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An open letter to SRK

 

sha rukh cartoonHi SRK,

I am a long time fan of yours. Long time means, I am a little (well..err) above 30 today and had just entered my youth when you became the youth icon. I was and still am, your core audience.  I am that cine-lover for whom cinema meant two and a half hours of captive attention towards some emotions, humour and messages that got communicated through you. Yes, in my journey I have fallen for Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan and others from time to time, but for no one has my loyalty been as consistent as it has been with you. As a teenager, and also in my 20’s I was absolutely delighted being entertained by a hero who changed rules and experimented with the unthinkable. He could kill a heroine and walk away with sympathies; his obsessions got reported as another practical extension of love; he was child-like yet a man of a man; and the list continues.  As a fan, I would never have less fodder to rave about you. But the sad fact is, I’ve grown up a bit. Rather than just blindly emoting like a fan-girl, now Yeh Dil Maange More!

It has been long that we, your fans, had been waiting for a film that declares your exclusivity with its content. The SRK we had fallen in love with during the ‘90s was not just Raj and Rahul; he also broke existing norms with mischievously innocent smiles and occasional arrogance. He was unpredictable with his offers! Today in 2014, we miss Raj and Rahul as much as we miss those brave decisions that challenged the prevalent content of films and yet soared high in the box office! What I am trying to say is, there were some such characters and stories in our filmy past which no one other than our favourite star would have done justice to! At least we, the audience, believe so. And that is exactly what I, as a fan, feel deprived of today! The films that are emerging from your bank now are not anything that others can’t do. Even a newcomer can pull off these characters. Of course the investments and corresponding returns would be much less; neither would they have your brand of marketing or VFX! But just as you say, that you are an actor first and entrepreneur later, let me remind you that we fans too have loved the actor first and most of us are yet to love the entrepreneur!

Having written a book on your marketing talents (Power of a Common Man : Connecting with Consumers the SRK Way), I know that you are still breaking rules in your own way. Your film marketing techniques have raised B-town practices a few notches higher. Your VFX is servicing many other big budget films along with your own.  This precisely means that today you might be working on such films where you get to push existing limits and bless the industry with some innovative practices. You are also investing and importing knowhow from other parts of the world, which are going back to the industry as new sources of learning and experiments. But the woman who wrote the book is not your core audience! Your core audience is she, who is authoring this open letter. We don’t understand those technical things that go into making a film. We only cheer when water, like diamond particles, is thrown in slow-motion at your mud-stained 10-pack abs (Happy New Year, 2014)! We also cheer when those crores are counted by box office reporters, not because we understand the economics of it, but simply because we believe that it must be making you happy and is doing good things to your already gold-encrusted career. We certainly wish to find our hero at the top!

However, as much as we are with you in films that you are coming up with of late, let me tell you honestly that each fan of yours is waiting for yet another 150 minutes entertainment that makes you challenge yourself as an actor and differentiates you from the rest. Crores are common business today; just that with each new film one of you are leaving behind records of the other. We would rather look forward to a story that deserves you; a character that deeply explores the actor in you; some complications that can be explained by none other but you! Till you give us a content that touches our heart, we’ll continue enjoying stuff that you pour on us otherwise. We don’t have a choice and it’s been an old habit to love you. But just between you and me, why underestimate the power of a common fan??!!

Optimistically yours,

Koral Dasgupta


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15 replies »

  1. I’ve not seen HNY yet but it seems like Shahid has raised expectations with his brilliant performance in Haider, reminding the audience that there is nothing like a good act. We are starting to realize that the 100 crore club is no longer an exclusive, admirable place when every other film gets entry. What really matters and what always mattered was the acting, the story, the performance. In the race to make more money, actors have forgotten to act. A Haider will never be a blockbuster at the box office but it was a blockbuster in the eyes of the audience. Actors should make money but once in a while, it’s good to challenge oneself with a different, unconventional role. That’s really the best way to reach to all parts of the audience. Still make those 100 crore films that gets the masses hyped, but once in a while, do something different, an art film, a biography, a dark film. That’s called versatility.

    The issue with the Bollywood industry is that it has always been welcoming to both the actor and the non-actor thanks to nepotism. That’s why those who can’t act to save their lives are given equal (and often better) opportunity than ones who can. So even those exceptions that made it into the industry with pure hard work and devotion sometimes take the easy way out and sign those films that are guaranteed at the box office but may not be so good content wise.

    This really has nothing to do with Shahrukh. Until the industry itself starts valuing acting and high quality, good content films, many are likely to take this path. Just imagine what Bollywood would be like if people were given roles because they can act and if filmmakers didn’t make lousy films just because they can. I’m not talking about HNY, like I said haven’t seen it.

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    • I appreciate your words. no doubt haider, shahid,the lunch box, hansee toh phasee, don2, were all very good movies. but all of them didn’t do well at box office. the box office pressure mountaning on him(srk). what can he do. our audiences do not want to see good movies. so why movies like chennai express, kick dhoom3, HNY,are doing well at box office. HNY is still better movie then d3 and bang- bang. i would request you to watch the film with your family once. it is a good family entertainer. so, go and watch. after all i am a loyal fan of mr. shahrukh khan.

