News Round-Up: Shahrukh Report! He’s Doin’ Stuff! Although STILL Not Announcing His Next Movie

This is a nice way to come back from vacation, leaping right in to Shahrukh news. Also, Procrastinatrix! Your job! You can apply now!

Meer Foundation Goes More Public

The Meer Foundation has a new website! Shahrukh announced it like they didn’t have one before, but they did. It was just really boring and had no “contact us” links or anything. But it did technically exist. Now they have a really fancy website with good links and lots of information and a “Contact Us” part (that’s where Procrastinatrix can send in her resume).

The biggest new thing is a loooooooooooooooooong statement from Shahrukh about why he started the foundation. The previous website had no visible connection to Shahrukh at all, it was simply about the work of the foundation. Shahrukh is now owning his connection and explaining it. His explanation is nice, although still with the continual phrase of “we will empower women” which is a wee bit paternalistic. It’s a very good PR move though, it positions his whole person as caring about women and gender equality. And it gives a nice handy-dandy statement that folks can quote from when they want to explain his humanitarian work. And of course, like the best PR, it’s also the truth. Having watched Shahrukh’s career and life closely, he does seem to have a basic respect for women and belief in gender equality, even from little things like partnering with Juhi to start his business.

The biggest old thing is that they still do not want our money. Thank you very much, but they are not interested in receiving donations.

Oh, and the Meer Foundation is also not the end all-be all of Shahrukh’s charitable giving. I don’t mean the villages he’s adopted and the random donations for natural disasters, I mean organized consistant giving. He is big BIG with children’s cancer, paid for the children’s wing at Nanavati Hospital and then added on a special cancer section. Photos float up of him meeting with cancer kids off and on, and this has been going on at least since 2011 (so long before Meer Foundation was founded). I was expecting Meer to be a foundation for acid attack survivors and children with cancer, so it is a surprise that the website is only about the women, and explicitly says the foundation is only about women.

Good for you Shahrukh! There is value in promoting your work with acid attack victims, helping to change minds and prejudices that lead to the attacks, and hinder the women after the attacks. There isn’t really a hearts-and-minds value to talking about childhood cancers. It’s not like the world has to be convinced they are bad. Adding that to the website and the foundation would make Shahrukh look very good, at the cost of diluting the message of female empowerment.

Shahrukh and Aryan Do a Movie Together

Well, this is interesting! Shahrukh is dubbing for the Indian version of The Lion King live action (and now we all become immediately obsessed with getting our hands on that version). That’s a little interesting, mostly since he hasn’t done anything else in a long time. Ultimately though, this is 3 hours in a soundbooth dubbing for him, it’s not a big thing in his life like a real movie would be.

What’s far more interesting is that Aryan is dubbing for Simba. It’s cute, having the father and son together, and Shahrukh’s announcement tweet reminded us that they did the same thing years ago for The Incredibles. But Simba is a big role, it’s, like, the lead role! That’s a lot more than a few cute lines of dialogue for one of the kids in a family movie.

I could see this being an odd kind of one-off for Aryan, I assume they did the dubbing in LA anyway (that’s what they did for The Incredibles) so he just had to hop over to the studio a couple of days after classes and do the thing and forget about it. It’s cute, it’s a fun way to spend time with his Dad, and it doesn’t matter that much since it is just a voice over thing. But it would be a very odd one-off if it is never going to turn into anything else. These live action Disney movies are a big deal, and he’s got the lead role! Is it really just a fun thing to do with Dad?

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31 thoughts on “News Round-Up: Shahrukh Report! He’s Doin’ Stuff! Although STILL Not Announcing His Next Movie

  1. How do you feel about those rumors that SRK is doing a movie with Hirani? I know its just rumor mills and no one has officially confirmed anything…but it still makes me a little sick…my theory is that SRK’s PR team floated the rumor to test reactions before finalizing…and the sad part is that all blogs are responding with excitement instead of revulsion…

    https://www.pinkvilla.com/entertainment/news/are-shah-rukh-khan-and-rajkumar-hirani-coming-together-romantic-drama-find-out-454287

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    • Huh. Well, that’s a definitive break with Anupama. And, once again, a reason that Anupama should NOT be running a media platform, I can’t see how she can ever review a Hirani film honestly.

