Highlights from the London press conference of FAN with Shah Rukh Khan

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By Aashi Gahlot and Rima Bhatia
“Don’t try to be me. Be yourself” – SRK

It is finally almost time to see the King Khan, Shah Rukh Khan in a double role.

The upcoming Fan is the story of Gaurav (SRK) becoming dangerously obsessed with his all time hero film star Aryan Khanna (SRK). Is this film highlighting the dangers of idolising film stars? Is it a film star’s perspective on calling out for privacy? Or is this film a study into the human psyche? We will soon find out on April the 15th, 2016.

Meanwhile, we at BollySpice had the chance to join in the #UKFanTakeover and attend a press conference with both Gaurav and SRK. Mind you, Gaurav was in wax figure form and our superstar SRK was kept safe! Madame Tussauds in London have transformed the wax figure of SRK into the much anticipated stalker, Gaurav.

We bring you the highlights of the press conference in which a number of questions were addressed by host Ameet Channa and the various journalists present.

Ameet Channa: How did it feel playing opposite yourself, as it were?

SRK: I’ve always found it odd to come and stand next to my own statue… The first time I saw, I was a little awkward facing myself…to do a whole film like that with a person who kinda looks like you- this statue looks exactly like me- but Gaurav in the movie is a look alike. He doesn’t exactly look like me. It was quite surreal.

Inshallah, when everyone watches the film it’s actually very schizophrenic because you know, I have a look-alike trying to be like the actor in the film. I watched the film about 5 days back and I don’t seem to recognise him or relate to that character at all. In the film, Aditya Chopra, Maneesh Sharma, they first took me as Shah Sir and refers to him as Gaurav. Even on the sets they would be like Gaurav ko yaha le aao. Gaurav ka scene hai. And then when I was doing – Shah Sir! Your scene is here!

So it is very strange, dichotomous and weird… Two face.

AC: Whom are you a fan of?

SRK: Mr. Bachchan of course, because my time 80’s. When I was watching films it was full of Mr. Bachchan. So, I’m a big, big lover of his work, himself. Dharmendra, Mr. Rishi Kapoor and Saira Bhano, Mumtaz. And initially when I joined, young ladies who were working like Madhuri, Juhi – I was BIG FAN of them. I used to watch their films and really love them. So, it still is as a matter of fact, Madhuri actually, I’m still kinda fan like.

AC: Any Gaurav-isms within you apart from being a fan of someone? Are you slightly obsessive at all?

SRK: No. I think only about my kids. I think I need to control that. But otherwise no…From the age of 15-25 when we have the luxury of being a fan, or selflessly, or unconditionally loving someone, cutting their pictures out, sticking posters- I had to kinda start fending for myself. I had to do a job, start working, finish my studies and you know. So, when between 15-25 is the best time to be a fan, I was working. Didn’t have the luxury of being a fan. At 25 I became a star. Before I became a fan, I became a star.

AC: Last time we met for Dilwale you also released a quote saying that the stuff that you were supposed to between 15 and 25 you are starting to do now and enjoy yourself more.

SRK: Yes…I would love to now have the luxury of being in love, falling in love unconditionally with someone whom I may never meet. Or keep a picture of in my diaries!

AC: That would be fabulous! Well, I can tell you that you have a fan in my 4-and-a-half year old daughter. She went to school yesterday and said, “Dada is going to spend the day with Shah Rukh Khan!”


Aashi Gahlot, BollySpice: What are you personally taking away from this film?

Just one thing: How not to be Shah Rukh Khan.

You know it is difficult. I’ll be honest. I’m very upfront in front of people because I want people to understand as much as they can when they meet me to know that there are parts of an actor that I need to talk about and expose so that youngsters understand. It’s difficult not being yourself after being liked for being yourself for so many years…I’m a stylised actor. I can drop all that for certain films such as Chak De or My Name is Khan.

The films that we do are films geared towards a large number of people. So you do play yourself a lot. And I know how to do that and how not to do that. But this film – and I hope people kind of appreciate the effort – and not because I’m saying make it a big hit or something. But it really gave me confidence to try and be not myself. And it’s difficult. It’s really difficult you know… 25 years day in and day out – the arm moves. Like it’s not a joke that people love the fact that I put my arms up. I’m not saying I don’t need to put it in a film.

But somewhere I learnt and got confident a lot more in this film than the ones I did previously how not to be myself and still be able to get lots of people be attracted to that character. So it’s not how to deeper play a character but how to be Shah Rukh Khan. I think that’s – especially with Gaurav.

