This week we’ve broken our why-put-Bollywood-on-the-cover rule for my favourite Khan and for my favourite Indian film writer, Anupama Chopra. Our cover story (Page 12 to 14) is an exclusive excerpt of Anu’s new book, King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema. It’s a well-researched, completely fresh look at the life of Hindi cinema’s biggest star set against the backdrop of a country that’s changing faster than the speed of light. Here’s an additional sampling of what you’ll find in the book; it’s out on 9 August here.
1. At birth, Shah Rukh’s umbilical cord looped around his neck, but he emerged unscathed. A nurse predicted the child would be very lucky.
2. SRK inherited his father’s serenity. As a toddler, he spent hours playing on a small pink toy piano.
3. Growing up, he watched lots of Amitabh Bachchan movies with his friend, actor Amrita Singh. Amitra tells Anu that, “Shah Rukh wanted to be Bachchan and I wanted to be romanced by Bachchan.”
4. When SRK was seven or eight, he started to write poetry about everyday things like his aunt who wore jarring bright pink lipstick.
5. After his dad Meer Taj Mohammad died, Shah Rukh never wrote poetry again.
6. The highlight of Shah Rukh Khan’s school days was the creation of the “C-Gang”. Coolness was the group’s mission, function and reason for being, says Anu in her book.
7. Shah Rukh got Gauri’s number the third time they met, on 25 October, 1984. Their first date lasted all of five minutes.
8. At one point in their relationship Gauri decided she had had enough of SRK’s possessive behaviour, and she went to Mumbai without telling him. He followed her with “two friends, Rs10,000 and the shaky theory that since Gauri liked swimming, he was likely to find her at a beach”.
9. When the money ran out, he sold his camera.
10. As a young boy, Shah Rukh had nurtured dreams of becoming an army officer. In seventh grade, he even visited his class teacher’s husband, a retired brigadier, and seriously discussed the possibilities of army school with him.
And all this is only from the first six chapters. Enjoy the exclusive excerpt.
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