we are very close. One really appreciates the stuff that the country has done. It's unfortunate when a situation like this happens, specially with people like me who are going there to offer entertainment and perhaps a bit of peace and happiness. But I think forces of terrorism are a little misled — I think that is the way to describe them ... it was unfortunate. Lucky it happened in the last item, so most of the show happened. I'm glad that a lot of people saw it but I feel immensely, immensely sad that some people lost their lives. It is one of the saddest points of my career that you go to make people happy ... there were thousands and thousands of people there and it seemed that most of them were happy and suddenly in the blink of an eye someone loses their life. I wish I could go back there and meet those families. I felt really very sad and disturbed. I have the power to collect a lakh of people around me, sometimes that power can be misused by someone to hurt people. It's really sad.

You talked about your power to gather people is that why there is a lot of buzz about your joining politics?

The buzz is there always. I sneeze there is a buzz. No I'm not joining politics ... I'm not intelligent enough and I think I'm too good looking to be in politics.

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