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Ek Ticket, Ek Black Coffee: I watched Brahmastra and realised how much we’re starved for Shah Rukh Khan

WARNING: Lots of SPOILERS AHEAD! Tread with caution...

Ek Ticket, Ek Black Coffee: I watched Brahmastra and realised how much we’re starved for Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan essays Vanarastra in Ayan Mukerji's Brahmastra (Image via Twitter)

  • Manisha Lakhe

Last Updated: 02.04 PM, Sep 19, 2022

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"That’s me," he says, while my jaw has dropped into the big tub of popcorn. "Jungle ka sabse furteela janwar" - And I also realised that I have gasped loudly. Two totally opposing breath reactions only a fan would understand. Shah Rukh Khan is smiling knowingly into the camera. He’s not talking to the two baddies in his filmy New Delhi penthouse. He’s got that knowing smile for us, the audience, who has been starved to see him on the big screen. And boy! Does he chew up the scenery effortlessly? 

The Marvel fan inside me is now as awake as Shah Rukh’s Vanarastra pose in the air as I realise his penthouse in saddi Dilli looks like Iron Man’s home. And what is a desk doing on a balcony? Why aren’t papers flying about… 

I am wholly into the happenings on the big screen, whooping with delight at his playfulness, having forgotten that Shah Rukh has not been in a full-fledged movie as the lead, on the big screen since Zero. His Goga Pasha - the magician in Tubelight was like thirst trap pictures on Instagram. They put a silly meaningless tattoo on his face and gave him some funny pants and a genie jacket… He helped the village idiot (played by Salman Khan) move a banta bottle across a table. When he told Salman’s character to believe in himself, I did too. And just like that, he vanished from the screen. 

Back to Brahmastra. I watch Shah Rukh destroy his penthouse as he jumps from one wall to another, and I ask, "Dude, you can fly! Why don’t you just fly away? The two clearly don’t know how to!" But he’s flying right back down to meet a determined Mouni Roy, who ties him up to his chair and subjugates him. There are sighs in the audience. Mostly women. And I know the reason for those sighs. I grin, Shah Rukh is tied to a chair in front of me! Woo-Hoo! But she’s a dumb villain who despite claims, ‘We know what you were going to do!’ says something super dumb, "Batao, Scientist!"

Shah Rukh Khan in a still from Brahmastra (Image via Twitter)
Shah Rukh Khan in a still from Brahmastra (Image via Twitter)

Aah, the Shah Rukh Khan effect! It has happened to me IRL: I have turned into a blubbering moron when introduced to him. That’s why I feel bad for Mouni Roy who has to call him Scientist so many times that she begins to sound sillier and sillier. And when Shah Rukh says, "Enough!" we realise that we too have had enough of Mouni pretending to be Wanda’s understudy in Doctor Strange’s Multiverse, red mani, red eyes et al. 

The gobbledygook she spouts so that her Voldemort Brahmadev can finally have a body is howlarious. Most of the time, her wrists are twisting and her hands are doing this, 'OMG my fake nails are too heavy’ thing and you feel bad for her because she’s trying too hard to be a baddie but she’s facing Shah Rukh who seems to be supremely unimpressed by her sharp intakes of breath and flashing eyes… 

Shah Rukh Khan in a still from Brahmastra (Image via Twitter)
Shah Rukh Khan in a still from Brahmastra (Image via Twitter)

Meanwhile, Shah Rukh Khan looks so gorgeous sitting in the chair, telling us 'Catch me if you can!' What kind of bitter multigrain toast is this? Is Ranbir Kapoor not confident enough to share the stage with the awesomeness called Shah Rukh (and yes, Nagarjuna as well)? Did they think Shiva would be overshadowed by the Scientist and the Artist? Is that why they also sent people with power - the brahmansh - scurrying away to safety when the war of all times (something that they should have been ready for because they were preparing for the encounter for their lifetime) shows up on their doorstep? Who ends up defending the good guys? Five interns and a DJ… Bah!

It makes me want to join the bandwagon that is demanding a spinoff on social media. Why is Shah Rukh doing this to us? I have been teased enough. And yes, I have a confession. I watched Shah Rukh Khan appear in Laal Singh Chadda on the terrace of a building in the hood and make young Laal’s dancing style his own. My hands went out to the screen then to my mouth as I channelled my inner Kirron Kher and said, ‘Waari jaawaan!’ to see a very, very young Shah Rukh pick up a dancing cue from Laal Singh Chaddha. And after that, I promptly fell asleep in the movie…

Don’t even ask how I closed my eyes to hear Shah Rukh’s voice narrate the disastrous movie made from an eminently readable book. How many teasers can my heart handle until Pathaan? And then the little Twitter birdie beeps an alert. I can actually hear him say, "The grey tee is mine!" Young Shah Rukh in Adidas shoes can turn heads that are younger. I want the real thing. The real deal, the dad of dads - the Badshah who brought romance back into my life… Until then, I am going to pretend that I am the camera in Suraj Hua Maddham touching those shoulders. And then dance like a banshee because ‘Woh yaar hai jo khushboo ki tarah’ is saying, ‘Main yahaan hoon, yahaan hoon…’ Sigh! 

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.)

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