You might differ with our verdict on Shah Rukh Khan’s latest release Jab Harry Met Sejal, but you have to concede the fact that he’s the one true superstar in his generation of Bollywood actors.
His recent visit to an ailing Dilip Kumar and the veteran’s wife Saira Banu not just melted our hearts but also reminded us of the prodigy that SRK is.
The Delhi-born actor has earned tags like the King of Bollywood or the Badshah for a reason. Shah Rukh (10) is second only to Rajesh Khanna when it comes to back-to-back hits while his films have held all possible box office records – from highest grossers to the highest opening day/weekend/week incomes. Let alone the 14 Filmfare awards and dozens of other nominations.
But despite his rad success story, the one thing that differentiates SRK from all his contemporaries is his grounded persona. As a critic once remarked, the biggest sign of being a superstar is to remain down-to-earth; and that’s exactly what the Chak De! India actor does best.
On the one hand you have the likes of Salman Khan, who have been involved in murders, violence against women and animal cruelty incidents; Aamir Khan, who has ruined the life of his younger brother out of sheer envy; and Akshay Kumar who’d be better off as a fitness poster boy than a superstar.
On the other, you have a well-spoken, witty man who is still the heartbeat of many a woman in the country and outside it as well.
He became the first Bollywood personality to be honoured with the prestigious Chubb fellowship at Yale University.
He is a recipient of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest civilian award.
He became the first Indian actor to be given the rare honour of signing the guest book at Berlin’s Town Hall.
He is also the first Indian to be honored with L’Etoile d’Or by Mohammed VI of Morocco the King of Morocco.
*Takes a breath*
Hell, he even has a rare species of orchid named after himself in Singapore!
Most recently, he also became the first Bollywood personality to give a TED Talk and will even host the organisation’s first Hindi show that will come out in the near future.
And when you want your kids to look up to somebody in Bollywood, you’d want them to see some of Shah Rukh’s lectures and not idolise the Salman Khans of the world who pass irresponsible remarks on a heinous crime like rape.
There was once a time when SRK’s father figure Dilip Kumar was the face of Bollywood for the world and it’s only fitting to see his mooh-bola beta (son) take the legacy forward with such aplomb.