'I am going a bit schizophrenic with what Shoaib is saying'

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Sep 30 2011, 07:15am hrs
Shah Rukh Khan is in transition. After ruling the Hindi film industry as a superstar for nearly two decades, he is on the verge of fulfilling his childhood dream of turning into a superhero with the release of his film Ra.One next month. However, before that happens, the Express Adda held at Olive Bar and Kitchen in Mumbai on Tuesday provided that rare platform to understand the life and journey of the 44-year-old heart-throb.

The adda, moderated by Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of The Express Group, and Priyanka Sinha Jha, Editor of Screen, had all the trappings of a memorable evening Khan, who has long mastered the art of holding an engaging conversation, a rapt and intelligent audience and the cosy setting of Olives courtyard in suburban Bandra.

Gupta began the evening by busting a myth about the actor. He let out that Khan, who owns an enviable six-pack, was hungry when he reached the venue and before coming to the stage enjoyed a snack platter. As the adda, progressed, many such anecdotes, secrets tumbled out.

The actor, famous for his self-deprecating humour, kick-started the evening of fun and banter by taking a mock vow to quit smoking. This was followed by his candid confession: Actors toh hote hi jhoote hain (Actors are after all liars). The fact that I have been an actor for 20 years and lasted, makes me the the biggest liar in the world. My mom believed everything that I said. I told her that I look like Dilip Kumar and one day I will be bigger than Amitabh Bachchan. And she believed that.

As questions regarding his bathroom secrets, association with cricketers, family, insecurities, school days, rivals and several other aspects of his life as well as career kept coming, Khan answered them with his characteristic wit, punctuated with great one-liners.

Sample this. While talking about controversial Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar who played for Khans Kolkata Knight Riders IPL team, Khan said, I got very offended with a few of Shoaibs remarks saying that I owe him money, but then in the next interview I hear him calling me his elder brother. I myself am going a bit schizophrenic with what Shoaib is saying. Or, mouthing his oft-repeated line: I am cheap. But I dont come free. These lines ensured that the pebble-carpeted venue was filled with laughter and applause for nearly two hours.

Such an intimate interaction also brought out his inherent candour, at a setting other than his filmmaker friend Karan Johars chat show. The physical fear I have is that I may lose my arms. But emotionally, I fear what if I wake up in the morning and I dont have any emotions to give people. Adda made him reveal his deepest desires. I dont want to ever grow old. I want to be handsome at the age of 95, said the actor, nattily dressed in a white shirt with black collar and sporting a ponytail.

Being the complete entertainer that Khan is, the evening saw him in his elementsfrom crooning his favourite qawwalis to showing off his Chammak Challo moves. It was also an opportunity for him to catch up with his friends, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Anupama Chopra and his doctor Sanjay Desai. Film personalities like actors Poonam Dhillon and Tara Deshpande, filmmaker Vinta Nanda, Nonita Kalra, Editor-in-Chief, ELLE India, fashion designer Salim Asgarally, Raj Nayak, CEO of Colors, and Ashok P. Hinduja, chairman of Hinduja Group India, too, joined the adda among others.

The evenings biggest revelation came towards the end. While answering a question on the rising popularity of his once-friend-now-rival Salman Khan, the Ra.One producer-actor said, This is the very spot where we had a fight some time ago. There are times when two individuals cant think alike and we lead our lives differently. However, I loved Salmans film Dabangg. So did my kids. I wish all the happiness that he deserves.