This is a verbatim reproduction of my most viral editorial on Quora. You can find the original LINK of the article HERE. Below is the question that was posted.
Here is the answer.
I think I can answer this question to some extent.
I have been interacting with Shah Rukh Khan intermittently through the course of my career. I know some of his dark secrets. I would call them dark because he chooses not to talk about it. These secrets are not hidden but he avoids discussing them in public.
- Shah Rukh Khan’s elder sister lives with him. She hardly makes a public appearance. Shah Rukh and Gauri take care of her. Her name is Shahnaz Lala Rukh Khan and she is a lovely lady who dotes on SRK.
- Shah Rukh Khan’s father died of oral cancer. He had a blister in his mouth which later appeared as cancer. His father was a very good man and a lot of people took advantage of him.
- Shah Rukh believes in numerology. All his phones numbers (he, his close staff and family) and his car number plates have a particular combination of five and eight. He won’t use any other combination of numbers. If you find any high-end car near Bandra West (in Mumbai) with a 555 number plate then there is a fat chance that the car belongs to Shah Rukh Khan.
- Shah Rukh doesn’t use soap (I distinctly remember him telling me this while talking to me a long time back). He spends a lot of time in the bathroom, sometimes two hours at a stretch. He sings in the bathroom too. By the way, Shah Rukh Khan is a terrible singer. He remembers his lyrics well but he doesn’t have sur in his voice 🙂
- Shah Rukh doesn’t like taking his clothes off in front of people. May be, that is the reason why you will never find him taking a swim in his own swimming pool at Mannat. He is basically a very shy guy. You will notice that Shah Rukh is always uncomfortable when a movie scene requires him to take his shirt off. Do you remember Shah Rukh in a swimming costume? No na? He is like that only 🙂
I can go on… probably if people like it, I will reveal more dark secrets about this star, who seems like an open book to his fans but actually he isn’t.
Edit 1: Thanks for the upvotes, guys.
You might notice that I am not referring to any source while talking about these dark secrets, it is because I am a witness myself. Also, I am calling these secrets ‘dark’ because SRK prefers to keep these in the dark and doesn’t talk about it.
If you think that I am going to slander / defame him on this forum, that I won’t ever. But these dark secrets prove that he is also an ordinary man just like you and me but with a few extraordinary capabilities.
Okay, without further ado, here goes another deep, dark secret.
Shah Rukh Khan has won a lot of battles in life but he has miserably lost in one — to curb his urge to smoke.
He has tried a lot to give up smoking but has always ended up lighting a cigarette at the end of the day. He can’t stay without a cigarette for a long time. There was actually a very brief period in his life when he tried very hard to give up smoking and obviously failed.
I have always seen him (when I used to meet him) smoke only one brand of cigarette — the Classic King Regular. It comes in a red packet and not easily available in the stores because it sells out very fast. Shah Rukh Khan’s loyal make-up man used to source and carry his cigarettes and lighter wherever he used to go.
Whenever SRK wanted to smoke, he would signal his make-up man and the make-up man would place the ashtray (he preferred a huge crystal ashtray during those days) and the lighter in front of him. I have never seen him Shah Rukh carry his own cigarettes. In fact, he doesn’t carry anything in his pockets ever. He never carries wallets, credit cards, money, cigarettes…. Shah Rukh Khan’s pockets are always empty 🙂
I noticed that he would use a very ordinary lighter (the ones that’s readily available in the paan stores) and it is something that hasn’t changed from his college days, when he started smoking.
I vaguely remember that he started smoking during his first year in college in Delhi. I had also asked him once about the day he started smoking and he had avoided the question. He, however, hinted that he distinctly remembers that day and there’s a story behind that incident that nobody knows (yet). Somebody introduced him to smoking and from that day on, he has never been able to live without a cigarette.
When Shah Rukh Khan smoked, he will end up smoking several cigarettes in one sitting, I have never seen him stop at one.
His contemporaries like Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan are smokers too but I have never seen them smoke more than one cigarette in one sitting.
I had also noticed that cigarettes had a calming effect on Shah Rukh Khan. It relaxed him and lightened up his mood.
If he is smoking while talking to you then he is mentally poised and prepared to give you a long time for a good conversation.
While he smoked, he took a lot of time in between puffs. He will take a drag and let the cigarette dangle between his fingers for a long time until it burns a lot and it’s to flick the ash off, only then he might take a second drag. He never quickly smoked his cigarettes (at least in front of me). He savoured it and let the cigarette dangle in between his fingers. I think, over the years, the cigarette has become an extended part of his personality.
Everybody in his family — specially his daughter Suhana — have been trying a lot to get Shah Rukh to quit smoking. Shah Rukh Khan has promised a million times (he even promised me in one of the meetings, long back) to give up smoking but he hasn’t been able to.
I don’t click pictures with stars when I am meeting them but I clicked one here because SRK insisted and had said that it is important to preserve memories. Here are two pictures from the meeting that I was talking about.
Remember, I gave up journalism some years back and I have never personally met SRK after that.
These photos were taken in his study in Mannat Extension or Mannat 2 (Yes, there are two Mannats and not one!). I remember this meeting because we had a long talk and it lasted for more than 90 minutes.
I had never seen him so relaxed.
If you look closely, you will see the (partly) packet of cigarettes and the green lighter on the sofa handle.
Shah Rukh Khan is a very passionate speaker. He speaks from the heart.
