Shah Rukh Khan is trying his luck out in a romantic film after a long time. The actor is known as the ‘King of Romance’ for years now because of his incredible performances in the movies like ‘Dilwale Dulhaniyan Le Jayenge’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, ‘Veer Zaara’ and many others. Over the years, he has portrayed many legendary characters like ‘Raj’ and ‘Rahul’ who have been critically acclaimed for being one of the best characters on the big screen. However, SRK says that Harry may very well be the evolution of all of them. In a chat with Shah Rukh Khan regarding how Harry is different from his previous characters, he had a lot of things to say…
“After a long time, we’re seeing a leading man play a guide on screen.
I think it’s extremely romantic to play a guide. Dev Saab played a very intense one, there was Shashi Kapoor Saab in ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ and also Aamir Khan in ‘Raja Hindustani’. It’s a romantic character. The guide is a metaphor for someone who takes you on a journey of self-revelation. This is an Imtiaz Ali film and has the tagline ‘What you seek is seeking you’. We’ve not gone completely contemporary ki guide aise hote hain. Perhaps he’s not happy with his job. He has his life experiences. The idea of the film is that he’s supposed to be the one you’re following and during the course of the story, he also finds what he’s looking for.
For those familiar with ‘Guide’, Dev Anand’s character is memorable. Do you think Harry, too, will become as memorable for the audience today?
It’s difficult to compare Harry with Dev saab’s Raju guide. Imtiaz writes so realistically. There are enough people in the world who will be like Harry — they’ll have a past, or may not have been able to do what they wished to do. Harry is a Punjabi, who has got his own issues in life. Somewhere, the guide starts taking guidance… it happens to all of us. I don’t know how memorable it will be, but I think people will identify with Harry and connect with this honest love story.
Imtiaz’s love stories are contemporary and don’t follow the conventional format.
He deals more with the unsaid emotions — what two people are going through due to the different circumstances they are in. This film has a strong love story, it doesn’t fly off the hook. It’s not completely in a zone that is poetic, but not prose either. Imtiaz was clear that he wanted to give it a little more earthiness. The emotions are much more grounded.
The one thing I will tell you is that every filmmaker who wants to make a love story will want to make one with me, even if they have already made enough. I’m not being pompous, but somewhere down the line, whenever there is a love scene or a moment of romance, each of these free-thinking directors turns around and say, ‘Sir, yeh aap hi se toh seekha hai. Aap batao kaise karoge?’ As an actor, I’d never like to change the language. For me, it’s encouraging and means two things — one, they have seen it and learnt it from me and so, I shouldn’t do it the same way. And two, I should speak the language of the director and not make it like how I had done it in an earlier film. I’m not playing this young bubbly boy; I’m playing a guy who has seen life.
I believe Harry could be the evolution of how Raj and Rahul would be. He’s decent, has a sense of humour and some anger. Inherently, a lover is someone who demands love, he doesn’t beg for it and respects the woman he is in love with. When Imtiaz narrated the story, we did a few rehearsals. He had Anushka in mind and had spoken to her. The marriage happened because I respect his language and he respects the love I have for a love story.
In most love stories, the leading lady takes center stage. Is it the same with Anushka’s Sejal?
It has to. In ‘Om Shanti Om’, though it is about reincarnation, the girl is central to the plot — the old heroine and the new girl. Same is the case with Kajol in ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ and Deepika in ‘Chennai Express’. In this film, Anushka as Sejal is endearing, irritating and lovable, all at the same time. I’ve no inhibitions in saying this; she does play the most important character in the film. There is some real strength in the character. With Sejal, the love story moves forward.