For years, Shah Rukh Khan has been one of the most popular Indian movie stars across the world. He is an inspiration to many for reasons more than one. An evening hosted here celebrated the success of the Bollywood ‘badshah’, where everyone talked about what makes him the superstar he is.
The event, organised by artist Anjana Kuthiala, brought across various aspects to the journey of the actor, who after so many years, still rules Bollywood.
Kuthiala also put on display Shah Rukh’s paintings by her. She discussed how the actor inspires her art and explained that it was the man behind the star who interested her.
“The idea of painting Shah Rukh came from the divine and then it became a passion. He is the ultimate star, the ultimate muse for me,” Kuthiala said, adding: “What interested me was the man behind the star.”
“He is an extraordinary human being. I observed him for two years and realised that there was much more to him than just his stardom. When I was working on his paintings, he came ahead and gave me his photo albums and showed immense amount of support,” she said.
Kuthiala has painted the superstar with the gorgeous actresses of old times like Waheeda Rehman and Madhubala. She said, “When Shah Rukh saw this juxtaposition, he was amazed to see these works and his reaction was overwhelming.”
Others in the discussion were Kathak guru Shovana Narayan, columnist Shubhra Gupta, actor Abhinav Chaturvedi, Founder of Marwah studios Sandeep Marwah, British Council Arts Director Vivek Mansukhani, and Urvashi Mittal from Udyan Care NGO.
Shovana Narayan had met Shah Rukh through his uncle-in-law, who is a classical dancer. She shared her experience during their first meeting.
“When I met him first at his house in Mumbai, he was so warm and hospitable… Looking after every guest. This aspect in his personality has never changed and he has retained the same kindness and values over the years.”
Narayan also spoke of his skills as an actor and said, “There is a lot of energy and sincerity in him. With fantastic artists in the same scene…there is the kind of artistry in him that you only see him.”
Marwah said Shah Rukh is a self-made man.
“He was an outsider when he came to Bollywood. There were no connections. And, now he rules it.”
“I first got to know about Shah Rukh in school, through a cousin who was his classmate. My cousin told me that there is this one boy in class who is an all-rounder. He plays hockey, he plays cricket, he does theatre and is also good at studies. He was always a star.
“Bollywood is the biggest film industry with so many films releasing every year, so many actors becoming a part of them and a huge amount of people watching them. But there is just one Shah Rukh Khan,” Marwah added.
Columnist Shubhra Gupta highlighted the actor’s passion and dedication and how even in flop films, he stands apart with his honesty to the job.
“Shah Rukh’s entry in Bollywood was a defining moment. It brought a sea change in the industry. The actor has always managed to steal the light from other actors because he does everything with great honesty.”
“I remember watching one of his theatre performances back in 1980s. Even then, he used to have the same quality. When he is on stage, you don’t see anyone else. He is the only one visible,” Gupta said, adding: “Even in a mundane film, he stands apart because of is honesty to his character.”
Urvashi Mittal spoke about Shah Rukh’s association with her NGO and his qualities as a philanthropist.
“He doesn’t believe in talking of charitable donations but in making them to all intents and purposes.”