      In my own personal opinion (which has no weight or importance besides my opinion, not even enough to justify an official blog post), I don’t fully believe in Hirani’s guilt. But I do think he is a tired and repetitive director, so I am not excited about the idea of SRK working with him.

      I also don’t believe this story, not really. Based on what we know of Shahrukh from past coverage, I think he meets multiple times with a director/writer/producer before committing to a project. Hirani visiting Mannat doesn’t mean he has the greenlight for anything. And might involve a discussion that includes Shahrukh making a judgement on his guilt or innocence in the harassment accusations. But mostly, I just don’t think multiple discussions at Mannat are the same as confirming a movie is happening. Just means, for whatever reason, Shahrukh is interested in meeting with him and hearing what he has to say.

      On Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 10:34 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Yes, Twitter was fun for a change this morning! Thanks for thinking of my job prospects. Had I been able to go to Mumbai this trip, I was totally planning to drop by Red Chillies/Meer Foundation and drop off a resume, just in case. In the meantime I’m following them on social media and LinkedIn. And dabbling in Hindi on Duolingo. 😉

    I admire that the Meer Foundation seems to be mostly working through established local organizations. That is such a smart way to get fast impact while becoming an influencer in the field, rather than being arrogant and starting from scratch, making all the mistakes that new NGOs and Foundations make.

    Hah, I never thought I’d be watching the live action Lion King at all. But now I’ll be watching the Hindi version, for sure. Hoping all the rumors about Shah Rukh’s next movie are just rumors.

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    • Well, it’s my job prospects too! Once you are the chair of the Meer Foundation and working closely with Shahrukh, you can casually give him some of my script ideas.

      Same with Lion King! I haven’t seen any of the live action Disney movies, because I don’t really understand why they exist (are the cartoons no longer good enough for us?), but I really want to see SRK and Aryan voice acting opposite each other!

      On Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 11:36 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I completely agree with you about Anupama. She has NO business being a critic because of her personal connections and partying with stars. But I’m not sure what you mean by this: “And, once again, a reason that Anupama should NOT be running a media platform, I can’t see how she can ever review a Hirani film honestly.” She isn’t Pinkvilla, I didn’t think.
    Also, I don’t think Aryan dubbed in L.A. at least not fully. One of the very consistent very accurate paps (Viral perhaps) said BEFORE Shah made the announcement that Father and son were in the dubbing studio but they couldn’t get a pic. So for sure they did some of it in Mumbai.
    How are we going to get a hold of the Hindi Lion King???????

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    • Anupama was the person who acted as a spokeswoman and support for the anonymous woman who accused Hirani of sexual harassment, including inviting that woman to stay in their home. Essentially she is the outcry witness against him. I have no issues with her doing that, but if she is in a position where she might end up being an outcry witness and support for a victim of harassment at the hands of a popular director, than she shouldn’t also be in the position of reviewing that director’s films. I wouldn’t expect her to be able to be objective, how could you be? If Hirani is still working in the industry, with any actor, than Anupama is going to be in a quandary as to how to review his films. Or else will need to not review them at all, which is also bad.

      Oh, and I am going to ask at my local all Indian theater if there is any chance they will be showing the Hindi version of the Lion King. Otherwise, we can all sign up for the new Disney online platform and change the audio settings to “Hindi” once it is out streaming.

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      • Oh, I didn’t realize all that about Anupama. She gets on my last nerve anyway. I hate her pretensions about western cinema and film festivals. What she wants from Hindi film is it to be French film or edgy American film. Shah Rukh’s roast of her at the Critic’s awards was funny and in the spirit of a roast but it was really borderline mean. They say he is a great mimic in private but he rarely does it in public. I think he is finally fed up with how she used him for interviews and as a boost for her channels then didn’t really watch the movie. She completely misunderstood JHMS.

        Liked by 1 person

          • After you, or someone else, mentioned that I took a look through the Film Companion history and it doesn’t really hold up, at least for me. Kalank was the only film she gave a fair review (“there are good things and bad things”), all the other Dharma films got the usual Film Companion hatchet job.

