SRK: Down But Not Out

I know, I really, really, really shouldn’t. I shouldn’t. I should learn from my Slapgate post and my SRK-Koimoi drama. But what the heck. If you don’t write about SRK, what’s the point of having a Bollywood blog eh?


Picture Courtesy NDTV


The MCA/Deshmukh’s version is that SRK was drunk and he was trying to push his way onto the field and when he was stopped, he started hurling abuses and fists at the security guard with absolutely NO provocation.

Uh huh.

SRK’s version is that he went to the stadium (with his sister, who remained in the car) to pick up his kids and their teeny-bopper friends. He went up to the bleachers to congratulate some members of the team and from there, he saw the security guard manhandling the children who were playing on the pitch (and not on the field, as that isn’t allowed). That’s when he became angry and he ran down to stop the guard from pushing the kids around. Some dude “from behind” said something which I suspect was a racial slur (hence SRK’s statement that “things like that shouldn’t be said in this day and age but I don’ t want to elaborate on it”), and this made SRK angrier and that’s how things blew out of proportion.

I know there are more than enough people who somehow want to believe that SRK is a guy who just walks around belligerently drunk all the time provoking people into brawls and fights for absolutely no reason. But where is the precedence for this?

Why would he be drunk when he wasn’t even at the match and he was going to pick up a gaggle of pre-teens to take them home? And if you’ve listened to the audio you know – he’s definitely angry, but he’s not drunk.

Did he lose his cool? Yes. He shouldn’t have, and he’s the first to admit this. But he also felt that what took place was wrong and given a second chance he wouldn’t behave differently.

He never talked to the press about Slapgate. He never, ever said a single word against Shirish Kunder. Why? Because Farah is family. And despite all the accusations flung at him during those first 24 hours, he kept his mouth shut and never defended himself. But he called a press conference for Wankhede because he believes he had a legitimate reason to do so and the MCA is not a private matter (like Farah-Shirish), but a public one. Besides, Deshmukh is the one who went cray-cray in the press first talking about a ban like that was going to accomplish anything other than give him a chance to show how powerful he is.

Stars Above The Law?

Anyone who’s had to deal with a desi bureaucrat knows the “i’m-so-drunk-with-power-i-can’t-hear-you” face. Whether you’ve gone to get a visa, dealt with an immigration or customs official, or God forbid had to deal with the police, you’ve had a whiff of it. When that power hungry attitude gets a chance to confront one of the world’s biggest superstars, shit goes down. Let’s not pretend that they are innocent victims cowering before a big bad belligerent Bollywood star.

I’ve never understood this belief many people have that celebrities are above the law. I don’t think they are – even during the Saif scandal – they don’t “get away” with stuff. Rather, they go through what the average citizen would go through with the added benefit of being raked through the mud in the press and in the public with the alleged “victims” feeding off the celebrities for their 5 minutes of fame. So how are they getting away with anything? They face the law AND they face public scrutiny. And most of the time, they come away looking like assholes.

And it’s the same this time with Wankhede. So maybe they didn’t throw him in jail because he’s a star. But what they did in the bargain is arguably worse – this power play and allegation throwing in public. Whatever happens, SRK loses. Coz once it’s a headline, no matter how false, it sinks into public consciousness never to be erased.

On The End Of SRK

So then, various news outlets and columnists have taken this latest opportunity to express faux-concern about his “mid-life” crisis which is nothing more than veiled glee at what they hope is the end of this actor’s career. Sorry folks. That’s not going to happen. Stars like Shahrukh don’t self-destruct. They go through a rough patch and  re-emerge.

Are we seeing an angrier SRK than we ever have before? Definitely. But this is also the first time in his career that he’s been facing almost constant and unrelenting negative press and scrutiny. Of course it’s going to have an adverse effect on him. There isn’t a single star in Bollywood or anywhere else who doesn’t go through a phase like this.

