Shah Rukh Khan is a delight to watch. He is gorgeous, ridiculously intelligent and an absolute charmer. And I am going to write the most clichéd-but-honest thing here: I grew up watching his films. In my foundational years, the Baadshah of Bollywood defined romance for me. My friends and I would swoon over the quintessential Bollywood hero, who would stretch his arms and flash that boyish, dimpled grin. SRK set outrageous standards for men. He still is, the perfect gentleman.
But I do not watch his movies anymore. The last time I watched him on the big screen was in Jab Tak Hai Jaan in 2012, where he essayed his role to perfection, but looked a tad too stroppy with the younger ladies – Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. JTHJ was probably his last conservative romantic outing.
Khan is a man of many talents, but I have turned away from the pan-caked face. He is at a professional juncture where he does not have to care about the moolah, but SRK is swaying. There is no need for the powerhouse-of-an-actor to appease the masses by gorging on every single genre, at this point in his career. He should be effortlessly himself, fascinating and charismatic. SRK is under no obligation to do an unintelligent, logic-defying Rohit Shetty or Farah Khan film. But he is taking up mind-numbing projects for reasons unknown. Those who have been his jabra fans from days of Fauji do not want to see SRK bomb cars, dance clumsy and partake in a diamond heist.
And an SRK-loyalist, movie buff like me is truly disappointed. Khan’s signature pose never fails to allure, but as a viewer, I would want to see more of him, beyond the picturesque locales of quaint countries, and closer to reality and age. I mean, there can only be one “Sooraj Hua Maddham”. Rohit Shetty cannot recreate the magic that is Shahrukh and Kajol, by draping them in gerua, and ripping-off a chartbuster.
If I have to be brutally honest, I’d put it this way – we love you SRK, but you need to act your age. You are not what you were 20 years ago. There is a reason we watch a Dil Toh Pagal Hai on loop, but cannot attempt to sit through Dilwale.
Now, if I may talk about another superstar and a legend of a performer, Rajnikanth. This luminary is semi-god in the southern film industry. He has coveted titles to his name, won the Padma Vibushan recently, and is a thorough performer. His fans are awed by his illogical action sequences that the actor, till date, exudes with panache.
But thalaivar needs to understand that age has caught up already, and no matter how heavy the prosthetics are, they do no hide his acumen. He cannot cash-in on his former glory, cut into action sequences at the blink of an eye, romance much-younger actresses and, not worry about box office failures. Well Rajnikanth does not need to worry about duds, considering he has loyalists everywhere and is an endowed performer. But come on, we are not watching ramleela on stage that we would have to endure the painfully-painted faces of old actors.
The superstar may, perhaps, draw some inspiration from yesteryears and deliver a fitting performance, as himself. We would love to watch Rajnikanth as an actor now.
Alright, the bitter reality is that there is only one Anil Kapoor, who refuses to age. Others need to consciously remain close to veracity and accept things as they are.