My Name is Shahrukh Khan

I am an unabashed Shahrukh Khan fan. Twenty-two years ago, my whole family would sit down to watch Fauji on Doordarshan for only one reason– this fresh-faced actor named Shahrukh Khan. With My Name is Khan on its way this month, I thought I’d run through my favorite SRK performances of all time.

5. Dil Se
I saw this movie in the theater with my father, and both of us were blown away. On its own, the opening scene with the tea, the train and Koirala is one of the most compelling openings to an Indian movie. Consider that this scene is immediately followed by the train-top Chhaiya Chhaiya. That one-two punch, especially on the big screen, was almost enough to forgive the lack of focus towards the end. And but for those last 20 minutes or so, this would rank closer to #1.
dil se

4. Swades
Shahrukh Khan at his most understated. With Swades and Chak de, he demonstrated a range many people didn’t think he had. And many people still claim he doesn’t.

3. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge
DDLJ came out Diwali 1995, and the timing has everything to do with why it’s so high on this list. I was 16, in love and on a vacation that, in retrospect, was my own version of the Euro-trip in DDLJ. There are many great love stories in the history of cinema, but DDLJ and Rangeela are the soundtrack to mine. If I was a Bollywood hero back then and was to spontaneously break in to song, I would have been singing Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko from DDLJ (or Kya Kare Kya Na Kare from Rangeela). Shahrukh Khan plays the part that would become the template for a thousand other ones, in most movies for the better part of a decade.

2. Hey Ram
This is probably the most under-appreciated of all Shahrukh Khan rolls, but also his greatest. The only reason it isn’t at #1 is because nothing beats Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.

1. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa
I believe I have watched this movie more times than any other Hindi movie, barring Angoor. I have trouble describing what this movie means to me. It finds an impossible balance between tragedy and comedy, and the only reason comedy wins is because that is how Sunil (played by Shahrukh Khan) chooses to live his life.

“Koi saala bahot sad hai”


5 thoughts on “My Name is Shahrukh Khan

  1. I liked SRK the most in ‘Kabhi Haan kabhi na’ as well as ‘Raju ban gaya gentleman’. Those were the ‘everyone likes SRK’ days where we could nod proudly and say yeah, isn’t he great. Then came the other days where most of the world felt he hammed it up too much. The Karan Johar and YashRaj films days (not counting the earlier films of Yashraj like DDLJ and Darr). In these ‘other’ days, Swades and Chak De came like a whiff of fresh air, the ‘SRK still rules’ fresh air. The trump cards and ace up the sleeves of SRK fans like me who could enter an SRK bashing conversation and say Nooo….What about Swades, huh? What about Chak De?
    Sunil of Kabhi Haan Kabhi na remains the most endearing SRK on the silver screen. I like to think that’s how the real SRK must be.

  2. “The trump cards and ace up the sleeves of SRK fans like me who could enter an SRK bashing conversation and say Nooo….What about Swades, huh? What about Chak De?”
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used those 🙂

  3. Also, I think post-DDLJ he stopped taking risks in the late-90s. Before (and to a lesser extent after) that, he’s always been a risk-taker. His run of films from 1996’s English Babu Desi Mem to 1999’s Badshah is uninspired, and but for Dil Se, a creative wasteland:

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