Month of SRK: 19 Best SRK Performances, Ranked

Oh boy! Get ready to fight with me! Or discuss or whatever. We haven’t had nearly enough discussion yet in this Month of SRK. But hopefully this is a topic you will all have opinions on. What I included, what I left out, the order I put it in.

Best to worst!

1.Fan

Can anyone argue with this? Two performances, either which of one would count as one of the best in the history of film, and they were not only done by the same man, they were done by the same man acting opposite himself.

Image result for fan shahrukh khan

2. Jab Harry Met Sejal

A deceptively simple role. But without ever saying anything, without any big gestures or emotional moments, he tells you everything that is in his heart.

Image result for jab harry met sejal poster

3. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayange

The performance that made him a star. Now it looks simple, and boring, because everyone does this kind of role. But Shahrukh was the first, the first to play the naughty modern boy who is secretly old-fashioned and good.

Image result for ddlj poster

4. Don

SPOILERS it’s an easy performance. Until you get to the twist. And then rewatch it and realize he is playing Don pretending to be Vijay pretending to be Don, and carefully letting the mask slip just a little bit when he is alone, to tip his hand to the savvy viewer. END SPOILERS

Image result for don shahrukh poster

5. Chak De! India

A character that never lets control of his emotions, never shows how he feels, never breaks his dignity. But at the same time, he lets the audience somehow see everything he hides inside.

Image result for chak de india shahrukh poster

6. My Name is Khan

Playing a man with Aspergers would be one thing, but even if you removed those specific mannerisms from his performance, it would still be remarkable. Sorrow, love, joy, anger, fear, every range of human emotion conveyed in a way that feels human, not acting.

Image result for my name is khan shahrukh poster

7. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa

The movie that Shahrukh himself considers one of his best performances. A teenage boy, a loser, impulsive and foolish but trying to grow up. It would be an easy role, except that Shahrukh was nearly 30 years old playing a picture perfect teenager.

Image result for kabhi haan kabhi naa

8. Om Shanti Om

Again, it’s about playing someone who is playing someone. There is Om Prakash, a lovable interesting character. Then there is Om Kapoor, a silly shallow funny character. And then there is Om Kapoor remembering Om Prakash. And Om Kapoor/Prakash pretending to still be Om Kapoor. Layers upon layers upon layers, ever changing scene to scene.

Image result for om shanti om poster

9. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Another double role! A very different one, this time there is one character who is “real” and one who is “fake”. Obviously they are both “fake”, roles Shahrukh the actor is playing, but somehow one always feels slightly fake while the other feels real.

Image result for rab ne bana di jodi poster

10. Billu

This shouldn’t be a hard role. It’s something like 20 minutes of screen time and Shahrukh is just playing himself. But the thing is, he isn’t playing himself. He is playing someone like himself but slightly different in so many small almost invisible ways.

Image result for billu poster

11. Dear Zindagi

Again, it should be an easy role. But he doesn’t do it easy. He is just playing a wise sounding board for the heroine. And somehow, he creates a whole person out of that. We know he is sad about his divorce, we know he misses his son, we even somehow know his parents are dead. Remarkable.

Image result for dear zindagi poster

12. Darr

One of those early blazing genius roles. Young, disturbing, passionate, fearful, triumphant, charismatic. A role no one else could play then or now.

Image result for darr poster

13. Raees

It’s not the fight scenes, or the love scenes. It’s the community scenes. The warmth he brings when talking to his friends and caring for people combined with the powerful ambition in his work, the sweet romance and need in his marriage, and yes also the fight scenes.

Image result for raees poster

14. Swades

Another one of those “acting without realizing he is acting” roles. I don’t find it as spectacular as some of his others, because there are fewer emotions at play than in Fan or Chak De! or even Billu. But what’s there, is good.

Image result for swades poster

15. Yes Boss

This shouldn’t be as good as it is! All Shahrukh has to do is a little love story. But he puts into it the fear of the underclass, the fragile hope for a bit of happiness dropped from the tables of the rich, and also a passionate silent love.

Image result for yes boss poster

16. Koyla

It’s a good movie and a good performance in general, but it is only on this list because Shahrukh plays mute. It forces him to up his game far beyond the other action films from this same era. He has to convey everything wordlessly, and then in the second half convey someone who could use words but was uncomfortable with them.

Image result for koyla poster

17. Chalte Chalte

Shahrukh’s good performance in this movie is almost a flaw of the film. Instead of seeing a nice light evenly balanced marriage story, we get a marriage story and also the story of a lonely struggling man trying to maintain his sense of self as he losses his business and marries a woman he feels he is not worthy of.

Image result for chalte chalte poster

18. Asoka

It’s a decent film, but I feel like Shahrukh lets his wig and costumes do a bit too much of the acting for him. Still a complex role and a complex performance, but yeah, he could be a lot better.

Image result for asoka poster

19. Anjaam

Last one! A strange strange disturbing film, and a strange strange disturbing performance. A little rough around the edges, trying a bit too hard, but still just impossible to look away from.

