Also see: Kal Ho Naa Ho: Special site | When Shah Rukh turned 38
In 2003 ĎKingí Khan was once again the undisputed emperor of the boxoffice. But he remains supremely impervious to the scales of his stardom.
"I look only into the present. At the moment Iím only focussing on this interview. I can think of many things at the same time and yet focus on one thing. Itís not like that. I donít measure my success by the number of hits."
Not that heís not happy about the success of Kal Ho Naa Ho. But he believes it wouldíve been just as successful without him. "Itís a finely crafted film. Without being over-modest Iíd like to say everyone and everything from Saif and Preity to the story and songs are very nice. Iím sure KHNH wouldíve been a huge success without me. The narrative style is remarkable. The energetic narration is applied to a plot that addresses itself to death. Isnít that amazing? It talks about a gradual death in such a fast-paced narrative. It talks about sadness and is yet so happy in spirit."
Shah Rukh describes Kal Ho Naa Ho as "awfully good". "When I say itís an awfully good film I mean itís about the awful reality of death and yet it makes you feelgood. It was a great opportunity for me. I played a guy whoís dying. I got all the sympathy votes. It was a really sad film at heart, I havenít showed it to my children. I had great lines and a great supporting cast. So what do people mean when they say, ĎTu nahin hota to yeh picture aisi nahin hoti?í I think the film wouldíve been even better without me."
Heís also very happy about the inherent appeal of Rakesh Roshanís KoiÖMil Gaya for youngsters. "I saw KoiÖMil Gaya with my children. Itís a very sweet film. Such films should be made regularly for kids. Munnabhai MBBS is again good. I like doing and watching happy films. Iím an entertainer. I like making people in happy."
Shah Rukh says the biggest gift he received in 2003 was sync-sound. "It improved my performance in Kal Ho Naa Ho considerably. I think live sound is one of the biggest blessings for an actor. Since it involved too many noisy outdoor locations Main Hoon Na isnít in sync sound. But Swades and Yashjiís films are. Iíd suggest it for all my films."
Shah Rukhís next release will be choreographer Farha Khanís Main Hoon Na. "Main Hoon Na is the story of two brothers. I play the illegitimate child. Zayed Khan is my sibling. Itís like the 1980sí masala film. Itís got in-your-face action-romance. Farha Khan has gone to Manmohan Desai for inspiration. Insha Allah, Main Hoon Na will come out in April-May 2004. Itís a co-production by my company and Venus. This year I wonít be producing another film. Iíll just concentrate on acting in Ashutosh Gowarikerís Swades and Yash Chopraís film. At the year-end Iíll do Karan Joharís next directorial venture."
The mega-star startles me by revealing he doesnít know what the Yash Chopra film is about. "I honestly donít know. I read about my role in the papers. I trust Mr Chopra implicitly. I just go on the sets and ask his son Aditya what to do. Iíve stopped listening to scripts. I donít have to worry about these things when Iím working with people whoíre much bigger far more hardworking and intelligent than I am. I did Kal Ho Naa Ho without knowing about my role. Karan never gave me a narration. Since I played a stranger who comes into the charactersí lives this approach suited me fine. I always used to surrender to directors, now more so than ever."
Shah Rukh is trying to put the back injury and the much talked-about surgery behind him. "Iíd say Iíve recovered quite a lot. Iíve done Kal Ho Naa Ho and Farha Khanís Main Hoon Na after the surgery. Instead of jumping and somersaulting I guess Iíll have to depend on my acting skills a little more."