Shah Rukh Khan is calm, smiling and ready with the words on the afternoon of My Name Is Khan’s global premiere in Abu Dhabi. The interviews are running a couple of hours late, but that doesn’t faze the Khan. He’s being asked the same questions over and over again and that doesn’t bore him either. In a one-on-one with masala.com, Shah Rukh talks about his hopes and fears and explains exactly what he means by being Indian.
Excerpts from the interview:
What are your hopes for ‘My Name Is Khan’, when it releases in India on Friday?
When you’ve worked for so long and hard on a film, we just hope that the film opens well, that the maximum number of people gets to see it. This is a dramatic love story that talks about goodness and honesty. I hope people will sit through the two and a half hours of it and come away satisfied and entertained.
I hope ‘My Name Is Khan’ is released smoothly in my city and that many people get to see it in the first days.
And your fears?
It is unfortunate that I cannot release the movie the way I want to in my own city. I feel sad. I want everyone to be able to go and see it in peace.
I have said, again and again, that if you have an issue with me, we can talk about it. This is not just my film. The livelihood of 300-400 people is dependent on it. Let it release well, let it run smoothly. I hope everyone concerned has the graciousness to let the movie release easily.
Everyone should be able to go and see the movie without fear.
I thank the government, the cops and everyone who has supported me. You have the right to have a different ideology, but you do not have the right to be aggressive about it.
You’ve said, ‘an actor is never brave on a Thursday’. A day ahead of your release, do you feel any different?
It’s only a Wednesday, so I’m still brave (laughs). Maybe tomorrow I will feel different. But truly, there is nothing else that I can say or do. May be one day I will look back upon this unfortunate incident and think ‘What I did was wrong’. May be I will think, ‘What I did was NOT wrong’. Anyway, there is no Pakistani player in the IPL, so that agenda is all over.
You’ve seen how, in the UAE, Indians and Pakistanis live and work happily together…
I have always been pro-relationship. Why would people want to beat each other? We need to come together, different countries, different cultures and build relationships. Even the most warring nations need to come together to talk.
How would you define being Indian?
Having freedom. Freedom to earn, to live, to breathe, to laugh, to cry, to talk. Freedom in every sense of the word. I am fortunate enough to belong to the generation who has seen some great leaders who are still in our politics. Economically, India is shining. But nothing will really happen if we’re not free. I want my kids to grow up in a country that’s free.
* Read the full SRK interview in Masala! magazine, on the stands on February 18.