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The many avatars of Shah Rukh Khan

Last updated on: October 20, 2011 17:10 IST

Image: Shah Rukh Khan in RA.One

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.

Scientist in Swades

Image: A still from 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.

Hockey Coach in Chak De! India

Image: A still from 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.

Private Eye in Baadshah

Image: A still form 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.

Movie extra in Om Shanti Om

Image: A still from 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.

Radio journalist in Dil Se

Image: Shah Rukh with Manisha Koirala 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.

School teacher in Mohabbatein

Image: A still from 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.

Truck driver in Chalte Chalte

Image: Shah Rukh with Rani Mukerji 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.

Army major in Main Hoon Na

Image: A still from 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.

Make up salesman in My Name Is Khan

Image: A still form 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.