Many aspirants come, many aspirants go, but there will never be an ‘outsider’ like Shah Rukh Khan who has made defined big in Bollywood. But would he have done it without the support of a certain (late) Yash Raj Chopra (who would have turned 85 today)?
“I did not want to be a lover boy as I am not good with romance. I felt I was not good looking enough. I don’t think I was good enough to play a lover boy. But Yashji kept telling me if I don’t play a lover boy on-screen nothing will happen to my career, my career will not move ahead,” confessed Shah Rukh earlier this year.
The SRK-Yash Chopra association kicked off with Darr, where the actor played an obsessed lover who goes berserk when his college crush gets engaged to another man. The movie followed the Abbas-Mustan thriller Baazigar that also had King Khan essay a grey role.
And as Shah Rukh himself admitted, he was starting to feel comfortable in that mould.
But he adhered to the late filmmaker’s advice and the rest is history. Two years after Darr (the period during which he also featured in films like Anjaam and Karan Arjun), SRK got his big break in romantic cinema through YRF’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
The Fan actor didn’t look back ever since. He carved his image as the most popular romantic actor of his generation (if not Bollywood history) with a string of successful ventures like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Mohabbatein, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Devdas, Veer Zaara and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
The grateful man that he is, Shah Rukh even accepted, “Yash Chopra has single-handedly created my career.”
“I am what I am because of what Yash Chopra made me do. I thank him for that,” he had said while receiving the National Yash Chopra Memorial award in 2017.
The duo’s last movie together, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, also unfortunately happened to be Yash Chopra’s last ever movie. He passed away even before the film could hit the theatres.
Half a decade later, Shah Rukh himself is at a crossroads in terms of his Bollywood career at the moment. Unlike his contemporaries, he has been unable to discover the right formula to keep his aura alive in the current times (Though that doesn’t take away his stardom that owes to the ‘SRK’ brand beyond films).
The Jab Harry Met Sejal actor mulled that Yash Chopra could have had one more movie after JTHJ. Could that movie have reignited SRK’s career? We’ll never know. But at least he gave us Shah Rukh Khan. Happy birthday Yash ji!