            On Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 11:51 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • She also loved Befikre. And seeing her interviews I get the feeling that sometimes she fails to go beyond the typical Bollywood fluff and isn’t aware of the other industries. Rajeev Masand, on the other hand, has interviewed quite a few South Indian actors and is quite updated. I don’t take Anupama seriously as a critic.

            Liked by 2 people

          • My biggest problem with Anupama as a critic is that she tends to be unfairly critical to films, as does her entire website. I’m fine with her giving a good review to Befikre, I did too. But why give a bad review to Sui Dhaaga? Or Student of the Year 2?

            On Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 10:02 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Doesn’t Hirani work with her husband most of the time? She doesn’t review movies produced by her husband due to conflict of interest. She didn’t review Sanju and Ek ladki Ko dekha as well.

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        • Wow, this story really did not make as much splash as I thought!

          Back in February, Huffington Post wrote an article about a production assistant that Hirani had sexually harassed. The Chopras were standing by her, including having her live in their house. Anupama provided her emails to the article writer to show that they supported her against Hirani. They also cut off connection with Hirani films for their newest movie, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha. So Anupama went from having a conflict of interest because her husband produced his movies, to having a conflict of interest because he sexually harassed her friend.

          On Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 11:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I don’t believe in the Hirani gossip of a movie they both may do together, under the RedChillies banner. I have the feeling that he already knows what he would like doing as a movie and that the script is “work-in-progress”. He still talks with a lot of people, also has contact with writer-teams. Some days ago, the writer for the Shetty movies was at Mannat… (which doesn’t mean that his next movie will be with Rohit). He is also looking for Netflix content.
    Now he is in London (maybe to travel to LA then)…and Suhana’s graduation is around the corner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heck, maybe he was just trying to snap up the Hirani movie rights, if the Chopra’s are done with him, they could be looking to disassociate with those films which would be an opening for Red Chillies to grab them.

      On Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 3:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. How do you feel about Aryan being in Lion King vis-à-vis nepotism? It’s already being talked about. Personally I’m conflicted about this – I’m curious to see how he sounds but I know he wouldn’t be doing this if SRK wasn’t his father. I’ve always known and dreaded that the day would come when SRK would switch from one side of the nepotism debate to the other – so long he’s been the inspiration of outsiders making it big in the industry and now he’ll potentially be the ‘flagbearer of nepotism’ so to speak. Not looking forward to the drama!

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    • It’s an odd choice. Because on the one hand, if he wasn’t Shahrukh’s son he wouldn’t be doing the voice acting. But on the other hand, who would be? Would we even know their names? It’s not exactly a grand debut moment. I just looked up The Jungle Book for comparison, and it had big names for the Hindi dubbing except for the central character, who was dubbed by Jasleen Singh Chadda, whose name wasn’t even part of most of the coverage.

      If I were trying to launch Aryan as an actor, I wouldn’t do this. If he succeeds, no one will notice (because it is just dubbing) and if he fails, everyone will notice (because it is Aryan). Far better to start him with a small role in an international film, if he fails everyone will say “oh he’s just starting out” and if he does well, he will start building a resume.

      It makes more sense to me as just an extension of the SRK brand, SRK is doing The Jungle Book dubbing and thinks it would be a good touch to bring Aryan in to play his son. Same way he used Aryan in K3G or in The Incredibles, not to help Aryan’s separate career but to use him to support SRK’s career. It’s good for the film (we will all watch it out of curiosity) and good for Shahrukh (gives him lots of publicity for little work, plus builds him up as a wise fatherly type), but terrible for Aryan if he wants to be an actor. Kills his Launch Film momentum without giving him much benefit.

      Oh, and one more thing to think about, is Aryan playing “young Simba” or “older Simba”? The American film splits that into two actors, with the older actor being a big name and extremely talented and the younger actor being not much. If Aryan is just doing “young Simba” (which would also mean maximum time interacting with his father), that makes a heck of a lot more sense. Just in terms of casting someone who can handle the role.

