“Maybe… you’ll fall in love with me all over again.” – Ernst Hemingway, A Farewell To Arms
And indeed we did, again and again, whenever he came on screen and spread his arms, the unmatched King of Romance, who ruled our hearts. Once an average looking young man, who scared everyone with his menacing acts in Darr and Anjaam, he sauntered into our hearts with that dimpled smile, and stayed. He is the king, he is the “Badshah”, he is, Shahrukh Khan, aka SRK.
The innocent Fauji, who made us Deewana
Shahrukh’s innings in front of the camera started on television, with the series Fauji, which has now garnered cult status. It’s hard to believe that this superstar played the lead role of the shy young cadet Abhimanyu Rai. SRK soon bagged a role in another TV series Circus, but as they say, he was meant for a greater destiny, a world where we wanted to see his real talent.
A young Shahrukh Khan, laden with the grief of his mother’s death, entered into mainstream cinema, if only to lessen the pain. His debut was as a second lead, in the movie Deewana, where he starred alongside Rishi Kapoor and Divya Bharti. A superhit, it garnered Khan a Best Debut Filmfare, and rocket-launched him into the world of Bollywood.
The Boy Next Door who turned Bad
Khan continued to charm audience with his boy next door acts, in movies to come. Chamatkar, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, were some of the movies where he played similar guy next door roles. However, the potential of this young lad was still underutilized, his hunger to achieve a notch still unfathomable. In the coming years, we were to see this charm being hunted down by the menacing stare of a ferocious villain.
Shahrukh played the role of an obsessive diseased lover in Darr, and that’s when the realization dawned on film makers and watchers alike, this guy was not just any debut actor, he was here to stay, and stay for long. This performance earned him critical acclaim and many awards and nominations, along with many mainstream offers, though now in a negative role.
The dimpled smile that brought a smile and blush was now a nightmarish stutter that could turn blood cold. His roles as a villain, continued with critical acclaim in Anjaam and Baazigar, where in the latter he was paired with Kajol, with whom he was about to begin a new professional relationship of success and stardom.
Dilwale Awards Le Gaye, Aur Humara Dil Bhi
In 1995, the world saw the emerge of the greatest romantic hero. Yashraj, revamped and relaunched this oozing bundle of talent, in their first of a kind NRI romantic venture, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The rest, is history. DDLJ broke all records and became a blockbuster not only in India, but also abroad.
Shahrukh Khan, the lover, the evergreen king of romance, was launched like a cupid’s arrow, into our hearts. Raj Malhotra became every girl’s dream, and the love story became cult classic. DDLJ ran for over 25 years in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir, becoming the longest running movie ever in the history of Indian Cinema.
Khan received numerous awards for his portrayal of the carefree Casanova who ultimately falls head over heels for a simple girl with simple and straight views. Khan continued his romantic image with hits like Yes Boss and Pardes, which were not successful commercially, but brought him accolades. He tasted success again with Yashraj’s musical romance Dil To Pagal Hai, and then again in Karan Johar’s directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Khan’s romantic character Rahul, made him the dream lover of every girl of the country, and his stardom started to spread worldwide.
Khan was now established as a successful romantic hero, who could live and breathe love, with his unique style, and that “oh-so-sexy” dimpled smile that had us clutching hearts.
Down goes the King
Khan saw a small setback in the year 1999, when Hrithik Roshan was launched in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, the success of which ate up all the revenue for Khan’s production Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. He starred in Kamal Hassan’s Hey Ram, in a crucial but small role.
Another one of his ambitious projects, Asoka, bombed badly at the box office, and he also received major flak for taking too much liberty in trying to portray the king’s life, ruining it altogether as a result. To add to his woes, he was diagnosed with prolapsed disc, which could only be cured through surgery. This king of hearts and superstar, was burdened all of a sudden from all sides. Deteriorating health, unsuccessful movies, and multiple losses, it seemed that the star had lived his time, and set. But did it?
The life of this star is truly rich and studded. He did fade away, for a while though, but he came back, with a true blue bang. Read on, in our next part.