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Entertainment

Updated on: Thursday, November 04, 2021, 10:28 PM IST

Moments & Memories: 'I was trying to be one up on Robert De Niro...': Shah Rukh Khan and some prized moments

Baazigar was the first of Shah Rukh’s Diwali releases
Photo: PTI

Photo: PTI

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On Tuesday, Shah Rukh Khan turned 56. And the memories came flooding. I flashbacked to a night in 1993 when he had picked up his first acting award for Outstanding Debut of the Year. Casually dressed in denims and a leather jacket, the Deewana with the shaggy locks and the dimpled smile raised his trophy to the sky and announced, “This one’s for you, mom.”

Shah Rukh Khan then went on to confide that when he was in the third standard and had won his first medal, he had run home to show it to his mom. “It was very sad, she wasn’t there. The first time I am getting an award, a major award in the film industry, and she still isn’t here,” he rued. He didn’t need to spell it out that this time she was gone forever, the achingly poignant words left many in the audience misty-eyed.

A week or so later, when I reached out to him for a winner’s quote, he admitted with a candour, which is refreshingly Shah Rukh, that he had not let the Black Lady out of his sight since taking her home. In fact, he had even carried the trophy with him when he went to Delhi for a shoot of his upcoming film Baazigar, to show it to his friends who had never seen the real trophy up close.

Even back then he was sure that while this was his first award, it would not be his last. He was planning to put up a shelf in his room to display all the awards he was going to win. “Maybe I will make a special room for them,” he laughed, but it was obvious he was not joking. The dimples flashed again as he confessed that before he could do this, however, he would first have to find his dream house in the city that had adopted him.

The following year, he was walking up to accept the Critics Award for Best Actor for Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. “I hope I keep returning to the stage,” he quipped. He did, adjudged Best Actor in the Popular Category for a bloody good performance in Baazigar. Not many talk about this record, but Shah Rukh Khan was the first performer to bag two Filmfare acting awards in one night.

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By then he had moved into his new house and bought a showcase for the awards, revealing that he had kept every trophy and medal he had ever won, even the one he had bagged for a balloon race when in kindergarten. He went on to discuss his two prized performances, surprising me by pointing out that while everyone was describing Baazigar and Darr as negative roles, he believed his first anti-hero role was Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.

“Sunil lies, cheats, flunks his exams and loses the girl. He’s a failure. but he’s so lovable we don’t see him as one,” he reasoned, going on to assert that Rahul, the obsessive lover in Darr, and Baazigar’s Ajay, aka Vicky, who is obsessed with revenge, were almost heroic in comparison.

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“Heroic?” I squealed, and he nodded, “Haar kar jeetenewale ko baazigar kehte hain” is a hero speaking while Tu mere samne is sung by a real stud. You wouldn’t call Antony Hopkins a villain in The Silence of the Lambs or Robert De Niro in Cape Fear, would you?”

He went on to point to the scene in Darr where Rahul gives the girl at the ticket counter a sob story to find out where Sunny Deol’s Sunil has whisked off his Kiran for their honeymoon, had people in the auditorium chuckling appreciatively. “I was trying to be one up on Robert De Niro and people reacted with amusement. I think Juhi’s (Chawla) Kiran overreacted to the phone calls. No one was scared except her, not even the kids. These days I’m followed by cries of Sh… Sh… Sh… Sh… Shah Rukh,” he grinned.

Twenty-seven years have passed since. Nothing much has changed. He’s still winning awards. People are still following him around. Shah Rukh Khan is still one of the brightest stars to light up the marquee. And just for the record, Baazigar was the first of Shah Rukh’s Diwali releases. This year, it will be Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh’s Sooryavanshi lighting up the cinemas, but the Baazigar still hits the jackpot in our memory bank.

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Published on: Friday, November 05, 2021, 07:00 AM IST
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