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Tying Up With Time
Published: Volume 21, Issue 11, November, 2013
Celebrating the 50-year-milestone of the Tag Heuer Carrera, actor Shah Rukh Khan speaks about how time has worked for him

It’s a scene he lives with every day of his real life. The hotel swarming with cameramen, the door filled with eager fans, larger-than-life posters of his last release pasted all over the huge room and an awe-struck gathering hanging on to his words. And yet the actor manages to look so rooted and focussed on the task in hand in the midst of the hullabaloo that you wonder how he syncs his fun-loving yet self-confessed introverted self with his pronounced star demeanour. Dressed on this day in the characteristic black he sports for formal occasions, he looks cool, smart and fit. He is in full flow, playing the role of Shah Rukh Khan the superstar to the hilt.

Speaking on the importance of time and his latest achievements, Khan admits that he is happy with the success that has come his way. Ask him how he markets himself and his films and he stumps you by saying, “I don’t spend more than five to seven minutes on the marketing strategy of my films. I do give my inputs which are probably very bang-on because I have lived my films for some time”

For this superstar, the first love always remains acting. “All I can do is act; all the other roles I ‘enact’ because I am supposed to do them. But I am most in my element when reading a script. I am an actor and that is the only thing I know how to be. I never wanted to be normal. I’m not one of those stars who pines to walk on the beach unnoticed. If I want to be alone on a beach I will buy one.”

Enjoying attention however does not mean he gets sucked into the superficial idiom of life. Instead Shah Rukh Khan the superstar, insists that he enjoys the simple and the ordinary. “Ordinary is very special. My kids and I lead a simple life. On the sets all of us are just doing a job. We talk of the simplest things in life, share our dabbas, shoot and go home. At home when you shut the door you are yourself. It’s when you face the world that you have to play superstar. In fact on the Chennai Express sets Deepika and I would constantly talk about coming to Delhi to eat Moolchand ke paranthe!”

Khan can talk on any subject, at length and with felicity, and yet he admits, “I am shy and don’t easily open up to people. At large gatherings I sit quietly and observe others. That’s why I get scared in cities like San Francisco where all those over friendly Americans want to chat when you hail a cab or go to a store to buy stuff.”

A man who has travelled to several cities and countries, Khan says, “I love London for its greyness and the fact that it has so many Asians there. I also love Dubai because I have a home there. Basically I love cities where I feel at home.”

He is in New Delhi for the 50 years milestone of the Tag Heuer Carrera where the brand celebrates its rich history and its affinity to motor sports.

He is endorsing the Tag Heuer Carerra 1887 Space X commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first Swiss Watch in space. He insists that his relationship with the brand is very organic. “I love Tag Heuer for its simplicity. I believe that a watch is a watch is a watch. Besides, I like dressing simply and am not interested in over-fussy, over-dressy watches full of contraptions. In addition to using a watch to see the time I only use it as a stopwatch when my kids are running.”

Ask him how time has changed for him, and he informs, “I smell better today.” On a serious note he adds, “Time is where you are. For me it is here and now. Every moment you live is the first moment of your life. For me though every shot is like my first shot, it is also like my last shot. I want it to be so good that I am remembered for my last shot and I want to work so hard as if it were my first shot.”

Travelling back in time he lists some of his best films: “Darr and Baazigar for the negative roles, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge for the romance, Chak De! India for the message and the story, Don for its racy plot and My Name Is Khan for the subject.”

Khan feels that the roles one selects are in a way an extension of one’s personality. He remembers meeting the veteran actor K N Singh who was blind in his old age and taught him a lesson in acting he cherishes most. “He ran his hands across my face and said that I had a very interesting face. He then told me to remember two things: observe a lot and then when you get a chance, translate your observation into your acting.”

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