Lest all his detractors forget where he came from, how he rose, how he sustained his position even while his contemporaries were going through their own rough patches (from which they’ve emerged) – the pre-Ra.One SRK held his King Khan position just fine for a long time. There’s no question that Ra.One broke him to a great extent – he had all his hopes (and finances) pinned on it (not, like some claim, because he wanted to be some poster-boy hunk, but because it was a breakthrough in SFX and what he had hoped would be a breakthrough in subject matter for Hindi films). So, Ra.One didn’t live up to expectations. At least give the guy credit for trying.

What he was met with, at Ra.One’s failure, was unprecedented glee. It wasn’t a polite criticism of the film – it was a media massacre. And I think it was unfair. I know yes, maybe he was asking for it because he deluged us with promotions for 6 months prior to the release but still – it couldn’t have been easy for any actor/producer to watch his baby go down in flames like that.

So maybe cut him some slack. When’s the last time you risked everything for a project only to have it brutally trashed and ridiculed? Have you never had a fight with a security official somewhere who was acting like a jackass? Yeah, uncomfortable ain’t it? But luckily for you, it didn’t become a national matter.

The argument goes, he’s a star and he should deal with it. If he made a bad film, he has to deal with the consequences. If he loses his cool in public, he has to deal with it. Sure. But he’s also human and it’s easier to say “deal with it” than it is to actually do it.

So SRK hasn’t figured out how to adjust in this new media-frenzied world. While Salman just ignores it and Aamir clinically strategizes how to make it work for him, SRK hasn’t come up with a strategy. He tweets when he wants to, gives interviews when he wants to, oversaturates himself in the press, makes bold statements that people completely misconstrue as arrogance.

If they looked a little deeper they would realize those statements and actions come from a man with no genuine support system in the industry, or heck even in his family, who perhaps still hasn’t come to terms with how the hell all this happened to him in the first place. Not to get over-sentimental about it but SRK doesn’t have the most peachy-keen personal life. His sister’s sick and his parents are long gone. He’s been taking care of everyone his whole life and had no one to fall back on except himself (and no, Yash Chopra and Karan Johar don’t count). And he’s a self-made superstar global superstar in one of the most cut-throat industries in the world.

I mean really, even in Bollywood’s history, there hasn’t been worldwide stardom like SRK’s.

That’s a lot for one lifetime.

SRK needs to re-strategize. No doubt. But that’s IT. Why are we ringing the death knell on his career? Even the invincible Mr. Bachchan went through absolute doom and survived. Why are we so eager to watch SRK go down in flames?

Incidents like Slapgate or Wankhede can’t be planned – that’s just a case of wrong place, wrong time, the infamous bura waqt that everyone deals with at one point or another. But certainly, no more stage shows, no more awards hosting, no more cliched movie roles, maybe fewer interviews and as much as I would hate it, perhaps no twitter either. There’s no point when the media is always waiting in the wings to turn every tiny thing into a scandal.

And you may ask – so why doesn’t he do it already? And to that I would say – how would he even know what the right move is? Aamir comes from a film family, so does Salman. Stardom and filmy shenanigans and the ups and downs of filmy life are second nature to them. They have the benefit of family experience and growing up filmy to fall back on. They also still have parents. SRK has no such background or filmy family support system. And you can take the guy out of Delhi but….you know how the saying goes.

That’s not to say he won’t figure it out, but just give him some time. Aamir disappeared for 5 years after Lagaan, wisely handling his own mid-life crisis away from public view. Salman did one bad film after another for years. Akshay too went through (and is arguably still going through) a tough time. And (totally off-topic but) why only point fingers at SRK for working with actresses half his age? The rest of them do the same but don’t get nearly as much criticism for it.

So yeah – the entire thing, this entire SRK-show rides on his shoulders and his alone. He’s buckling a bit. He’s getting older. His life is changing in full public view. He hasn’t figured out how to deal with it all yet. So sue him for not living up to YOUR expectations of how he should handle his singularly unique life and career.

But it ain’t over. By far.

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44 comments on “SRK: Down But Not Out

  1. Nice article!!! Way to go!!!

  2. a star like SRK will never get over!!!…both Ra.1 and Don2 collected huge money…not like Akki’s and sallu’s flop movies!!..the best part abt SRK is that his fans like him are honest and they truly love him!!!

