Jug Jug Jiyo, Pathaan!
Last Updated: 06.40 PM, Nov 01, 2022
I just happened to be gushing over a Shah Rukh Khan plushie with a lovely glass of Yarra Valley Pinot Noir in my hand when their dog jumped on me. I swear it was an accident.
A hysterical mom at a school annual day charity auction was super enthusiastic when bidding for the Shah Rukh Chhaiyya Chhaiyya jacket and I was happily egging the price up knowing that my family would disown me should I come home with it. She bought the jacket for 50k.
A fan outside Mannat elbowed me so hard I pretended to be leaving by stage whispering to him, ‘I have to go ahead! Why are you standing here? Call yourself a fan then go to Salim Suleiman’s building naa! SRK is there. He’s recording his voice for SIRI…’ He left with his ‘frens’ (he was the type to spell the word that way!), and I got to stand in his place and that got me a great photo of the man.
I called in for a Valentine’s day radio show and earned a ‘meet and greet’. The shirt I wore to stand next to him and get a picture taken is now shrink wrapped and hidden away in my bank locker.
I have laminated my ticket stub of DDLJ playing at Maratha Mandir.
And now he’s going to be a gorgeous 56. He writes social media posts where he thinks his daughter is beautiful and his son who borrowed his grey tee is good looking. But do his fans deviate from the North Star that is Shah Rukh? The excitement for a teaser, yes, a teaser is so great, that I’m ready to book my ticket for the FDFS of the movie when it is released next year. I'm sure it’s going to be awesome.
Is there any other star that can match this madness he generates simply with a teaser of the film? He’s going to be on the big screen after four years! Whoever said long distance relationships don’t work hasn’t met the fans who live in the SRK Universe.
He says on some Instagram video that he does not like the ‘Tu-tadak wali bhasha’, cannot be casual to a woman friend, cannot address Kajol ‘bro’ because it sounds disrespectful and ungentlemanly, i had to get my smelling salts out… This is the man we love. And that’s why even if When Harry Met Sejal was such a pathetic movie, when he calls out, ‘heeeyyyyyy o!’ and then says, ‘Tu gaati hai?’ to Anushka Sharma who’s staring gobsmacked at him, I was saying, ‘Yesssss!’ in the theatre.
I don’t know if Fan worked at the box office or not, but I would have bid for that wall in his house, because ‘Woh duniya hai meri!’ That resonated with me, and we hummed, ‘Hai re jabra, hoye re jabra fan ho gaya!’
All of us watched the film Zero with growing horror because dwarf or not, his character was just so non-heroic, you just wished Bauaa Singh would get lost in space for ever and ever. Fans wondered if he had found a new set of fake friends who were giving him bad advice. Then someone even suggested, ‘Maybe this film is some kind of hostage video…’
But his Eid video on Instagram made up for the 164 minutes of a film that gave us Zero joy. Plus there was Raees. For my sins I reviewed the film, and people were sceptical. How could a declared fan ever write an objective review? I was outraged, ‘Did I not write an honest review of Dilwale? Where the garage belonged to Rohit Shetty but Shah Rukh was channelling whatever was leftover from Josh?’
But for every Happy New Year - which was clearly created so his fans could collectively facepalm and create a world record - there is a Raees. Oh Mah Dear Lord! There is a Raees. There is a Raees in a black Pathani suit (copies of which were hung at every self-respecting tailor’s window near Lakdi ka pul in old Hyderabad as well as in Ludhiana. The look and the slo-mo swag was inimitable but people tried. I remember offering the food delivery chap a wet tissue so he could wipe the surma off his eyes. He looked more like a raccoon than Miyabhai himself. That movie was so effective, I felt pur unadulterated hatred toward Nawazuddin Siddiqui for weeks after the film.
Even the fans were taken aback to watch him eat noodles with dahi with his fingers, but I secretly thought he looked rather cute in his curly orphan Annie wig. But we were seduced again into believing that he was all Don, Khaike Paan Banaraswala and more! (if I watch the video today I still gnash my teeth at the silly girl who doesn’t take the paan he so offers her! Such a wasted opportunity!)
Speaking of sweet offerings, I cannot forget the moment when Kajol is ready to pop that chocolate in her mouth and notices Shah Rukh. He’s raising his elbows and blowing up his cheeks as though he’s ballooning. To indicate that she’s going to put on weight with that chocolate. It’s problematic people thought, but I remember little else from that critically acclaimed movie. I’d rather remember him falling hard for Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om. I remember the whole movie like I wrote it. The film is a delight for all the film references, the awesome costumes and dialogue. Fans will recognise that they too have spoken to pictures of the stars they love on the billboards!
It would be remiss of me to not mention the swoon worthy ‘Punjab Power, lighting up your life’ role in Rab Ne bana Di Jodi. Surinder or Raj, I loved them both. Especially because the film made me take a trip to the nearest pani-puri wallah.
If Raj could seduce you into dancing and eating pani puri, coach Kabir made you believe that your life too has ‘sattar minutes’ and that is how you play the game of life. He was magnificent as Kabir Khan and Mohan Bhargav. Two roles that cannot be played by anyone else but him. Mohan Bhargav in the train, and on the boat are pure Shah Rukh.
When people ask me why I still like him when he wears a suit without a shirt, or acts in bizarre movies like Guddu, I pretend I’m Shankar Thakur… I don’t want to analyse why the SRK wave despite the many dips in the ocean is always cresting like some Hokusai painting. It just is. And even though your heart does somersaults when he gets this close to say ‘Main Yahan Hoon, Yahaan Hoon, Yahan Hoon Yahaan!’ you want to sing loudly ‘Tu Hai Sode Ki Botal, Main Banta Tera!’
My fangirlness may be mortifying to others, but it is not an ordeal to me! Here’s looking at you Shah Rukh! Happy Birthday! See you as Pathaan soon!
About the author:
Manisha Lakhe writes on films and TV shows, is a poet, teacher, traveller and mom (and not necessarily in that order). Could sell her soul for Pinot and a good cheesecake.
(Disclaimer: Views expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of OTTplay. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.)