Shahrukh Summer: Favorite Era of Shahrukh Films

I just wrote a truly brilliant post (here), one of those rare amazing ones, and now my brain is dead. So I will offer up a brain dead post as filler, and return to my beloved SRK.

Here is my definition of Shahrukh Film Eras:

Shahrukh the Young Try Anything Actor

Deewangee to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Shahrukh the King Settled in his Stardom

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Paheli

Shahrukh the Artist Looking for Challenges

Paheli to Zero

Which is your favorite era? Do you agree with my eras? Do you agree with my era break points?

For me, I think favorite might be the “King” era. There’s something so soft and confident and soothing about the early 2000s/late 90s films. The other eras are more creatively complex and varied, but they don’t have the joy of Kal Ho Na Ho or K3G or Main Hoon Na.

16 thoughts on “Shahrukh Summer: Favorite Era of Shahrukh Films

  1. I like your categorization. I think it does fit.

    For me this is very easy. My favourite era is the current one, followed by the earliest one. The 2k era is last. I like all of these eras of course, but if I had to choose, then it’d be in that order.

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    • Oh good, glad it makes sense to someone else too!

      The 2K era was Shahrukh’s most popular period, but I think maybe most serious fans actually like the earlier and later periods? He was just less intense and different then.

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      • I somehow link the second era you have classified as the period where he mainly plays a lover of some sort. And, to me, he feels almost too perfect during that era. It’s as if that raw diamond he once was had now been molded into perfect shape. And that’s beautiful too, just a different viewing experience. I do have lots of love for what I have seen from that time period, like Swades, Chalte Chalte, K3G, KHNH, and Devdas, but then there‘s his older body of work like Darr, Anjaam, Maya Memsaab, Chaahat, Dil Se. And I love his rawness in those. It’s just so fascinating to watch and observe because he is really good already but not always with the perfect balance and I really enjoy that. Plus, I like it when he plays flawed / broken / messed up characters.

        Thankfully he did give us a broken character with Devdas in the 2nd era. Hmm, I think this is the only really flawed character he plays in those years? Or maybe Veer Zaara is one too? I haven’t seen that one yet.

        Anyway, back to your eras; according to your classification, he breaks out of that familiar „love guru“—as Kajol put it—formula with Don 1, Chak De. MNiK, Ra.One, Don 2, Fan, Dear Zindagi, Raees, JHMS, and Zero. (Well, he is kind of a lover in JHMS but so flawed that I don’t consider it to be anywhere near the portrayals of a lover he did back in the day).

        The current era is just so rich and beautifully diverse in terms of the type of character he plays. I have no idea what his next role will be but just the prospect of knowing it could be anything makes me super excited.

        Do we consider KANK and OSO to be part of period II or III? Because I do love these two films a lot, too. In terms of timeframe they are kinda sandwiched.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I realized when trying to come up with the eras that he had outliers in each of them. DDLJ is before KKHH, but it is also that smooth lover type (although a little more energetic). KANK was beginning to show the strain of that perfect lover. OSO was half “perfect man” and half kind of an interesting comic performance. And Happy New Year and Dilwale were definitely more of the smooth easy lover type roles even though they were in the post-Paheli era.

          Veer-Zaara is maybe his most perfect character EVER. Like, inhumanly unbelievably perfect, only he does make us believe in it somehow.

          On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 12:30 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • The theory that I am developing just now is that the casual fan likes him for the popular era, but the dedicated fan (like, the people who would seek out and comment on this post) prefers his more strange and difficult eras. Hopefully I get more comments so I can prove or disprove the theory!

      On Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 9:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. For me, the favorite Shahrukh era is the earliest one. I would even add TV shows like Fauji and Circus to it. I was a preteen at the time, and even that 30 minute weekly dose on the small screen was enough for everyone to realize that this was something special. He was already a household name for a couple years before he showed up on the big screen. He was the boy next door. I feel like that openness and excitement (both in his interviews and his acting) got lost somewhere along the way, even though he became a better actor.

    I am not entirely sure how much of my feelings have to do with Shahrukh, and how much to do with my own life stage at that point, or even with the sense of excitement that was present in the Hindi film industry at that point. Looking back at it, it is not often that you have three very different, but equally charismatic actors – I am talking about Amir, Shahrukh, and Salman – make a mark on the movie business within a span of just a few years. QSQT was in 1988, Maine Pyar Kiya and Fauji both came in 1989, Maybe you should do a post about how the rise of these three suddenly changed the industry. Even Jackie Shroff, whose first big hit Hero, came in 1983 already felt old school by the mid 90s. Or maybe about different eras in Hindi movies that were shaped by specific actors/actresses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is little enough writing on the history of Indian film, but even less on the history of Indian TV. It’s really hard to tell how much of an impact the SRK serials made if you weren’t alive back then. Especially because all the writing now feels like it might be revisionist history, “oh of course I knew he would be a big star!” So, thank you! For providing the perspective of someone who was actually there when it was happening.

      As for three stars breaking through at once, how about Aag in 1948 with Raj Kapoor, Ziddi in 1948 with Dev Anand, and Andaz in 1949 with Dilip Kumar? The personalities even line up, Raj=Aamir, Dev=Salman, and Dilip=Shahrukh. Spooky, right?

      On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 7:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Maybe not Circus, but Fauji was definitely a big deal, especially given that this was the time when Doordarshan was the only TV channel and the entire family watched the same shows. I still remember that there was a power cut in our area on the day of the last episode of Fauji and my sister and I convinced our parents to let us go and watch it at a neighbor’s place – they had a generator to deal with power cuts. I am fairly sure there was a micro trend of baby boys being named Abhimanyu thanks to the SRK character in Fauji. I personally know of three Abhimanyu’s in their late 20s but none older or younger than that. It was mostly an ensemble show but Shahrukh came out as the clear star from the moment his character was introduced. His stardom was big enough that it motivated pre-teen girls like me to watch a TV adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot just because Abhi Roy from Fauji was in it.

        I think the Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar parallels are so strong that right after posting my first comment, I immediately thought, “hmmm, I should go check the dates for the first big hits from those three”. And then, saw the same line of thought reflected in your reply. It really is spooky.

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  3. No idea how to phrase it but I’m unable to cut ShahRukh’s journey into parts…it’s simply (or not so simply) a journey…with paths right and left he tries, with openings where he stays for some time, with crevasses to overcome, with hills to climb, with bridges to cross…in every period you mention there is something defying to adjust… well, actually, I think that ShahRukh is a rebel …somehow…from the very beginning.

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    • Yes, when I looked at the eras, for his films, in each one there was something that didn’t fit with the rest. You can’t pin him down that easily.

      On Fri, Sep 13, 2019 at 6:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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