Happy birthday, Shah Rukh! King Khan’s journey to Zero through 10 defining films

Shah Rukh Khan rose to superstardom through carefully chosen roles and superbly curated career moves. At 53, SRK defines success in the Hindi film industry.

In 1992, Shah Rukh Khan made his Bollywood debut with 'Deewana'. (Source: Twitter)
In 1992, Shah Rukh Khan made his Bollywood debut with ‘Deewana’. (Source: Twitter)

Shah Rukh Khan’s journey from a middle-class Delhi family to stardom is well documented. SRK, who turned 53 on Friday, rose to superstardom on the back of his carefully chosen roles and superbly curated career moves. His haters may number very close to his fans but no one can deny screen presence and popularity across the globe. Apart from his romantic on-screen persona, what endears him to the masses is his charm and incomparable wit.

Shah Rukh had his share of struggle after he lost his father to cancer in 1981. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and enrolled for a masters in journalism. But, that’s when destiny played its game and Shah Rukh got his first acting break with Doordarshan’s Fauji.

Playing the role of Captain Abhimanyu Rai, SRK made his way to the audiences’ hearts and caught the eyes of producers as well.

In 1992, the actor made his Bollywood debut with ‘Deewana’ for which he went on him the Filmfare for the best male debutant. The film did well on the box-office and was a hit. This was followed with a few more good movies like ‘Chamatkaar’ and ‘Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman’ but Shah Rukh was yet to prove his crowd-pulling abilities with a solo lead role.

The game changed a year later when Shah Rukh delivered two of his most iconic performances in a span of 45 days. ‘Baazigar’ directed by Abbas-Mustan helped SRK reach out to a different class of film-lovers by breaking his ‘chocolate hero’ image. The actor admirably switched between Vicky and Ajay and went on to the Filmfare award for the best actor.

In the same year, he also starred in Yash Raj film’s ‘Darr’ – a movie that is believed to have changed his career. At a time when lead actors were very conscious about their on-screen image, Shah Rukh took a huge risk by playing an obsessive lover against Sunny Deol as (one of the top actors of that era) protagonist. SRK did a brilliant job of the role and was nominated for the best actor in a negative role but lost to Paresh Rawal.

During his address at the University of Edinburgh, Shah Rukh recalled that many people said that his decision to act in Darr would take his rising career down but contrary to the popular belief, it began SRK’s lifelong association with YRF.

IN PICS | King Khan’s stunning car collection also has a Bugatti Veyron!

In 1995, Shah Rukh collaborated with Salman Khan for one of the best films of the decade – ‘Karan Arjun’. The story of reincarnation of two brothers remains to be a cult and is often played on television sets. The same year he acted in YRF’s ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’.

The move paid well as his character of Raj became a hit and not only DDLJ became a cult classic but also earned SRK the tag of most romantic hero in Bollywood. The film is still played in theatres and earned Shah Rukh his second Filmfare for best actor in a lead role.

He owned the 90s with movies like ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’ and ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ in the second half of the decade, raising the bar of romance in the country. The girls were swooning over SRK and dreaming of a partner like Raj or Rahul, immortalised by the actor.

The dawn of millennium showed a different side of Shah Rukh Khan as an actor where he tried to break that image of an ideal lover. After a couple of decent efforts like ‘Aśoka’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…’, he was finally able to earn critical acclaim with performances in ‘Devdas’ and ‘Swades’. The latter – a story of an NRI who visits his village and is taken aback by its state. The film saw SRK step into the shoes of a common man.

In 2007, Shah Rukh bettered the performance with ‘Chak De India’ where he played the role of a hockey coach who inspires the women’s team to a win against all odds. His ‘sattar minute’ dialogue from Chak De is one of the most inspiring scenes in Bollywood films.

Shah Rukh starred in many good films over the last decade like ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’, ‘My Name Is Khan’ and ‘Fan’ but added a new chapter to his acting career with Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi’ where he played a free-spirited psychologist who helps Alia Bhatt’s character to gain a new perspective on her life.

As the star turns 53, here’s wishing him a very happy birthday.

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