As I had said before, he is an ordinary man with extra-ordinary capabilities.
Edit 2: Thanks for all the requests.
Here is one more dark secret that perhaps Shah Rukh Khan will never talk about in public even though most of his peers and close friends know about it.
Have you ever wondered whether there anything left for Shah Rukh Khan to achieve? He set out to become an actor, he became a good theatre actor. Then he set out to become a TV actor, he achieved it in a very short span of time. Then embarked upon the journey to become a film star and struggled hard. He finally achieved that too.
Today he is one of the biggest stars that Bollywood has ever produced.
So, does he, in some dark corner of his heart, deserve something more? Is there anything that he still wishes to achieve?
Yes, that’s a dark secret that SRK perhaps never talks about.
Shah Rukh Khan has been striving for international recognition for a long time and the same has been eluding him. He has conquered India and now he wants to conquer the world (read Hollywood). Shah Rukh Khan wants to win an Oscar or a Golden Globes.
Many know about it and they keep encouraging him to do stellar work that will establish him on an international stage. This is perhaps the reason why you will find Shah Rukh Khan doing films that are unsuitable for an Indian commercial film market but very apt for the parallel cinema or the international market ( for example: Fan).
There are some close friends who make fun of him behind his back saying that he is hankering for an Oscar and it will never come to him. It is rumoured that the ageing star who was mad about getting an Oscar in Shirish Kunder’s Joker, was actually a caricature of Shah Rukh Khan.
That explains why Shah Rukh Khan always had a preference for the International media (only leading media houses). He had allowed an international channel to make a documentary on him and opened his house to them. They were also allowed to stalk him. If you come from a leading media house in the United States, you will not have to wait to get his appointment.
Recently, Shah Rukh gave a Ted Talk and you will notice that it was meant for an international audience too.
This is one of his secrets that he hardly talks about. He doesn’t want to become a side-kick in a Hollywood movie, he wants to be the main star and win laurels.
And why not?
Being an Indian, I wish and pray that he becomes world’s biggest superstar and rules over Hollywood the same way he is ruling over India.
Edit 3: Hope you enjoyed reading the answers. Again, my intention is not to reveal any dark secrets that will make his fans uncomfortable.
Most of these secrets have already been presented in public websites before. I have only added my point of view and whatever I have seen myself through my interactions with him.
There is a Shah Rukh Khan that is hidden away from all our eyes. That Shah Rukh Khan is no brand and no superstar. He is just an ordinary man like any one of us and like a lot of us, he has a lot of extraordinary capabilities. Unlike many, he had decided to do what he does best and not stick to a nine-to-five job.
It’s best that we don’t know or try to know the ordinary SRK because that takes away the shine away from a superstar like him.
This is one of the reasons why I have taken good care not to reveal anything that doesn’t make him look good. He is after all, a very good human being, who is generous and spiritual to the core.
I have never seen him discuss money ever.
After seeing him over the years, I am quite certain that money never motivated him. I am also quite certain that he takes a lot of decisions on instinct or hunch. If he feels it is right, he will just follow through with the decision.
Shah Rukh Khan has a sharp business sense, he knows what will generate money in the long run. For example: He was one of the first big investors in the IPL even though he knew that it won’t make him money immediately and will massively drain his resources. But he had a long-term goal and followed his hunch and went against all advice asking him not to pick up the stakes in KKR. Incidentally KKR was the first IPL team to turn profitable.
He knows the power of his brand (Brand SRk) and he knows how to succesfully milk it.
Edit 4: He is very big on charity. He had funded and helped create an entire children’s cancer ward at Nanavati hospital in Mumbai. His charities are no less than any other superstar in Mumbai. But then Shah Rukh Khan follows the doctrine that if your “right hand is doing charity, the left hand shouldn’t know”. He never ever talks about his charity. But take it from me that he is very big on it.
I will cite an example here. Recently, one of my senior colleagues had a huge accident and was admitted to a hospital. He was a senior Bollywood Journalist. He was one of the journalists who had been interacting with Shah Rukh when he was a newcomer. He had given up journalism for almost a decade and there was no way a star could benefit from him
Somebody (actually we did) passed on the news of his accident to Shah Rukh. Shah Rukh was not in the country so he didn’t respond initially.
He came back to India, received the communication (sent to him on his mobile) and ordered his representative to clear all the hospital bills. His representatives just made an online transfer of funds and in one day, all his dues were nil.
His representatives also spoke to the hospital authorities and asked them to continue the line of treatment and mail them a scanned copy of the invoice. In the end, the journalist went home and the entire hospital expenses were borne by SRK’s company. Shah Rukh Khan or his company never gave a statement about it. It was done silently and effectively. That day I understood how his charity works. Consider this a dark secret too.
For all of you who are expecting plain gossip in the garb of ‘dark secrets’, please let us not encourage this trend that has become a staple for many Bollywood portals to earn money.
I personally despise people who want us (journalists) to reveal salacious gossip about stars. I am not one of them.
Shah Rukh Khan is one one of the most respected stars in the world today and I want him to be that way.
Huge respect for this man who has made it on his own in Bollywood.
Last Edit: Kindly note, I will not add anymore edits to this answer because it has already become very long.
Have a great day guys.
Categories: Bollywood, Most Popular
Amazing read !
great post 🙂
This is just a great piece. You’re right, most of this has been said by Shah Rukh himself or others but to collect it like this is just an amazing read.