Thanks to the nice commentators here, I was alerted that Shahrukh had just done a podcast with AIB, and it was a hoot! I watched the whole thing, in two parts, and it was very enjoyable. But most of it was in the kind of “it’s the way he said it” way, so I can’t exactly recreate it. But there were 5 interesting things that came up that I want to discuss.
First Interesting Thing: there is all the sort of meta mechanics of how this was put together. AIB started by telling a funny story of when they first met Shahrukh, at a FilmFare after party because they wrote some of the jokes. And how Shahrukh invited them back to his house and gave them a tour and was pleasant and all. And now we see them back in his house, in his den (which looks EXACTLY like the den in Fan! But in brown instead of purple), with him sitting there in casual weekend type clothes talking with them.
So, reading between the lines, all sorts of things I didn’t know! First, that of course Shahrukh and other “royalty” would interact with the “regular people” like AIB at industry events! Just like they interact with the construction crew and the back-up dancers and everyone else. A star can’t be a Star without a lot of little people working in the background. And the Star is going to be friendly with them, just like anyone is friendly with the people they work with.
Secondly, I can absolutely see why Shahrukh agreed to do this. Not because of the promotional opportunity. Shahrukh is his own promotion at just point, he doesn’t need a platform, he could just stand on a street corner and count on cell phone videos to get his word out. But this is more pleasant than standing on a street corner. You can see why he got along with these guys, Shahrukh is so good with words, of course he would rather talk to these funky non-famous folks who also work with words than with, like, Hrithik Roshan. And, I assume, he also got to do this entirely at his own convenience. They came to his house, probably waited several hours until he felt like talking to them, and he showed up in whatever random outfit he felt like wearing.
Second interesting thing: Shahrukh’s attitude in this is so relaxed. But I don’t trust it, because he showed several times during the interview how he knows about presenting himself in interviews. He joked about posing at Madame Tussauds, and not knowing if he should do his serious face or his happy face. He talked about how maybe if he acted more seriously in interviews, like Nawazuddin, he would be taken more seriously as an actor. So, knowing all of that, is he really relaxed and friendly here? Or is he just putting on another act? I don’t know, maybe it is real! It felt like he was having a good time, like he was enjoying being with people who actually got his sense of humor and could build on it.
(It really is a terrible statue)
Third interesting thing: Twitter! He says that yes, he does honestly look at all his twitter messages. Not closely, but he gets so he recognizes names. Which, by the way, is why you will notice that almost all my tweets will now have “@iamsrk” attached. I used to limit it to just really good posts that seemed like they might interest him. But heck! If he is just scrolling through looking for handles he recognizes, I need to get on that!
While on the twitter topic, he also mentions that, please, don’t send him collections data! He knows the collections data! He gets it from the office, this is his business, this is his job. I like that reminder, that Shahrukh looks at this as his business, not just as a “am I winning?” kind of horse race like the fans do. And also, if he gets this data every day and knows more than the twitter people and analysts (which he says he does), then I am thinking his attitude is probably a better indication of collections than any numbers we might see. And right now, he is pretty relaxed and happy. Heck, he is doing a podcast with AIB! Which makes me think Raees must be doing pretty darn good.
Fourth interesting thing: His career graph. He talked in general about his frustration when people try to tell him what to do, or criticize him as an actor, and so on. But what he is really talking about, is how people keep trying to turn his career into a narrative. I didn’t think about that, because I do this too. I mean, it’s what we do as media analysts. We look at long term trends and social movements and all of these things and try to predict changes in the pop culture landscape. And Shahrukh is a mountain in that landscape. But it must be awfully irritating to be sitting there reading all of us picking at him.
Oh, and by the way, SHAHRUKH!!!!! You can’t say this is your first gangster movie! I was smart enough to acknowledge it was completely different from Don, but I also remembered Ram-Jaane! Have you forgotten it?
Fifth and final interesting thing:
(paraphrasing a little) “Whenever there is a controversy, I don’t tweet or send a message or call any more. I just go straight to their house in person and take a selfie. That’s all anyone wants is a selfie. Someday if I have enough time I am going to go around and find everyone on earth who has a mouth to speak or hands to type and take a selfie with them, and then I won’t have to worry”
He says it like a joke, but he is also absolutely correct, and I think he knows it. Any controversy is just about some public figure trying to borrow his fame. And all he has to do to end it is to take a photo being friendly with them, which will give them about as much fame as they can handle. That’s what he did to prevent the MNS protests against Raees, and it worked perfectly.
Secondly, once that photo is out there, it is his security blanket. No one is going to object to anything he does if they know a photo of them being all buddy-buddy can be dug up. Shahrukh is completely correct, if he could have a photo with everyone in the world who might object to anything he did, then his life would be fixed.