Month of SRK: 8 SRK Movies To Learn His Life Story

Thanks for the suggestion Emily! Shahrukh (as most celebrities/actors do) has used his real life trauma to support his performances and promote his films. Which also means we can easily find 8 movies to watch if you want to get a sense of the emotional journey of the “real” SRK!

1.Chalte Chalte

This is kind of “negative 1” or “zero”. It’s a story of a marriage, but in many ways it is the story of Shahrukh’s parents’ marriage. His character, the city struggler with no family who falls in love at first sight, follows the woman he loves until she agrees to marry him, loses his transport business and struggles with his self-confidence, that is Shahrukh’s father. And the woman who is torn between the impractical husband she loves and the warm loving family there to support her, that is his mother.

2. Fan

Not for the “Aryan” role, but the Gaurav one. Average Delhi boy, a little bit spoiled by his parents, with unrealistic confidence in himself runs off to Bombay. That’s Shahrukh. Minus the death of his parents and the older sister, with a little extra insanity added. But the feel of the apartment block, of the small dreams, of the excitement in Bombay, that’s young SRK.

3. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

This is a small part of the Shahrukh love story. The romance is completely different, it wasn’t a whirlwind affair between opposites, it was 7 years of dating and growing up together between people of similar backgrounds. But the second half, the decision to win over her family instead of simply eloping, that is Shahrukh. And that is what makes his marriage different to this day, that it was a love match that was strong enough and committed enough to transform into an “arranged” match against all odds.

4. Yes Boss

This is a side of Shahrukh we don’t see much. The cheerful youthful ambition of him. You don’t get to be SHAHRUKH KHAN without wanting it and working for it. But at the same time, you don’t survive as SHAHRUKH KHAN without understanding where your line is and what really matters. If you want to see the journey he had to take in his early years of stardom, this is the film that comes closest.

5. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Fatherhood arrives! Released shortly after his son was born, we have Shahrukh the youthful happy husband turned into the mature obsessive father.

6. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

Shahrukh the lonely orphan. His parents were dead in real life, not estranged, but he is still someone who married and moved to a new city and built a life while always feeling that emptiness inside, someone whose family learned to watch him and comfort him when the sadness took him over.

7. Chak De India

Perhaps the most personal of his stories, a man who was beloved by his country and loves his country, but finds that people can turn on him with no notice and for no reason. But he buckles down and doesn’t give up and wins them back. Add on that he focuses on strengthening young women and girls, and the field hockey (which was one of his sports in school), and that this is the first time he played Muslim onscreen, and it becomes his most personal movie.

8. Fan

Second time around! Aryan Khanna, the lonely but powerful movie star, the one who won’t share his worries even with his wife, and the one who is strangely vulnerable at the heart of it, who desperately needs to be loved. That’s Shahrukh, the star.

22 thoughts on “Month of SRK: 8 SRK Movies To Learn His Life Story

  1. With Aryan the star, I think, ShahRukh wanted to show the trappings of a star, not himself as a star…in the contrary, he painted the picture of a star one may not like to identify with (I think the most prominent try to diminish his star persona till then).
    There may have been elements of his thinking and living…but I doubt he ever would act like Aryan did in certain situations.

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  2. ChakDe – even his kids said that this role came rather close to what ShahRukh is as a private person.
    He was slightly working towards dismantling traits of his star persona since KANK, but it was the most prominent after the government changed in 2014 (and the reaction of a considerable part of the domestic audience and critics showed me that this change was disturbing a lot of people.)

    Btw., I find it highly interesting that just after the interview you do this post…I am almost sure that also in his acting style there are references to his life.

    There are certainly more movies where his private life and being got a place. I think that Rizwan as a character has a lot to do with ShahRukh, for example.
    Aryan’s birth (Nov 1997) and the difficulties that Gauri faced (ShahRukh had told once that she lost a lot of blood, that he feared that Gauri would die and that he was even willing to give up on his son in favour for Gauri’s life) find their echo in KKHH.

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  3. I love this post and the follow up. Claudia, I truly enjoyed reading your comments too.

    I will add Amir’s behavior in Dil Se (the first half) and link it to Shah Rukh’s extremely obsessive and possessive behavior towards Gauri a few years before their marriage when he pursued her and followed her all the way to Mumbai to find her, fully knowing she wanted a break from him. The things he did to find her strike me as highly excessive. It seemed like a matter of life and death to him and that’s almost identical to Amar.

    I am taking those clues from the Gauri / SRK interview with Simi Garewal (1998), the Letterman interview, and an article from the early 90s where only Gauri is interviewed (forgot the title). I found the interview on planetsrk.

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    • Yes! Dil Se, Deewana, Darr, all the way to Dilwale, that “obsessive desperate lover” keeps popping up. It’s not just the beach story, there’s other stories of him following her around in Delhi, begging her to take him back, and so on.

      On Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 12:28 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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        • I can fully relate to that…he did not see himself as matching to her beauty, standard of living and to her parents’ expectations. He just had lost his father some years ago, was trying to overcome his shattered dream of a national sportsman and fall in love with a 14-(well almost 15-) year old rather modern girl that attracted gazes.
          He had lost so much, he was desperate not to lose her, too. When he lost his mother in April 1991, Gauri committed to him fully…she would have married even without her parents’ consent. It was ShahRukh (with no family anymore) who did not want it this way but by convincing her family to agree.
          I think the longest to be against the marriage was Gauri’s brother. That’s why they had the civil wedding been publicly announced with false data (they married the 26th of August). The ‘real’ big wedding was 17 days after her 21st birthday.

