Shah Rukh Khan is at a unique and strange place in his career. Unique, because of his film choices that transcend his whimsical celluloid persona. Ra.One, Fan and the recently released Zero, all these SRK characters were never spotted in SRK the star. And strange because of the dichotomous relationships these outings share. All of them were heaped with praises for pushing the envelope in terms of technique and technology, but were censured for their plot and storytelling.
And this isn’t the first time Khan’s audaciousness has been unfairly overlooked. But he seems to be unfazed by the perpetual polarization. He gears up for Rakesh Sharma’s biopic, Saare Jahaan Se Achcha, which could be another promising addition to his repertoire. But before he prepares to travel to the moon, here are the 7 films that starred Shah Rukh Khan not as Shah Rukh Khan:-
1. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000)
Khan’s first tryst with cinema close to realism after shooting to stardom was this Aziz Mirza directorial. A scathing attack on the sensationalism that has crept within the media industry, the film saw Khan as a charming TV Reporter who can woo any girl he yearns for. Post intermission, we saw an upright media personality who fights for justice. Although the film failed due to being ahead of its times, it has found appreciation today.
2. Asoka (2001)
The fact that this historical drama came immediately after the cult of Lagaan proved quite a stumbling block. The actor portrayed the role of King Ashok, who’s forced to declare war on his own kingdom. Khan’s essay received mixed response, but it’s regarded as a brave step in his career.
3. Swades (2004)
Arguably his finest and most nuanced outing yet, Swades was a film that was all about rediscovering your roots and culture. It’s a film whose characters and milieu absorb you in their world, and also introduce the dreadful realities they are subjected to everyday. But not even once it turns preachy in its narrative. And with Mohan Bhargava, a NASA scientist, SRK drifted apart from the love for the heroines and moved towards love for the heartland.
4. Paheli (2005)
It’s hard to describe Paheli. Amol Palekar gave us an unusual love story in the truest sense. A ghost is enamored by the beauty of a married woman and enters her life by impersonating as her husband while he’s away. The wife, shackled by loneliness, also begins to warm up to the new man in his life! Both SRK and Rani Mukerji gave us one of the most charming and distinctive love sagas that’s sadly not talked about as much as it should be.
5. Ra.One (2011)
More than a Superhero Sci-Fi adventure, Ra.One, at its heart, was a story about a father-son relationship. The actor played a dual character, Shekhar, a game designer, and G.One, a superhero, his own creation. Those inane caricaturist Tamil accent and jokes aside, this Anubhav Sinha film indeed had some spectacular VFX and some thunderously staged action scenes and songs.
6. Fan (2016)
Another example of a brave performance in a brave film overlooked, Fan still remains one of its leading man’s most personal film yet. Personal because it was a film that blended his stardom and naïveté in the same narrative. It was a unique double role. And it also asked us threatening questions- What if the star you worship turns on you? And what could happen if the fan who worshiped you all your life becomes hell bent on seeking revenge? It ended with something all Bollywood stars should always remember- Hell Hath No Fury Than A Fan Scorned!
7. Zero (2018)
A tenth-pass dwarf’s journey from Meerut to Mars sounds like a crackling idea, and given Aanand L. Rai and Himanshu Sharma’s seamless writing and Khan’s effortless portrayal, this is a possible match in heaven. Alas, the narrative didn’t find the kind of acceptance the team desired. Again, a film where no one raised a finger on the leading man and his audaciousness, only the story needed to be more engaging.
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