Shah Rukh Khan ranks as the 41st most powerful person in the World according to Newsweek magazine, one place above Osama Bin Laden and one place below Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.com. The list is produced annually and of course is open to argument (no Amitabh?) but does provide some entertainment and forms the basis of much end-of-year party discussion. Barack Obama comes out as no.1 on the list — even though he’s not yet President — with Hu Jintao as no.2 and Nicolas Sarkozy as no.3 — really? Sonia Gandhi clocks in at no.17 and the highest placed American actor is Will Smith, although not in the top 50. Many would argue with that too with Will’s career in decline.
Newsweek defends the inclusion of SRK on the list: “It’s not just that his romantic flicks make gazillions it’s where those gazillions come from. Khan is huge in the Muslim world, even in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the mullahs ban his films. (The movies thrive on the black market.) Their main appeal is certainly the song-and-dance numbers, but Khan (a Muslim married to a Hindu) makes devoutly secular films where love trounces bigotry.”
Meanwhile, Aamir Khan has dropped a cat amongst the pigeons with his comment in a TV interview that SRK is afraid to work with him. “Shah Rukh feels scared to work with me. I often say let’s do a movie together but he always rejects (the offer),” he said. This might well put paid to the thaw in the recent frostiness between the two great Khans following the ‘brand wars’ argument when SRK had stated, possibly tongue-in-cheek, he was the leading brand in Bollywood and had no competition.
The tortuous production of Dulha Mil Gaya is nearly complete. Filmed almost entirely in the Caribbean, the last major segment was filmed recently and included SRK, who has a significant role in the movie which also stars Fardeen Khan and Sushmita Sen. “The entire star cast of the film, including Shah Rukh Khan, participated in the schedule,” says director Vivek Vaswani, “With the exception of one Qawali to be picturised on Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen in February, all of Shah Rukh Khan’s work in the film is complete.”