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        • I read one story in a magazine where he had described himself what he did once. It was Gauri’s birthday and she had come to see him at his home where he had decorated his room and gotten her a lot of presents. She apparently started crying and told him she wanted to break up. His crazy behavior was too much for her and she was worried that her parents wouldn’t accept him anyway.

          He put up posters all the way from his house to hers all over the roads and danced on the street, stopping traffic, and basically caused a commotion, to ask her to take him back. Her family didn’t know about him to begin with and here he was causing a giant public spectacle and embarrassing her so that she would listen to him.

          She had talked herself about the beach story and how annoyed she was to see him there. She said she appreciates it in hindsight but hated him at that time. He had run out of money so she gave him money for food and transport back to Delhi and sent him away.

          SRK was really nutty but he lucked out that Gauri was somehow immune to all his extreme charm and never encouraged it. He had to eventually grow up and stop acting stupid.

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          • Yes, she sent him away but only after assuring him that she would still be his girlfriend. She said that she never doubted his love (he was like a dog, he would have done everything she wanted, she said) but she had to make clear that she would not tolerate a certain behaviour, she didn’t want to feel suffocated by his love.

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          • Oh my goodness… That’s… uh, well, I actually don’t know what to say. Wow. He really is something else. He sounds like a fictitious character from a classic novel, like a character Dostojewski would create or Goethe, even Shakespeare. That’s it; He sounds like a made-up character developed by one of the great classic authors that transcended the world of fiction and took on a human form. G.One, is that you?!

            Gauri must have (instinctively) sensed that he was an inherently good man at his core. Now I have even greater respect for her. She was so young but seemingly highly mature even back then.

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          • Yeah, I’m surprised how mature Gauri was for her age because she’s 5 years younger than him and in your teens, that is a huge age difference. Before AbRam was born, I had heard her jokingly refer to SRK, Suhana and Aryan as her 3 kids.

            SRK too always credits her for stabilizing him and turning him into a man from an animal. Even now he’s mentioned sometimes that when he reads something terrible about him or his family or strange rumors, it’s him that gets really disturbed and flies into a rage. Gauri doesn’t care at all and is always the one encouraging him to forget it and let it go.

            The epilogue to the jail story was also that both Gauri and her parents were furious with him. hah. Same goes for the stadium brawl. He’s said a few times that his family was so upset with him that it was its own punishment. His biggest deterrent against bad behavior is not to be an embarrassment for them.

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          • Good comparison, his overhyped showing of his love and books.
            However, I think more of RNBDJ…the Suri character who tries to make smile Tani as the Raj character imitating movie heroes…
            Some of Suri’s traits surely are the same as some of ShahRukh’s traits.

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  4. Now I’m sorry I doubted that you could build a timeline in countdown form :).

    Chalte Chalte as his parents’ story is an interesting one. It means there’s not quite a happy ending in store for Rani and SRK. Happy for a time, but with many struggles, and fewer years together than anyone would have hoped.

    Now I’m wondering, how do so many biographical details end up in his films? It seems atypical, right? I can’t think of other actors whose personal story keeps showing up woven through their movies like a background score. Does he end up influencing the script and embeds pieces in the story that feel true to him? Do his collaborators know him and build the story around their understanding? Or is it the fact that he brought so much personal into his public persona that it became part of what people wanted to see onscreen?

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    • I would guess that all three of those things you suggest are true simultaneously. And I would add in that he emphasizes parts of his real life based on the reception his films get. Like, if DDLJ wasn’t such a spectacular hit, I doubt we would hear about his love story with Gauri and convincing her parents as much as we do. Maybe some other story instead, like if his big hit had been about wedding planning, we would know a lot more about their wedding.

      But Chalte Chalte is just weirdly specific!!!! A bankrupt transit company that drives the hero into depression? That’s a really specific situation. Shahrukh produced the film, maybe they were spitballing at some script meeting about what would be the big thing that drives the marriage into the rocks and SRK said “what about his transit company going bankrupt?” I suppose before that, some other meeting where Shahrukh said “what if our hero is a truck driver?” I guess it means a not quite happy ending for Rani and SRK in that movie. But come to think of it, I kind of find that more believable than imagining a happy ending for them. Shahrukh’s character is so passionate about everything, so stressed. when things are good, they are very good, but they don’t seem to stay good for long. Him being the kind of man who dies young after wearing his body out with emotions fits for me.

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      • True enough. Though that’s a dark future for a pastel-colored movie with a Johnny Lever comedy track. I know it has some darker shades built into it, but they still seem so hopeful in their love at the end. Of course, if you do see them as his parents, I guess ending the story in that moment, when they’re together and full of hope, is a happy ending.

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        • there is no happiness without sadness and no sadness without happiness…isn’t it something Chalte Chalte shows? and it’s something ShahRukh often said (even though everyone gets to know it in life).
          But there is also hope…therefore the ending (rather open to both directions, right?)

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      • I agree with you, Margaret, that all three are possibly responsible for so, so many personal stuff included in ShahRukh’s movies.
        In my mind, it’s also a kind of getting kind of rid of some things either oppressing him or wanting to give it as learning experience to others.
        He often says, that he leaves a part of himself in (almost) every movie.

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          • But that was the reason he dived into the Mumbai filmindustry with four movies on his plate… acting is his survival tool.

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