There are a large number of films where he actually is playing his own age, or close to it. But for those few where he is clearly far far distant from the character age, here are my suggestions for how to fix it. It’s not hard, I don’t know why they didn’t just right it this way to begin with!
Looking at his filmography, his age marches along with his characters more or less for the whole first half. He was a little old in the first half of Kuch Kuch, but perfect in the second. A bit old in Chalte Chalte, but then they wrote into the script all his business failures and so on which explain why he isn’t married yet. He’s too old in Devdas, but then that whole film is such a mess I don’t even care. Swades, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Chak De India, still playing more or less his own age (Veer-Zaara averages out to his own age). Once I remove all the ones that actually give a real age explanation in the plot (Chennai Express, Rab Ne Bana di Jodi) or the ones where he is playing a mature married type (Ra.One, My Name is Khan), I am left with 5 real stinkers where he is obviously terribly not the right age.
Om Shanti Om
It’s close, but no cigar. He is supposed to be playing a junior artist on the edge of a big break in the past, and a shallow young star in the present. But he is just a smidgen too old to pull off both.
Here’s how I would rewrite it. Make him a has been in the past. He has an old movie poster tacked up in his room, he had one role as a lead and then drops down to side characters. But he picks up a young friend who believes in him and believes he will rise again (Shreyas Talpade). And he meets Deepika and falls in love with her and it all plays out as before.
And then in the present, instead of a shallow young star, make him one who had a lot of promise and has now gotten lazy. He used to really act, but since he got so famous and successful he is just going through the motions.
Poof! Age gap fixed!
(Does this say “ambitious young man on the way up” or “mature man trying to keep his dreams of youth alive”?)
Jab Tak Hain Jaan
Shahrukh needs to be about 10 years older in both sections. Instead of 25 in the first half and 35 in the second, 35 in the first and 45 in the second. In the first half, make him already a veteran. He did ten years in the army and now he wants to live and enjoy life and not waste any more time.
And then in the second half, he is just running out the time until he reaches retirement, there’s an added tension and topic for Anushka’s documentary, what will he do when he is out of the army?
(He’s clearly 45. At least)
Happy New Year
Simple! Shahrukh Anupam’s partner instead of his son. He isn’t a college student returning home, he is a former security expert who’s slightly older business partner was wrongfully framed while he was out of town on another job. They lost their whole company, everything went wrong, Shahrukh was implicated as well but Anupam took full blame in order to save him from jail. Shahrukh ordered everyone else in the company to scatter ahead of the police. Shahrukh, wracked with guilt, wants to avenge Anupam. He spends years putting together his plan, and then finally tracks down the rest of the team to put it in action.
Shahrukh is embarrassed about his feelings for Deepika and runs from them not just because of the class difference, but because of the age difference, he doesn’t feel right with someone so much younger than him.
(45 year old who finds love late in life with a woman he knows is much too young for him. Makes far more sense, right?)
We just need to move him up a decade or so when he is first introduced as an adult. He’s not the bright young enforcer with big plans, he is the tired older enforcer who protects his neighborhood but is under the thumb of the same man who has been running him since he was a kid. And then he meets Mahira (the catalyst is built right in) and she snaps at him that she doesn’t want to marry a man who works for someone else, she wants someone independent. And that is what gets Shahrukh, in middle-age, to finally break free of Atul Agnihotri and strike out on his own.
After that, it all plays out as before, he becomes the top bootlegger rapidly, all powerful, happy, etc. etc. Just, starting at 35-40 instead of 25-30.
(Aging enforcer whose seen things and done things finally fighting for himself and his wife and his unborn son. Makes way more sense, right?)
Jab Harry Met Sejal
This one is tricky, because the characters are so carefully crafted. He is a young man who somehow slide into middle-age without noticing it, drifted into it. How can we add ten years onto his character without completely changing it?
Here’s the best I can come up with. We learn through an old photo in his apartment, comments from Mayank, and maybe a brief statement he gives Anushka, that Shahrukh was married. He married an older white Canadian woman, and then he got this tour guide job. He would travel for 3 months at a shot, then go home and they would have fun together. And then he came home early to discover her with another man. It would have made another man a misogynist, but it made him a masochist. He assumed he wasn’t good enough, that no woman would want him for a real relationship, so he stopped even trying.
And poof! Now Shahrukh is a tired too old 45 year old instead of a tired too old 35 year old. And he has a whole new reason to be leery of what he has found with Anushka.
(Old enough to be her father, but she refuses to let him be “fatherly” towards her and forces him to be young again. Works, right?)