  3. I really hate media,I can not believe that the people who I live among are so bad with no minds or hearts,what shahrukhkhan did made him bigger in my eyes,I read what fathers and kids who were with shahrukhkhan said on Rediff site,they are completely supporting him,he is a real man who carries the reponsibility,he protected the children against those officials but as usual, media tries to show his bad side only at every thing,speak about pryanka,say that he is gay,all crap ,are you indian people so low educated to know that this is a war against him,how can he bear that,he is really a very patient man

  4. really well said but i dont think he doesnt know wat he is doing. rather he is very much into it.the only problem is that all of a sudden ppl have startes getting jealous of his success.1.ppl couldnt digest that no-one from delhi would go onto make the most expensive film in bollywood…so there was a pre-planned negative marketing (raone was a good movie and deserved better) @.ppl were happy to see him succeed but couldnt see him stick to d success for so long .3.srk’s achievements have all of a sudden become monotonous so the news channels are rather interested in his fall (a twist in d fairytale). the problem is with the media and the industry insiders who cant tolerate his majestic stardom.so everyone is hoping for a fall.but they dont realise this is only going to makee the man stronger and he is going to come back harderand prove that he is not a mere fluke but a phenomenon.and this time its going to be much much bigger than wat we all can think of. :)

    • Laxita,

      You made some really good points! Unfortunately the climate right now IS that everyone’s looking for a fall and it’s not helping that he keeps getting caught in this adverse situations which create headlines for everybody else. But SRK’s nothing if not intelligent so of COURSE he’ll find his way back. He just needs to let go of the old formulas.

  5. I agree with you 100 %. Aww SRK sir I hope everything works out.
    I often wonder if the India media had been like this during the Sallu and Aish case what would have happen….

  6. I think this is one of the most well researched articles that I’ve read in a long time. You have maturely shown each angle. I must say, I’m mighty impressed. Wow. Kudos :) I’m a new reader, I guess this means I’ll be a regular reader now! :)

    • Prerna,

      Thanks so much for your comments! Hope you enjoy the other articles too. :)

      • I love your blog! Each article that I’ve read so far is well written and I agree with you on everything barring a few things. It’s great to find someone who’s on the same page as me :)

  7. Great work dude. A mighty fine article. I for one really enjoyed Ra One – definitely better than Don 2. Not a masterpiece, but it was nice, cheesy entertainment that I don’t think anyone else (bar Hrithik) could have done as well.

    Poor guy. With great power comes great responsibility.

    • Shai,

      Yeah, I don’t think it was as bad as many made it out to be. Except for the introductory scene and that crazy MJ bit, I enjoyed it and thought the SFX were incredible.

  8. Only a couple of things I’d query in this – First, your statement that “Stars like Shahrukh don’t self-destruct. They go through a rough patch and re-emerge” – that often happens, but it is far from unknown for stars like SRK to self-destruct. It’s definitely possible. I’m not saying it will happen to SRK, certainly not over something as petty as this latest kerfuffle, but it is not impossible.

    The other thing that I wondered about was your assertion that he ” makes bold statements that people completely misconstrue as arrogance” – how do you know they’re being misconstrued? If you have evidence that his seeming arrogance isn’t, that would be interesting to read. One doesn’t reach his level of success without exceptional self-belief and narcissism, and I’d be interested to know why you feel that his statements are “misconstrued” as arrogance. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s unlikely to be a giraffe, and so Occam’s razor suggests that the reason everything that SRK says reeks of arrogance is simply because he IS arrogant – no-one ever got to be badshaah, in any field, by being a nice guy.

    • Stuart,

      First query – well, nothing is impossible but SRK has too much magnetism, charisma and intelligence to be done. I do think he’ll be going through a rough patch maybe for a couple more years, maybe less but…he will eventually break through to a new image for himself.

