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'If I were to make Devdas again, I'd still cast Shah Rukh'

By Subhash K Jha
November 02, 2015 14:44 IST
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'Everyone has his destiny.'

'Shah Rukh became an overnight star with Deewana. I remember they had shot half the film with another actor. Shah Rukh came into the project at a late stage. If that isn't destiny, what is?'

Shah Rukh Khan's directors celebrate the superstar.

As Shah Rukh Khan celebrates his 50th birthday on November 2, his directors look back at their successful work with the King Khan.

We take a look:

Farhan Akhtar: Shah Rukh's energy level is infectious

Shah Rukh Khan in Don

Shah Rukh and I have been friends from before Don.

Both of us are ardent fans of Don and Amitabh Bachchan.

In terms of his real-life personality, Don suits Shah Rukh to the hilt. In real life too, there's a certain flamboyance and magnetism about Shah Rukh. He brings these qualities effortlessly to the part.

He has great respect and love for the original Don. At the same time, he gives the character his own spin.

Farhan AkhtarIn the second Don, we took the essence of what Shah Rukh did in the first Don, and then we gave him new things to do. 

Shah Rukh's energy level is infectious. He gives intelligent suggestions. Since I'm always open to suggestions, I enjoy Shah Rukh's inputs. We had a whole lot of fun even though it was a lot of hard work.

We knew what Mr Bachchan had done to the song Khai Ke Paan Banaraswala. Shah Rukh and I weren't even thinking about it when we took the plunge.

We’re great fans of the song. But what Saroj Khan did with Khai Ke Paan is incredible. Of course, there's an element of deja vu in the choreography. But Sarojji took the number somewhere else.

In fact, all of us paid homage to the earlier Don. We improved on the technical value immensely but how far could we go with technique alone? There are many occasions in the film when any other star would have insisted on a double. But Shah Rukh did not. And that's a blessing.

I did not have to worry about audiences pointing to my hero's face and saying it's someone else. Don 2 has tougher action scenes than the first Don but not once did Shah Rukh show any reluctance about doing the stunts. He just came and did what he had to without complaining. There are lots of heart-in-the-mouth stunts which Shah Rukh insisted on performing.

 

Sanjay Leela Bhansali: If I were to make Devdas again, I’d still cast Shah Rukh 

Shah Rukh Khan in Devdas

Working with Shah Rukh in Devdas was a completely new experience.

I wanted my Devdas to be a simple, volatile, boy-man, who’s angry and mean and yet has a sad streak that shimmers in his eyes.

Shah Rukh, as Devdas, could convey shades of anger and self-destruction. I feel any human being, who can’t control his anger, ultimately destroys his creative energy.

Being a good human being, Devdas would rather destroy himself than the others who love him.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘I can’t destroy Paro or Chandramukhi, so I’ll destroy myself,’ is what Devdas feels.

Shah Rukh seemed just right.

I fell in love with his performance. He understood the character without losing his spontaneity. Obviously, the pressures of matching up to K L Saigalsaab and Dilipsaab (Kumar) who played Devdas earlier, were there. But he did not allow them to bog him down.

I had my doubts before working with him. But it’s his most endearing and honest performance. The performance came amidst all his personal problems. He was able to project the personal turmoil on screen. If I were to make Devdas again, I’d still cast Shah Rukh.

Devdas was a very restless man, like Shah Rukh. But Devdas is a man who does very little. The challenge of having Shah Rukh express implosive rage was what got me. If I let Devdas behave like Shah Rukh, he’d be a lot more mobile on screen. 

Unlike the Shah Rukh Khan in Darr, Baazigar, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, there’s an amazing childlike vulnerability and honesty in the Shah Rukh of Devdas. 

When Devdas looks at his mother, he looks as a child not a  man.

Unlike the character in the novel, he never disguises his emotions. He does not calculate his emotional expressions. He’s uncorrupted. That’s the most endearing part of his personality. He will always be the archetypal lover because he’s innocent. 

 

Aziz Mirza: Shah Rukh is like my own child

Shah Rukh Khan in Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman

Shah Rukh is like my own child. I can never move away from him.

The only reason Shah Rukh was not in my last film Kismat Konnection was because the role required a young boy, just out of college. In fact, the minute Juhi Chawla heard the role she said she could see a younger Shah Rukh in it. That's how Shahid Kapoor came in.

Shah Rukh and I did Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Yes Boss together. Both were important films in the early part of Shah Rukh’s career.

Aziz MirzaIt's wrong to say I helped his career. Everyone has his destiny.

Shah Rukh became an overnight star with Deewana. I remember they had shot half the film with another actor. Shah Rukh came into the project at a late stage. If that isn't destiny, what is?

I have done four films with Shah Rukh. One doesn't have to work constantly with the ones one loves. Some relationships go beyond the professional. Shah Rukh is certainly one of them.

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Subhash K Jha
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