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    • With all due respect, when you say blockbuster among audience which audience are you referring to? If Haider had audience it would do 100 crore may be not at the pace of HNY but atleast BMB. Fact is while everyone realizes Haider must be a well made film, no one prefers to watch it in theatre. For theatre experience something grand, funny and family safe is expected. What movies mean to general public has changed! Today its equivalent to junk food. SrK loves being a superstar a little too much. And he does what is required to sustain it.

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  2. Its a fine piece. However, I must say that he did experiment for my name is khan, Rab ne bana di jodi and even for billu..After these films he faced some criticism (pressure may be the right word) for not collecting as much as Aamir’s Ghajini and he started playing safe. After MNIK I guess he has released only 4 or 5 movies. So its a little too early to say that he has not experimented. Moreover, I believe the pressure of entrepreneurship is taking toll on him (after all he is a human). He makes a film a year and gets involved in almost all aspect of it. Apart from this he has commitments towards IPL, kidzania and many other events. I am forced to think he hardly gets time to deliberate about challenging himself actingwise, a thing the newer lot like Ranbir and Ranveer can easily do. Yet after looking at his next movies (FAN, RAEES), I would say even he has realized that he has not been able to go deep to his fan base. Hopefully these movies will show us the Shahrukh we want to see

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  3. Brilliant Piece!!!! You are a true fan, not a hater masquerading as a fan, giving left-handed compliments to degrade him like pseudo intellectuals do nowadays…..
    SRK….I feel is a broken man, who in search of happiness is taking unwarranted risks for his fair weather friends just to feel loved…!!!

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  4. What type of SRKIAN are you? Be happy for him and he is happy and it’s not like he was handed down this kind of unmatched fame and super stardom? He worked hard for it that too being an “Outsider” so take a deep breath and enjoy the ride with all of us (Shahrukh Khan fans) I honestly respect your views but for all you know Fan and Raess would be counted with those illustrious SRK films list which you rambled.

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  5. Romantic leading men have a shorter shelf life than action heroes, thriller/suspense heroes, and heroes of mass entertainers. As he’s approaching 50, it makes perfect sense for him to shift focus away from the romantic bad-boy of his youth. And frankly, he’d just look like a “dirty old man” if he kept trying to be the loverboy to 25YO actresses.
    Plus there’s more money/profits to be made in the action/thriller movies and the mass entertainers. Given that he has maybe 10 years left to make a ton of money off his acting career (before he heads into Amitabh Bachchan territory and does smaller films and supporting roles), doesn’t it make sense for him to milk that final 10 years for every last drop?
    Besides, while I enjoyed his performances in Chak de India and Paheli, I don’t usually turn to SRK for my acting fix. He’s more about charisma than about acting prowess.

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  6. This a very confusing piece of writing. SRK used to do mainstream movies full of that sort of entertaining items, today he is doing the same, then what is this big fuss all about? If you say Swadesh or Chak de India, those were again commercial movies, well with slightly different flavor, admixing poorly portrayed nationalistic sentiment.

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  7. i completely agree with you koral…..its been quite a long time that we’ve seen the real srk in action…..i mean the man who gave some milestones to the B-town like DDLJ, kal ho na ho, darr, baazigar…..is lost somewhere….
    there was atime when he amazed us with some amazing projects and roles which none other than he could do justice to…
    recently DDLJ has completed 1000 weeks of it in cinemas….even now a whole of a crowd goes to maratha mandir to watch DDLJ with the same enthusiasm as 19 years before…..”rahul, naam toh suna hi hoga” was something we always waited for….
    he really needs to have some good choices of projects which bringss out the best in him….we love him from the core of our heart so we want to see him in his best form….so that he always remains the baadshah of B-town….my best wishes for him

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  8. i THINK IS its a nice feedback I wonder if he reads it. I agree on most points. But overall average IQ of the movie is coming down. More of an entertainment and lest of a story is the norm.

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  9. As a fan, I tend to see things more from his perspective than a moviegover. They wanted to make an ultimate bollywood film true to Manmohan Desai, and they did it approximately. This is meant to be a fun film. I would have been troubled just like you, had I not read an interview “Somewhere in the middle of HNY I felt sick of it and wanted to do something intense and commercially viable. ” .. the last part he cant escape for sometime. He will start doing Fan and Raes. A new director pairing can bring some freshness. Hopefully.

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  10. Excellant! A true fan of SRK who have said such sincere words, a letter to SRK! Enjoyed it! SRK is no doubt one of the top actors that is no doubt a Superstar, after Dilip Kumar and all the great actors before him. Sadly the movie industry of its time dictates what types of movies are to be made. But nevertheless, SRK does have his choice of what he wants to make, We, as his true fans, would like to see more of his “amazing self” that he has presented to us in the past. God bless you and your family SRK! We love you!

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