      Second query – there’s a thin line between self-belief and arrogance/narcissism.That’s the short version. To go fully in-depth as to why it’s not arrogance – or at least not the kind of arrogance that should elicit so much hatred from people – would probably be a whole different post. SRK wouldn’t be where he is if not for his belief in himself. He didn’t have anything else. No family, no godfather and no connections. So if the guy wants to say things like “I’m the best” or “I’m a superstar” – I’d say 1) he’s earned it and 2) it’s almost as though he needs to reassure himself that he is. From our view he’s a dazzling superstar. From his view, he’s just an ordinary guy that got damn lucky and he still doesn’t know why.

      • His arrogance does not endear him to me, but I don’t think it’s unique to him. Aamir is just as arrogant and self-obsessed, Dev Anand seemed even more so. For me, it’s the nature of the industry. Acting is a narcissistic profession, all about self, and no-one ever goes into entertainment, particularly acting, if they don’t have a need to be loved, and to find validation in the adoration of fans. I think that’s true of every actor, and the ones who make it big have received enough praise to make them believe, at least a little bit, that they are as their fans perceive them. Such a personality, sheltered by a shield of sycophants, clashing with a petty bureaucrat with an inflated sense of power (similar to nightclub bouncers) who wants to get his own fame by bragging that he stood up to SRK, and of course there’s going to be some silliness.

        My only issue with SRK is that his obsession with managing his start brand prevents him from acting. Fewer Ra.One’s and more Chak De India’s would be nice

  9. I want to know why many people hate him so much,I even read that some people wish him death,really I want to know,is all that because he reached a place no one could reach before without any help,indian people are unable to see some one succed so much,is this my India,I will be shocked if the answer was yes

  10. I am not indian and if this is the way indian people deal with some one great like shahrukhkhan,so he must act to be arrogant ,I am fom Moracco and when shahrukhkhan came to our country ,he was very humble,in fact I could not expect him to be so,respect him guys because he deserves that,you have a national treasure but unfortunately,you do not feel.

  11. shahrukhkhan is not an angel but in the world of people ,he is a very good man,I do not know what I will do if people were commenting badly about me and saying that I am gay,media spreeds these rumours about him and some stupid people believe that without thinking,shahrukhkhan became the subject of media since 2009,I really want to know what the problem they have with him,every thing he does just for joke became misunderstod by them,this matter is really bad,they try to destroy him for their personal affairs or affairs of some actors who do not like the presence of shahrukhkhan in the industry,I hope every one in india will understand that,even in his recent problem,I read about the supporting of the kids and their parents to shahrukhkhan but media did not say anything about that,they only repeat drunk shahrukhkhan,rude shahrukhkhan although all that was denied by the innocent kids themselves,why do they target him,really if this happened to me,I will get mad so please do not blame him,he is at last a very usual human like all of us

  12. Why no more stage shows, hosting, or Twitter? We love seeing him and hearing his thoughts. Why don’t the Indian media and (some) people stop being assholes to him instead? It’s too bad he loves India as much as he obviously does; he could move to Europe or even the US and be welcomed with love and open arms.

    • Cheryl,

      Of course WE love seeing him, but many people don’t. And I think the oversaturation in the media is what makes him such an easy target these days. As much as we would miss him, I feel it would help him overall if he toned it down a bit. But knowing SRK, that’s not his style, so we’ll see what he does. Either way, I’m sure he’ll pull through.

      • Thank you for replying, and I do see what you’re saying. I’m outside India PLUS a new-ish fan, so I’m hungry for any appearance of his and was a little dismayed by the thought of even less. :D I really enjoyed his tweets, both the thoughtful and the silly, so much more than the rubbish a lot of “celebs” put out there.

        It does shock me how he’s abused. You would think he had gone to these people’s houses and personally kicked their cat or something. As far as I can tell he’s rarely done anything worse than be a smart-aleck in an interview, and I’m sure if there were something to be found people would have been crawling out of the woodwork to capitalize on it. I really just can’t comprehend it.

  13. I really love this man,he does not spare all any effort to make us happy and discomforts himself,I hope we will give him half of the love he gives to us instead of trying to misinterpreting what he does.

  14. Woooahh.. You hv won my heart. No single person cld hv ever even come remotely bring him down, but foxy aamir cleverly combined with salman and now almost all industry against him except him. But m sure like always he ll b bck. He isnt call king for nothng.

