The many avatars of Shah Rukh Khan
Can King Khan do anything?
Actors routinely experiment but Shah Rukh Khan has often been slammed for being repetitive, for coasting on his romantic hero laurels and not experimenting with characters as well as he should.
Yet in a few days, we'll see him play a superhero. Here's a look at 10 different kinds of SRK roles, some of which proved less impressive than others, but all of which showed at least attempted range.
Superhero in RA.One
Forget the jheri-curl'd geek, Khan's next film has him in superhero mode as G.One, with a look inspired by Tron Legacy, a heart (read HART) inspired by Iron Man, and powers apparently inspired by Storm, Magneto and Rajanikanth. Will he deliver the goods? Let's wait and see.
Image: Shah Rukh Khan in RA.One
Scientist in Swades
In Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades, Khan left behind the fancy branded clothes and pulled on muted checked-shirts to play a self-searching NASA scientist in India to give something back to the country of his origin.
It remains one of Khan's most applauded performances so far.
Image: A still from Swades
Hockey Coach in Chak De! India
Shah Rukh played a disgraced hockey coach in Shimit Amin's Chak De India, and his Kabir Khan took a ragtag team of underdog women from across the country to victory in the World Cup.
Inspirational and awesome, not to mention uncharacteristically restrained, this is Khan at the height of his powers.
Image: A still from Chak De! India
Private Eye in Baadshah
This loony Abbas-Mastan film features Shah Rukh as a caricatured detective, a Private Eye who loves codenames and gadgets and quickly finds himself out of his depth in the middle of an assassination plot.
It's a weird farce, but Khan carries it off with an infectious enthusiasm.
Image: A still form Baadshah
Movie extra in Om Shanti Om
The biggest movie star in the country played a mere starry-eyed extra in Farah Khan's superhit, dreaming of not just the big time but the biggest film heroine (played by Deepika Padukone) of the time.
Both died on the same night, and Khan was reborn not just as a star, but a Kapoor. Perfect.
Image: A still from Om Shanti Om
Radio journalist in Dil Se
Mani Ratnam's underrated but finely crafted Dil Se saw Khan play Amar Verma, a journalist with All India Radio.
Khan let go of his then-usual foibles to get into the skin of the character -- sincere, hapless, smitten, helpless, compelled -- and gave us a performance to applaud.
Image: Shah Rukh with Manisha Koirala in Dil Se
School teacher in Mohabbatein
Was Khan's brief in Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein to model sweaters? If yes, then he did admirably well in this film as he showcased a bunch of cashmere and mohair types.
Outside of spectacles, sweaters and scowls, though, the film or character didn't have much to offer at all.
Image: A still from Mohabbatein
Truck driver in Chalte Chalte
There are certain roles which ought be left only to Sunny Deol. Aamir Khan tried driving lorries in Mela to disastrous results, and Shah Rukh's turn in Chalte Chalte, while commercially successful, remains one of his most miscast efforts.
He tries hard for flavour, but fails at authenticity. Or soul.
Image: Shah Rukh with Rani Mukerji in Chalte Chalte
Army major in Main Hoon Na
In Farah Khan's debut film, Khan played and undercover army officer sent to infiltrate a college and protect a young girl.
And while he had fun making friends and falling for his teacher, his military training was demonstrably in full force whenever he had to step up physically.
Image: A still from Main Hoon Na
Make up salesman in My Name Is Khan
Khan played a man with Asperger's Syndrome in Karan Johar's last film, who then took up a job selling make-up door to door.
It was a dogged effort but Khan's character's inherent likeability and sincerity made him an effective seller (constant repetition just emphasised his point) and the women lapped him up.
Image: A still form My Name Is Khan