Shahrukh Khan: Thanks for making me the star that I am!

Excerpts from the second part of Shahrukh Khan’s exclusive interview with UK-based journalist Ashanti Omkar

The Baadshah of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan, talks to BollywoodLife about education, being a brand, looking after his body, his love for London and being half South Indian…

From being an economics graduate who also studied mass communication as a Master’s, to A-lister – how important is business knowledge to enhance the creative art of cinema?

It’s not necessary at all. Education is important. It helps me keep abreast of things around the world like technology. In terms of business understanding, I didn’t have much, but fortunately, when I sit down, it is my second nature to read a book on a subject, or Google it. I spent so many years studying, but I don’t think I have business acumen. It’s mainly because of my education that I am able to comprehend and sit across the table at board meetings and make business decisions.

On being ‘brand’ SRK, one of the world’s most powerful…

I don’t know. I never had this notion of a brand. It’s nice and fashionable. I’m happy to be who I am. You can’t deny the branding now. It is a mix of my personal and professional life – 70 percent is due to the movies, the kind of films I do, all of which are a personal choice, an extension of my personality. I’ve never tried to keep a front. When I joined the industry, I was told to keep an image, but I am exactly as I am. I never put up a front. I do things as I did then. I feel one should be oneself in real life.

London – the city is special to you…

I love the Indians and Pakistanis in London – the only place I meet so many people. In India I am in the studio; I can be out in London. I like the weather and the greyness, but I’m not a depressed soul. I like cycling, walking – I can’t in India… So I take my kids out, play football in Hyde Park. The girls are very well dressed – I find it very nice. I love Hamleys toy store. I enjoy the beauty of nature. I like the vibe. I feel at home with so many people from the sub-continent. I’m a shy person, I feel. I also like the Mayor of London’s bikes!

On producing Student Of The Year…(This interview was done before the film released)

I’m not acting, but Karan Johar had a desire that I be a part of SOTY. I really didn’t look like a student (laughs). I’m part producer. I’ve not done anything for the film, actually. It is a gift from Karan to me. It is a beautiful film. Karan has wanted to do it for four or five years. It feels fantastic, like a gift for the goodness that I’ve done in my life. Maybe one day I will be an old student of the year – I’ll be like Marlon Brando going back to college. Koochie Koochie Hota Hai – we’re waiting for this!

You’re 1/2 South Indian?

My mother was from Andhra Pradesh – she lived in Bangalore; Dad was from Peshawar. I have a mixed lineage. My grandmum is Kashmiri.

What’s next for SRK – Chennai Express, Happy New Year, Koochie Koochie Hota Hai

If you’re a South Indian, you’ll like Chennai Express – we’ve just started it. It is fun to work with Deepika Padukone after so long. She’s grown a little taller (laughs). Rohit Shetty is over the top and creates a fun action-comedy for the first time. It’s really fresh, theatrical, fun and happy, a journey from Mumbai to Rameshwaram by train. Yes, I’m doing Happy New Year with Farah Khan – it’s in the works. But it’s too early and you’re trying to get all the plots from me now (laughs)!

Your six-pack and the body guys want to attain…

I work out a bit and the food I eat needs to be good, nothing special. I’m a small eater. I’m careful, I play, I exercise. When I need to really get into shape, I spend 45 minutes a day doing a diligent workout. My metabolism is good. To make a six-pack, I go on a high protein diet and add extra exercise. I play with my kids. I don’t like to put on weight and am conscious of this. If I start feeling unhealthy, then I play football, run around and get back to my normal and comfortable weight. I love sports and love to play cricket with my kids too.

You’re a prolific Tweeter…

I like it sometimes, when I’m lonely and I do it. I don’t like people with preconceived notions. Those abusive, nameless, faceless people annoy me. They should try doing it all to my face. There are days when I feel like getting off it (Twitter). When I get frustrated, I do it (tweet) and have done it. But I’m back and I enjoy tweeting.

To your fans…

Be happy, have a good life, enjoy yourself. God bless you all. Thanks so much for making me the star that I am!

By Ashanti Omkar

READ PART 1 OF INTERVIEW: Shahrukh Khan on Jab Tak Hai Jaan: I don’t know if I’ll do a love story again!