  15. Yes..to all of the above…but imho SRK is destined for larger things than BW- ville given his penchant for global access he will have that opportunity when ‘outsider’ come acourting. Then we will see how the other half lives in Pure green envy. That being said it over till the fat lady sings or whatever else you want to insert..he’s only just begun.trust me.

  16. SRK is a gem of a person. The best thing about him is he doesn’t take himself seriously. You are completely wrong to say that he is down or out whatever. His super-duper-mega-stardom is so huge that you cannot even say he is down. It’s just a media-created projection in people’s minds especially you because you have taken these small petty issues against him quite seriously, while SRK is so damn huge that he doesn’t care a bit. He doesn’t need to change anything because the rough-patch is simply not there(just a figment of imagination of media and some staunch jealous haters with typical indian or human mentality). His so-called-arrogance is all fun. He is a super-fun guy. Rough patch or phase hasn’t come really. Yeah, Salman had a disaster- decade …Amitabh had …Rajesh Khanna had …Aamir was never even a “superstar” until his ghajini… SRK is not going through what they had gone through ….he never can’t …he has broken the mould of how a superstar should live a life and come out of the trappings of superstardom. So, SRK is a totally different beast altogether. Media or anyone just cannot take him out from the hearts of billions around the world. SRK IS A FAMILY TO US. HE MAY DO ANY WRONG. BUT HE IS FAMILY. That’s how dedicated his fans are. Thanks.

  17. SRK has been ruling the industry since 1995(DDLJ) he was a middle-class guy who was super-ambitious , conscientious and a determined to do big i mean really big wherever he would go …much like a simple indian guy would dream of …but when he really achieved it he was known as THE GREAT INDIAN DREAM. With dreams, come nightmares too …so watching such unprecedented success from the bylanes, people (especially the pseudo-intellect and some others) started getting envious of him …and its not even their fault …see the fact is its a typical human moreso typical indian mentality to pull down someone who is ahead of you or who has achieved something you wish to have and when you can’t there is a lacuna in your heart that you try to cover up by showing that person in a poor light.

    Another thing is that SRK has always been the kind of person who is a trend-setter and path-breaker. He was the first bollywood actor who broke the image of a superstar. Before him, superstars used to remain in a kinda cage …they din’t come out and interact with their fans …but SRK started that …marketing his films …awards hosting ….signing autographs for his fans for hours …being media-friendly ….stage performances …a whole gamut of endorsements ….SRK MARKETED HIMSELF LIKE NOBODY OTHER COULD ….this made him come close to families world-over like never before …ask your mum or pops or sis or bro or girlfriend(s) you will know that all of them just secretly love him no matter what cozz he has touched every heart like nobody did ever before. Obviously with such command and respect comes a little sweet arrogance …SRK speaks his own mind …he takes jibes at anyone he likes but always in a manner not to offend anyone …he takes jibes at himself before joking about others …his humor is always misinterpreted as kinda bully nature by media ..trade…critics …audiences of other actors ..and above all the film industry people themselves.

    Remember this hatred is bound to subside after some time ….coz this man is a magician ….you cannot just hate him for too long ….

    when he romances-earth stops
    when he speaks-universe stops


  18. BTW sorry if i missed saying it….i respect your opinions in this post….good :-)

  19. Though I think he could have been a little calm there but then its not possible if you see your child getting manhandled right?He reacted just as any parent would have reacted. He is a big star and a good human.Lets hope everything gets fine and he comes out with a clear image.He is the pride of Bollywood!

  20. Hi all

    I read this article and i wonder when you are talking about crisis in srks life if you are particulalry talking about his films he is the only one who is trying new things i.e other than his forte(romance),all those movies which you have mentioned are action or thrillers and something whcih is new to indian cinema and no one other than srk could have taken this risk,it requires guts….and as far as the brawl is concerned let me tell you very clearly as i am delhi wala this happens in delhi everyday or every second so being a good father is important and i can assure you every father in delhi atleast would have done the same.

    I respect him for not his acting but for the person he is and his achievements.

