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Shah Rukh Khan
Controversy seems to be Shah Rukh Khan's best friend these days.
Even as dust swirls around the 'misunderstandings' between him and Amitabh Bachchan, a new antagonist seems to have entered the fray -- the Bachchans' close friend, politician Amar Singh.
The trouble began when Shah Rukh Khan, hosting an award function, joked that he could see 'darindagi' (evil intent) in Amar Singh's eyes.
Singh did not react immediately but, after he returned to New Delhi, vowed he too would insult Khan in public function when he gets an opportunity.
Then, on March 5, a crowd gathered outside Khan's home in Bandra, Mumbai, demanding an apology from the superstar; SRK was not home at the time.
SRK: KBC is not a bolt out of the blue
The Samajwadi Party -- Amar Singh is its general secretary -- said the protestors were not its members. For once, though, the normally cool Khan refuses to take the incident lightly; the protests had frightened his six-year-old daughter who began crying.
In an interview to Mumbai tabloid Mid-Day's Sarita Tanwar, Khan said he would have not have spared the protestors. Exceprts:
Your dig at Amar Singh at an recent award function created quite a furore.
It's silly. I have been hosting that show for many years with Saif (Ali Khan), and we've always made fun of people, including Hrithik (Roshan), Sanjay Dutt, Yash Chopra, Aamir Khan, Binod Pradhan and even myself. I am very clear about this: there is genuinely no malice in what I say.
I mostly pick on my friends, who understand my sense of humour. My whole idea of that awards function was to go indoors and do it like the Oscars, so let's have fun. I am no Billy Crystal or Ellen DeGeneres or whatever.
SRK: I don't like romance
But I have a sense of humour, and if we can all laugh at each other, then why not? Yes, it is important to laugh privately, that's why I didn't enjoy it as much in the open. We are making fun of each other in front of a lot of other people, not just the fraternity.
Amar Singh took offence.
Within the fraternity, we don't take these things personally. and I would imagine that anyone who is at an awards function is from the fraternity.
If you come to an awards function, you become part of the fraternity. And, if by virtue of that fact I see you at every awards function, you'd better be ready to take a joke.
Amar Singh's supporters protested outside your house after your comment.
I had to cancel my shoot and rush home four hours early because my six-and-a-half-year old daughter (Suhana) was crying. People were screaming and shouting outside my house.
My eight-year-old son (Aryan) wasn't crying, but he was made to stay in the house just in case someone decided to throw something or scream abuses. That scares me to the extent of not having any fear at all.
If you scare me by saying that you will harm me, I will be scared, because if I die, who will look after my kids? But if you threaten my children, I will not be in self preservation mode.
'I don't give messages, I try to entertain people'
I can give my life for my kids. Come on, there are only women in my house. My wife wasn't there, my sister is not well and my little daughter was crying. I don't like it! I am a Pathan and I am very, very, very, very protective about my family.
Did you think of calling Amar Singh?
No. I wouldn't. My wife will be very scared when she reads what I am about to say, but if I'd been there... if I'd reached before the cops cleared the protestors... I would have made them all cry for making my daughter cry. And that's the promise of a Pathan.
I would not have spared them. You don't make my children cry. If you have a problem, talk to me. I know where that crowd came from, but now I am being told that Amar Singh did not send them.
Twenty fans of his came from all over India to protest. It's okay. Maybe he didn't send them. I'd like to give him the benefit of doubt because I never lie, so I assume that no one else would either. But don't you scare my harmless kids.
Would you think twice before cracking a joke again?
Like I said, I joke with my friends. If I don't joke with you, you are not my friend. So the next time, I will see. I've been very disturbed after this incident. My daughter crying is not a joking matter.
I take it very seriously. How seriously I take it depends on when I come face-to-face with the people responsible. I wish they'd been there when I arrived, but the cops took them away as soon television channels got there.
SRK: Sometimes ideals have to take a back seat
What I said was a joke. If you can't take a joke, don't come for these events. They're meant for the fraternity. You make a big issue and ask my wife to apologise? Balls. My wife will not apologise to anyone.
Amar Singh has said he will humiliate you in public too.
Let me just say that it is not in my nature to humiliate anyone. I have never done that. I am too educated, too apolitical and too courteous. You know, in all comic acts, the guys sitting in the front row get picked on.
Come on, it's a joke and one should not try to make it more serious. There are a lot more serious issues that the association of 20 people who came to my house can look into rather than scare my daughter.
I take that very personally. And I am not even the kind of guy who expects an apology for this. It depends how I feel the next time. Just remember, I am a demented Pathan.
How will you react when you come face-to-face with Amar Singh now?
I don't know. I don't think in advance. I will not joke with him, that's for sure. Amar Singh said somewhere that 'Shah Rukh makes jokes publicly and apologises privately.'
SRK: I want my kids to take me seriously
I have privately apologised to no one. I would apologise publicly if I felt I had done something wrong. The only thing I do privately is meet friends. I find that whole drama outside my house a little over-the-top, and there are a lot of stories about why it happened.
It could be because elections were on, the publicity factor, whatever, so they did it as my cost. It's okay. I am a public figure. People use me for everything. You can use me too.
But don't bring people to my house knowing fully well that my kids are alone. I don't like that. I have not said anything to your kids, neither will I do that. I would only wish children well. It's in my nature to wish children well.
Kind courtesy: Mid-day. To read the complete interview, click here.
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