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  6. Exactly the same day I read this news about The Lion King, I was watching some cartoon with my son. It was good, but the main female voice was done by a famous model and celebrity here in Italy, an she was TERRIBLE. She killed entire movie for me. All other voice actors were doing their best but it wasn’t enough because she was reading her part without any acting, just reading from the script with a bored voice. And now I’m nervous about Aryan doing Simba because I think dubbing is more difficult than acting, and as we already said, all eyes are on him now.

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  7. SRK and Aryan doing the dubbing makes perfect sense to me. It’s not like Disney is going to waste time auditioning actors for a Hindi dub of a movie that’s releasing in just a month. The real life narrative matches the movie narrative in the sense that the King of BW is going to voice the king of the jungle and his real son will take his rightful place in the kingdom. Bringing nepotism in this hilarious because it’s like people don’t even pay attention to the media they consume. The Lion King is about the son taking his rightful place as the next king, not a hardworking hyena or walrus taking his place! It’s like they learned a new word from Kangana and now have to repeat it everywhere to show how woke they are.

    It works out great for Disney because it gives them a lot of publicity without a lot of work or effort. People who were going to watch in English are going to watch it anyway in English. The Hindi viewers will get a little something special.

    For SRK and Aryan, it’s a fun little project to do together for a week. It gives Aryan a little exposure to (voice) acting and lets him gingerly step into the industry without a lot of pressure. If he likes it and is good at it, he can try for something else in the future. If not, it’s no loss. It also gives him a little taste of a public life to see if he would be able to handle it or not. It doesn’t seem too different from the soft launch of Suhana with the Vogue cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, that are my thoughts, too:
      good promotion for Disney, the ‘king-son’ match a.s.o.
      I bet, Aryan wasn’t forced to consent into doing the dubbing; it’s not even new to him (and in The Invincibles he was quite good). It’s in any way a good experience for everybody who wants working in filmmaking.
      Well, people cried nepotism with Gauri, then with Suhana, they now do with Aryan, they will continue to do so…let them, it’s only important that ShahRukh’s, Gaur’s and the kids’ work don’t get affected.

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  8. All reports I’ve read and interviews Shah Rukh has done for several years have indicated that Aryan isn’t interested in being launched as an actor. He’s at USC studying film making, not acting (and they do have an acting program). Shah Rukh says he wants to be behind the camera and I believe that. Just think what it would be like to be Shah Rukh’s son entering Bollywood as an actor. I wouldn’t want that pressure and it makes sense to me that Aryan doesn’t want it either. Even in earlier interviews, when Aryan was much younger, Shah Rukh would say that Aryan didn’t want to follow in his footsteps. I just don’t understand why everyone, especially the Bollywood press, believes that Aryan has aspirations to be a Bollywood hero.

    As for dubbing for Simba, I agree with Anonymous and Claudia as to Disney’s interest in having this father-son duo and I also think the nepotism nonsense is exactly that–nonsense. I think it’s a fun thing for them to do together. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the idea of using Aryan came from Disney rather than Shah Rukh, based on their previous successful experience in the Incredibles.

    But I think it is highly unlikely that Aryan will be playing young Simba, since Aryan is a man, not a boy and would be unconvincing as a kid lion. Unless he speaks in falsetto!!

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    • A behind the camera career also makes sense for this dubbing job. Aryan gets experience in the dubbing studio and with a major international film company, which is as useful for him as a director as it would be as an actor. Maybe more useful, he can better understand the experience of his actors while working on a film without needing to make his face public.

      On Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 10:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Good point. It is almost as useful as being an AD for a Bollywood film, which I assume will be a next step for Aryan. Unless he wants to make his mark in the West. Which would be an interesting but understandable choice.

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  10. Mohanlal and Pranav is voicing The Lion King version for malayalam. I believe it is a strategy all across. Although, I would have loved the combination of Mamooty and Dulquer.

    Also, on twitter, people wanted Amitabh to be Mufasa.

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    • Oh yes, Amitabh as Mufasa would be great! And then Abhishek could be Simba and people would care far less than about Aryan (I think). Abhishek has made his own way and proved himself and no voice acting job is going to make a difference at this point.

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      • Abhishek is unfortunately too much of a flop now to matter. There would be far more interest in Aryan’s “debut.”

        Amitabh’s voice is also overused. He is everywhere. I see his voice popping up in half the movies made in India as the narrator or something like that.

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