Image result for anjaam poster
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25 thoughts on “Month of SRK: 19 Best SRK Performances, Ranked

  1. I would replace Asoka, Koyla, and Rab ne Bana di Jodi with Pardes, Ram-Jaane, and Devdas. I have no rational with Pardes, except that I adore the movie so much it must mean that he is wonderful in it. I know his acting in Ram-Jaane is over the top, he is cartoon, it’s so fun to watch. And in Devdas he is such a cad, and so icky at the end; it isn’t enjoyable to watch, but I thought it was good acting. My big problem with Rab ne… is that rather than playing a guy pretending to be someone else, it often felt to me like he was either playing two different people, or two pretenders. Asoka I never fully bought that he was from the past. And Koyla… it might really be that I just don’t like the movie. I don’t have a good reason to knock Koyla out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I considered Ram-Jaane too!!!! For one thing, it is so different from his other performances, he must have really made an effort to change everything about himself for the role. I also like Pardes, and would probably have put it on my top 25 list, but with only 19 it just didn’t make the cut. In theory you could be right about Devdas, but I just hate that movie so much! I couldn’t bring myself to include it.

      On Mon, Oct 14, 2019 at 11:23 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh shoot, I completely forgot about it! Now I have to think about where to slot it in. Definitely not int he top 5, maybe the top ten?

      On Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 7:57 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Hi Margaret! I am so looking forward to reading all your posts. Thanks in advance for all the work. And a shout out? Moi? That’s super sweet. I hadn’t been feeling in a good place but now it’s a good time to catch up with everything! I hope you’re well (and everyone else reading this)

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          • Yes! I am so looking forward to that, too. And I like Letterman.

            In all is this the biggest task is to somehow maintain my sanity. Or is it to retain? I haven’t a clue and don’t care! SRK FTW! That is all.

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          • And at least you won’t have to stay up all night to watch it! I wish they told us exactly when it was releasing, I’m planning to stay up all night on the 24th, but if it is coming out at 7am on the 25th instead of midnight, I will be very angry.

            On Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 10:02 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. It’really difficult for me to do rankings when it comes to creative work, but I would definitely include Dil Se among the top 5 and Devdas among the top 10.
    I would also include Duplicate and Ram Jaane. That makes 4 movies to ‘throw out’… *sigh*
    (it would be Asoka, ChalteChalte, Yes Boss and Anjaam)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nope, too hard and I’m too lazy today. I’d kick Anjaam out–that shoulder hitch was just a little too much. I’d add Kal Ho Naa Ho to replace it. I agree with adding Dil Se and Pardes, and could go either way with Ram Jaane and Devdas. Hmmm–maybe I’d kick out Asoka and Billu to make room for Dil Se and Pardes (which I think is underrated and underplayed–a character torn by conflicting loyalties, dealing with the shock and sadness of behaviors he never imagined his loved ones to be capable of).

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    • I would agree to Pardes for the second half (absolutely, the internal trauma and the struggle to throw off his love and loyalty in response to essential morality), but the first half is a pretty basic level. Possibly remove Anjaam for Kal Ho Na Ho, but again only parts of the performance. The straight up “love” melodrama I don’t find that good, but the way he draws the line between charming and irritating, sexy and son-ly, that is brilliant.

      On Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 3:51 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think there is complexity and layers in both first and second half of Pardes. In the first half he’s impatient and bossy, an apparatchik of this rich Indian-American family, and yet he also has to be warm and supportive to Mahima and connect sincerely with her family in his role as cultural translator. I think it’s a tough combo to pull off.

        Totally agree with Kal Ho Naa Ho. The over the top crying stuff and melodramatic love stuff pops me right out of the movie, but I think the rest of his performance and amazing chemistry with the entire ensemble cast make up for the over the top bits. Sexy and son-ly, friendly and foxy. 🙂

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  4. Really glad to see Don and OSO on your list. They are rarely mentioned for performance, maybe becasue the films as such fun entertainers they are not seen as serious enough. But the subtlety and layers of both those performances are fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!!! Shahrukh really is the master of the double-but-related kind of roles.

      On Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 8:18 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I despise Devdas, and I’m pretty sure you do too, but you can’t deny his performance was incredible.

    I’m surprised JHMS is so high. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I’m still kind of new to your blog and never knew you liked that movie so much. I just thought it was alright.

    But RNBDJ oh man. I definitely agree with you on everything you said, and I feel like people don’t talk about that movie enough and how incredible it is, from the performances to the directing and the music and just EVERYTHING about it. One of my favorites.

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    • I also despise Devdas!!!!! And I refuse to put his performance as one of the greatest, because I feel like he was handicapped by the way it was directed. Although, weirdly, I did include it in my list of “best films”. But very far down at the bottom.

      For JHMS, if you have only seen it once, give it a second watch. I wasn’t super impressed the first time I saw it, but I was intrigued enough to come back and see it a second time, and I saw so much more that time around. And then more and more and more. The tip I generally give people is to let go of seeing it as a rom-com, watch it as a two person character study. I really do love that movie, I’ve written about 30 separate posts on it, totaling around 100,000 words or more. Fun times!

      Agree about RNBDJ! I’ve yet to find anyone who doesn’t like it at first glance.

      On Sat, Oct 19, 2019 at 7:56 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I’ve seen it twice, once on my own when it came to Netflix, and once with friends on a girls’ night, which I guess wasn’t the most conducive environment to watch a character study. One of my friends fell asleep about 20 minutes before the movie ended and we had to explain what happened at the end.

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        • Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it for a girl’s night, any more than I would recommend My Dinner With Andre or something like that. Definitely give it another watch, maybe after reading one or two of my scene by scene covers and the comments on them.

          Or not! but if you want to give it a fair shake, that would be the way.

          On Sat, Oct 19, 2019 at 9:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh yeah. The movie isn’t perfect as a whole, but the performances are.

      On Sat, Oct 19, 2019 at 9:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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