SRK and Alia on Dear Zindagi

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SRK and Alia on Dear Zindagi

Published: Tue 22 Nov 2016, 4:17 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Nov 2016, 6:23 PM

Twenty-three-year-old Alia Bhatt and fifty-one-year-old Shah Rukh Khan are coming together for the first time in Gauri Shinde's slice-of-life film Dear Zindagi that releases in the UAE this weekend.  The film revolves around Alia's character who is grappling with heartbreak whereas SRK plays her shrink. Alia brings her youth and vulnerability to the movie, whereas SRK brings his stardom in a small but important role. In an interview with City Times, they discussed therapy, success and why it is stupid to be happy all the time.

What kind of wisdom or learning did you take away from each other?
Alia: In spite of being in the industry for over 25 years, there is a lot of warmth and affection in him. One would be like, 'Oh, he is Shah Rukh Khan,' but he doesn't give that vibe or baggage of being SRK on set. What I learnt from him as an actor, I will not tell anyone because I genuinely believe that's for me to know.
SRK: I have taken all her innocence and freshness from her (laughs). I truly believe that actors cannot be judged by the number of years or work that they have done. Yeah, we respect each other having known the kind of work we have done as an actor. But what you respect each other more for is the fact that we all have a different way of leading up to a scene or the amount of life that we have dealt with.
As an actor, I always believe that if I am able to imbibe some part of that experience and Alia comes with loads of experience, even at a young age... There is lot of innocence, gentleness and straightforwardness - also there is a lot of care-a-damn-attitude - I like that a lot. I am not just praising her because we are sitting together right now. In the next two years, I am going to try to imbibe whatever I have learnt from her.
Shah Rukh plays a counsellor in this film. Have you guys ever felt the need to go a therapist?
Alia: Everybody has a need to find answers to their issue. Do I need somebody to help me? Yes. Every third day maybe! At times, I am confused about something or I need somebody to fall on.  It's just that sometimes you fall upon a stranger in life and that stranger can help you through your issues. I haven't done that as yet.
But, I have a couple of people in my life with whom I can talk about whatever I want. I am a very secretive person. So I keep a lot to myself. Which is why I haven't gone for therapy.
SRK: When I was talking to Alia while doing the film and I am kind of a counsellor to her in the film, I asked her the same thing and she had these criteria for a counsellor - he should be sexy, smart and successful. Now, finally, she has found one. I am counselling her for free!

Alia, at 23, you are one of the A-listers in Bollywood. Having achieved so much of success, what are your aspirations now?
It's like how you wake up every day because you have to wake up and live that day - that's the way my movies and my life is for me. The goal is to keep doing different movies as long as people love me.
What's the easiest way to become happy in life?
SRK: The simplest is don't be sad. Easier said than done. Whenever I am being asked if I am happy, I say that I am not stupid enough to be happy.
It is a quest for immortality that when we get what we want, it is never enough.
It's like if we find pills to lose weight, I think finding a pill for happiness would outsell it anytime. There are going to be pathetic days and there are going to be days which will give you solitude and peace - grab on to those.  I think 51 good and 49 bad means that you had a great life.
3 rules of acting from SRK
SRK is arguably one of the biggest stars around - yet he is doing a small though relevant role in Dear Zindagi. How did that come about?

1) I read somewhere that, 'There are no small roles but only small actors.' I am from the theatre, I have done parts where I just walk on the stage and say, 'I have a letter for you,' and that's my role and I have rehearsed it for three months. I have really enjoyed it as much as the main role that I played on stage or films.

2)It is important for an actor to be greedy about what he can take away from an experience in films and greedy enough to give it back. It's not just a one-way treat that I am just going to take and not give.

3) It is important to do a film whether it's a cameo or a small role or a lead role. A lot of people believe there is a way I choose films. I do films that are offered to me. I know a film will find me if it was meant for me. I am very spiritual about it. I think Dear Zindagi was a film I needed to a part of, not for the sake of the film but for my sake. It is an important film for me. Am I adding to the film? No. Am I bringing stardom to the film? No. Am I bringing a lot of love because of the love that I have got in this film? Yes.
SRK on counselling
"I am very friendly with my kids. I don't think I would ever counsel them. If anyone heard me talking to my son or daughter on the phone, they would feel that I am talking to someone my age or I am their age. From a very early age, even my new one - three and a half-year-old - I spend so much time with them and do everything that they wish to or desire to and fulfil all their wishes. They have now lost all material desires. This is something that I learnt from Alia's father. He used to tell me to give everything to children and they will come to an age where they won't want anything but love from you. My kids are sorted like that. There are issues and problems they go through. At times, I get awkward with the problem that they have but at the end of the problem, my biggest advice to them is, 'Do what you feel like and if there is some trouble along the way, I will come and save you.'"
IS SRK lonely and sad?
"I am just confusing everybody through my Twitter. I was driving back once from a party and I was listening to the radio that was playing a song, and I wrote on my Twitter, Abhi Na Jao Chodkar... And everyone started responding with, 'Awww, You are so lonely, Why are you feeling sad, Can I give you a hug?' No, I wasn't feeling lonely or sad at all and I am not lonely. I was just coming back from a party and I was happy. I just like the song. People build up a lot of notions from what you write on social media depending on the person who is reading it at that time. More often than not, I write what I feel like. It is not something so internalised that I am expressing it to the world. A lot of people believe that my life is an open book because I speak so openly. Perhaps the more you meet me, the less you know me. I would never go to a counsellor. I am very shy of talking to people."

By Arti Dani

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