Today, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan turns 56. Wishes from all over the world from his millions of fans are pouring in on social media. The actor is known by various names like SRK, King Khan, Badshah and Shah Sir. Every person who is a fan has various reasons to admire the actor. But they all come together because of one thing he deeply rooted among us – love.
A lot has been written about Shah Rukh Khan since he made his debut in the 90s. Whether it is about his acting, choice of films, attitude, his love story, lavish house, opinions, dimples, characters, blunders, achievements, etc., everything is covered. I’ve read most of it, and I still keep reading anything new that’s released on him. After all, I am also a Shah Rukh Khan fan! I know a lot of SRK fans who love him for different reasons, yet all they seek is love in this unkind world.
So, what made him a love symbol? Yes, his romantic films were a big part of it. However, the industry has created a plethora of legendary romance films. Perhaps it’s his allure, his sincerity in portraying his character and his connection with his co-stars that earned him the title of India’s best romantic actor. However, I feel that, among other things, he is full of love. He lost both of his parents when he was young, and he had so much love inside of him that he decided to put it in his characters which made its way to fans’ hearts. That’s how it’s deeply rooted everywhere, unshaken.
I’ve met many people in my life, and I’ve always clicked instantly with Shah Rukh Khan fans. It’s a one-of-a-kind connection. I can’t express how happy it makes me feel when someone expresses identical feelings about SRK in Hindi cinema. The majority of fans (now friends) I’ve met are romantics at heart like Raj and can’t seem to find love easily like Sunil. They all have at least one attribute that I’ve observed in SRK’s characters. In a world where individuals like me have anxiety, it’s a huge relief to find some like-minded friends. King Khan has played a large role in it without being physically involved.
The years 2017-2020 were difficult for me because I was battling depression. Everything was daunting and felt like a task after I graduated from college. I continued to get up and go to work every day as if nothing was happening. Along with therapy, I rewatched several SRK movies and his different interviews and speeches during those troubled times. These, among a few other things, used to help me stay calm for a while. I’d cry whenever he cried, and I had trouble expressing anything during that time.
In 2019, I met Shah Rukh Khan at his Mumbai office, Red Chillies. I’ve always imagined that I’d tell Khan everything that made me happy about him if I met him. But I was numb. He exudes such an aura that all you can do is quietly admire him. That wasn’t the first time I saw him up close, but it was the first time I interacted with him. I wasn’t there to interview him; I was there to interview another actor. All I could say was, “I’m a huge fan of yours.” “Thank you,” he responded, flaunting his dimple.
From dancing to Chaiyya Chaiyya as a kid to watching DDLJ with friends at Maratha Mandir, Shah Rukh Khan has made many people like me happy. During a difficult time, his words and art gave me hope. Hence, seeing all that transpired with his son Aryan Khan and his family last month saddened me.
I felt helpless and extremely upset whenever Aryan’s bail was denied. He is a wealthy man. I knew as a father he would make sure his son didn’t suffer for something that wouldn’t matter if it were a regular man. Nonetheless, I felt awful that I couldn’t help the man who unknowingly helped me when I was suicidal and depressed. I realised that a lot of my friends were experiencing the same helplessness.
That’s the magic of Shah Rukh Khan – the actor, the superstar, the brand. People have always questioned his devotion to the country because of his religion and surname. I’m not going to start calling them in this piece because it’s already done enough. They don’t deserve attention every time. All I know is that for me, SRK is a Khan and his language is love. That love is something you’ll never experience elsewhere as it grows within you. That love gives you the power to stand up for the right, be kind and help you meet individuals who will make the world a better place.