Even with Aryan Khanna, because he is a movie star. I’ve not played him hopefully like I am in personal life. It’s very different from me…(he’s) less flamboyant, perhaps a little bit more worried about life than I am. So it’s very interesting that I’ve been able to do these things…

LOVEENA Tandon, AAJ TAK: In your family, who is your biggest Fan? And do you sometimes, like us, feel challenged dealing with your kids when they are growing up? In your life have you met anyone as obsessed as the fan in your film?

Now I think I know the first part easily… I think because of my silliness, antics and perhaps being of a personality which is a little more outgoing than Suhana who is very shy, Aryan…very alpha male – I think AbRam is the most attracted to me in the house. I think he asks for me more often than anyone else in the house and they think I have trained him- or maybe I have- but I can ask him “who do you love more?” And he always says papa. So I think he is kinda fan like.

The second part you asked is … do I have issues? I find teenagers so lazy and grumpy! I don’t know. They were okay about three or four years back. Now they are only just lying down and making faces in the telephone- and it’s the same face! (Makes a pouty face). And you ask them something and “YAAAA” …” “NOOOOO!” The nos are the same and yeses are the same. The strange tone – “NOOOOO!” “YEESSSSS!”…

Obsessiveness. Have I met someone like Gaurav?… No, nobody really obsessive.

I’m saying this because I have a lot of lady fans so they are really gentle and nice. So I have never had anyone aggressive. Of course, sometimes walking in a public place or twitter you have people abusing or behaving badly. But I just think they are ill mannered. They aren’t really obsessive or fan-like dangerous.

Mumtaz, Asiana: When I heard about this film, I confess, I thought it sounded very much like a vanity project. A bit self-indulgent to do a film about yourself… What do you think of that? Is this a vanity project?…

SRK: …When we released the Jabra song there was a gentleman sitting in the press – he was a senior journalist.

He had a very strange question about the whole film and that’s when I realised people might mistake it for a completely narcissistic, self indulgent, self obsessed movie star at the age of 50 going “I’m gonna start making films about my fan. And I’m the star. And I’m EVERYTHING. And ME, ME, ME! And nobody else!

He asked Maneesh, “What’s the story of this film?”
So Maneesh said “I’m really sorry. I can’t at this point dive in the full story.”
“Well how can you hold our interest?”
He said “because I will tell the story of…”
“But we know everything about Shah Rukh…”
“Ya but it’s not about…”
“It is like a documentary na?”

It’s not a narcissistic, self indulgent film.

I think the core of the film is, and the most interesting part of the film is, one part it is necessary even if I say so- I’m not talking about myself- you needed an actor who needed a body of a 25-30 years. It can be made with Mr Bachchan. It can be made with Salman. It can be made with Aamir or Akshay Kumar. And lots of others. The reason being, you don’t have time to set up a movie star. People should feel that there is a movie star on the scene. And then a look-a-like. Who wants to not be a movie star. Just wants to meet him.

So I think it was an interesting take that there are people who you know, have tried to look like the people they admire, you know, their hairstyle. I used to do it. I used to try and look like Amit ji. So, it’s not a vanity…for me.

As a matter of fact, the biggest worry – I don’t have a worry now- the film is done, you can’t help it. I think one of the things Abhi, myself and Maneesh had felt, there might be a completely wrong understanding of what I may be in real life… when this young girl asks me about “5 minutes”.

I’ve had a lot of people say- “are you like that in real life? You don’t give 5 minutes to a fan of yours?”
I’m like – “No! It’s just a story. It’s not me.”

Neha, Lycra Radio: How important was it for you to make FAN? Is there a message you want to give to your fans with this film?

SRK: There’s a part of it I can talk about. But essentially when we make a film it is just to tell a story… Movies should just entertain you. And emotionally enrich you. Make you happy, sad. Make you think about it. But having said that, the experience of what Gaurav does in the film, as the film progresses and the story unfolds- couple of things I can tell to people if they really like someone. One: DON’T PHYSICALLY HURT YOURSELF OR THE OTHER. Second: It’s really nice – there’s a line in the film which the actor tells – you know even I am very regular…we are very regular people. We come from regular backgrounds. And things went a different way for me and I became a movie star.

Don’t try to be me.
Be yourself.

You can love me as much as you want. Perhaps take a few moments of my life to inspire yourself if need be But what would be wonderful is that you’re such a good guy, you’re so intelligent. And we have the same background. You will probably achieve a lot more in life by being yourself instead of trying to be a shadow of someone. And please, I am not being patronising… Just be realising that there is no one more important than yourself.

Even if you’re a mad fan of someone, that person is really lovely and beautiful, but not more important- look after yourself first before just completely dedicating your life to anyone.

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