    • Hi Gitesh,

      The “crisis” is just that things are changing for him because people’s perceptions are changing. There is more negative press. Even if he does the same things as before that his fans love, the media is always criticizing him for doing the same things (ie romance films). And when he does new things (like Ra.One) – and they don’t go as well as expected – they are even meaner.

      Totally agree with you on the Delhi thing.

  21. And also wait for the coming yash chopra film he will be the king again

  22. SRK has already been off twitter since March.
    I do not think RA. One was a failure. Maybe it was not as good a movie as it should have been, but according to Wickipedia, it was one of the highest grossing films for 2011. It has a 77% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes- it is not a flop by any means.
    I so enjoyed this article which was a breath of fresh air compared to much of the trash being published about SRK. I enjoyed the comments too. It seems like most of the press fails to remember how amazing his success is. A lower middle class outsider who accomplished what he has! I believe that the intelligence, talent, and hard work that got him where he is can get him through any rough patch, if this even is one.

    • TV,

      Yes I probably should’ve been more clear about Ra.One – it was not a failure at the box office. But the overall perception that was created by the media and the general “buzz” was overwhelmingly negative. People said a lot of mean things. Even now, with the Wankhede thing, people are still making Ra.One jokes. So that’s what I meant. Certainly not a flop.

  23. full support to SRK )) Russia with y

  24. loved ur article…….just upset with the media…for showing such absurd reports…….Shahrukh is MAGICAL…….he will always be loved and revered by all his fans………..Unfortunately, his parents are no more……..but his FANS are his FAMILY an d we all love him for being a perfect man of the family………LUV U SHAHRUKH and HATS OFF to for your courage!

  25. Well writn ful support 2 d king..SRK..

  26. i dont knw to analyse such points.i support SRK madly wildly truly.no matter whoever especially media tries to spoil his name i will support him to the core till my death.and i m not alone hav several millions like me by my side.srk u r my hero and a inspirer

  27. I agree. The film has not yet ended. Because, as Shah Rukh said at “Om, Shanty Om”, should be happy end

  28. kudos 2 u man 4 writing such a mindblowing n heart true post! Really feelin gud 2 see so much positive support 4 our king khan! He dont needs 2 bounce back, he is already dere! But yes media need 2 b taught a lesson by criticizing dem n encouraging dem 4 positive journalism! And last line 2 end is dat our king khan was d king khan, is d king khan n wud remain d king khan 4 eva till dere is sun shining in d sky! And forgive me afta dat also! Btw i think SRK is bak on twitter! He tweeted a pic of kkr! Legends not come down, dey rise n rise! Way 2 go king khan! We all love u! Sorry dat dint went out 2 b my last line, my love 4 king khan made my comment add up more lines! Anyways thanx 4 dis wonderful post! Keep up d good work!

  29. [...] getfilmy What: SRK: Down But Not Out Spicy: By the end of the post, you completely agree with the title of it. Down but definitely not [...]

  30. awesome post! truly loved it :)

    True.. the media and the India needs to give the man a break.. everything he does (and does not) becomes news these days resulting in over-saturation and media people having a field day about it..

    I love the man for who he is and his witty humor on and (especially) off the screen. Some new actress, few years ago had stated, “Only two things (constantly) sell in bollywood. SRK and sex.” and I completely agree with her.

    He is the only actor who has reached where he has only on his own will and without any help from any of the industry “insider” and he deserves respect for that. No matter how many controversies or rumours about him spread in/by the media, I would never stop respecting him for what he has achieved.

  31. great article. i just wish that Shahrukh reads it. Someone, in fact many of us, should post the link on his twitter account

  32. Excellent points.I loved “I know there are more than enough people who somehow want to believe that SRK is a guy who just walks around belligerently drunk all the time provoking people into brawls and fights for absolutely no reason. But where is the precedence for this?”. I had been thinking about the same issue after I heard some of the unreasonable comments in the media.

    I just wrote a post about the Wankhede brawl, as well as addressing some other issues, and I had been trying to find similar posts so I could share my blog with like-minded people. I hope you shall pay a visit. Excellent post, once again! I shall be looking forward to further posts.

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