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Shah Rukh Khan

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There are a lot of qualities Shah Rukh Khan shares with both his predecessors and his contemporaries. While there are those who claim he’s nothing more than a clever amalgamation of Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, there are others who swear he’s made a fine art of hamming (‘Darr’s’ K..K..K..Kiran being the classic example) and is yet to graduate beyond six set expressions.

However, there’s one characteristic to Shah Rukh’s personality that no one can even hope to match _ his boundless energy. You could be his worst critic, but whether he’s guiding you through a mindless comedy like ‘Duplicate’ or an intense romance like ‘Dil Se..’ his own passion is infectious. It’s something you cannot shrug off easily and it is, perhaps, the essence of his charisma.

The other attribute that sets him apart is his mind-boggling self-confidence. How else can you explain a small-time television actor from Delhi getting quick breaks like ‘Deewana’ (1992) and ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’ (1993) _ both won him high praise _ and then putting his newfound career on he line with a trilogy of negative characters. ‘Baazigar’ (1992), ‘Darr’ (1993) and ‘Anjaam’ (1994) were risks no established star would have taken _ in fact he got ‘Darr’ only after Aamir Khan turned it down.

But then, Shah Rukh has made no bones about the fact that he believes he’s the best. It is this belief and a sensible decision to seek out respected names like Yash Chopra (‘Darr’, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ and ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’), Subhash Ghai (‘Trimurti’ and ‘Pardes’) and Mani Ratnam (‘Dil Se..) that has put him ahead of the competition. There’s no disputing the fact that Shah Rukh Khan is the most saleable Bollywood star, both in India and overseas.

No wonder then that he decided to rake in the benefits of his own popularity by turning producer with ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani’ (alongside co-star Juhi Chawla and director Aziz Mirza). While his labour of love (which was released two weeks ago) hasn’t gone down well with audiences within the country, it has apparently secured a good opening in the international market _ where SRK has a loyal following amongst NRIs.

But such is Shah Rukh’s stature today, that neither the success nor failure of any particular film is likely shake people’s faith in him. ‘King’ Khan is here for a long and glorious innings that is just beginning to shape up.

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