AIB and SRK: Podcast Report! 5 Interesting Things!

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.

Image result for madame tussauds shahrukh khan

(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.

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13 thoughts on “AIB and SRK: Podcast Report! 5 Interesting Things!

  1. I think you are right that whatever we see is him acting. However, he had genuine fun and told more truths than usual and this is as close as we’ll ever see. He always says that in real life he’s quiet and boring. So this is his “I’m entertaining friends” self. He LOVES that these guys get his humor. Did you ever see the small bit of him at YouTube Fanfest in India? That’s when I think he really saw how much their humor was like his. (If you haven’t seen it,find it!! He basically meant to take Suhana and her friends to their seats and causes a ruckus!)

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    • I just watched it! I think my favorite part wasn’t when he was on stage, but the cell phone video of when he dropped off Suhana. Because you get to see him say good-bye to her just like any other Dad, give her a kiss, tell her to call when she was ready to be picked up and be safe. And, as always, Suhana looked complete unimpressed and bored just like any other teenage girl would be with her dopey Dad who needs to just leave so she can be with her friends already!

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  2. I also watched this and just loved it. Right at the beginning, when Shah Rukh asks, “Did you really think I was going to call you for FIFA?” and doubles over with laughter–I think that’s genuine, and I think the interplay between the AIB guys and Shah Rukh was just great. But I think both Molly and you are right–this is a public persona of his. I think it is as close as we can get to the “real” person.

    Also, AIB isn’t exactly non-famous. They’re aren’t in the same league as Shah Rukh, of course, but they do have followers on Twitter and their YouTube channels, and they sell out live shows and appearances. They were unknowns when they wrote the script for the Filmfare awards they discuss in this podcast, but they became national news with the roast of Ranveer and Arjun (mostly because of the jokes about Karan and his sexuality).

    Last, I keep noticing, in both the interviews leading up to Raees and in those leading up to Dear Zindagi, how often Shah Rukh talks about Fan. In this podcast he’s joking about it, both in comparing the AIB roast to Fan, and in joking about giving a great performance but winning no awards. The frequency with which he’s mentioned that Fan didn’t (as he would say) “find love” in the audiences I think indicates how hurt and sad he is about that movie.

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    • Going back to his discussion of collections, I think the detailed collection data for Fan must have been really really bad. Not just the general figures and estimates that we got, but the theater by theater and show by show break down. Because it would have to be something remarkable like that for Shahrukh to feel so hurt about it.

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        • It’s an interesting situation. I think SRK’s performance in Fan was brilliant — beyond brilliant. But, the movie was so creepy that I never want to see it again.

          Can a movie be great even if it’s too uncomfortable for people to enjoy watching it?

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          • Exactly my reaction to Fan, too. I realized it had a lot to say and that SRK’s performance was great, but the CGI and the plot freaked me out.

            And to your question, absolutely! I always think of Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda, and others that deal with incredibly brutal topics.

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  3. “Fan” is that odd kid from high school that you can’t get out of your mind. And then you meet him thirty years later and he’s so interesting, and so attractive that you kick yourself for not hanging out more with him when he was fifteen. Unappreciated now, but it will be remembered as one of his very best works.

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    • Oh I this is true! And I really hope, just like that odd kid was appreciated by the one teacher who helped him get into U of C or MIT, Fan is appreciated now by enough people who count that Maneesh Sharma gets to make another movie. I really want to see what he will do next!

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  4. I think this was probably the best Indian celebrity interviews I’ve ever seen (extremely qualified because most interviews are in Hindi and not-subtitled). How’s that for hyperbole? And I’m not even a super fan like you. I completely see what you’re saying with the putting on the public persona thing, but I also think that he is genuinely having fun and his really scathing wit comes through in hilarious ways (in his teasing of the AIB guys, his comments on the press, his fans, the politics, etc.)

    I hope the AIB guys continue to do these kind of interviews, especially in the casual set-up in the celebrity homes. It’s good to add some variety to the English-language interview circuit. I do enjoy KWK but it’s entirely artificial with only moments of pure comedy or truth/insight. Masand’s roundtables are sometimes very interesting but I find that he too often tries to steer them into gossipy topics when it should be more about their craft and serious topics in the industry. Also, too much overpraising of each other in those setups. Anupama Chopra cracks me up. She honestly has the most nonsensical reactions to films and her hero worship of people like SRK definitely neuters her criticisms in odd ways.

    You know what interview style/content I liked the best? The Look Who’s Talking with Niranjan series. He’s a Karan protege of some kind, I forget, but I really liked his interviews, especially his ones with Ranveer and Anushka.

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    • I should check those out! The “Look Whose Talking” ones. Similar to podcasts, interviews are things that it is just hard for me to watch. Because I can read at work and on my commute, but not listen/watch stuff. And in my limited listening/watching time at home, I tend to try to cram in as many films as possible.

      So I appreciate you nice people sort of curating them for me! And telling me “this is one you really need to check out”.

      On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 9:18 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • Aren’t they great? Glad you found them, too! They’re somehow very accessible for non-desi fans and most of the interviewees come across as more genuine and down-to-earth.

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