Shah rukh khan’s charms are legendary and it’s not just the ladies who swoon at the very mention of his name. Photographers who have been closely associated with the actor over the years are not immune to his charisma, and his encounters with them show just how effortlessly he wins hearts.
Since birthdays are a great time to celebrate the best facets of an individual, we spoke to mumbai-based photographers who are familiar with the man behind the star. What they revealed proved, yet again, that khan is not just a superstar; he touches the lives of everyone he meets, whether fans, photographers, film crew… just about anybody.
Some of the most popular mumbai-based photographers walk down memory lane with srk and talk about their unforgettable moments with him. They also shared pictures of khan with us, the star who made them feel special every time they met him. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the photographer taking the picture can be equally eloquent.
I still remember the first time i met shah rukh khan, it was at the mahurat shoot of deewana. It was his debut film and the film went on to become a blockbuster. I have known him since then. I have always loved clicking him because in those days we used to visit sets and get to shoot them and whether he was eating, standing or doing anything i have clicked so many candid pictures of him and he has never stopped me, which is what i love most about him. He is very kindhearted, last year on eid he had called all his old friends and i also met him at his house mannat. It’s always a pleasure to meet him.
I have been working in this industry for more than 25 years and have known shah rukh khan for as many years. He is one of the most genuine people in the industry. He never blocked me from visiting any of his sets. In the early days, though, he would never allow me to take pictures of him with his co-stars. He would say, ‘gauri gets angry, yaar. Akele ka khich le.’
I once visited the sets of army, where he was shooting with sridevi. In those days, getting the co-stars’ pictures was very important, but he said ‘no’ again. So i went to sridevi and asked if she would pose with him. She agreed. And that’s how i finally clicked the picture of him with sridevi. Everyone loved that picture. Another interesting thing about srk is that he has a very sharp memory. He never forgets a face or a name, and he recognises who truly respects him and who is buttering him up. Whether it’s eid or his birthday, he calls everyone to his house and treats them to a feast.
Shah rukh khan is a rare actor from india who is also very popular internationally and i can honestly say that i have earned a lot by selling his pictures abroad. I have worked in this industry for more than two decades, and i have seen stars rise and fall. What i have noticed about srk – and this is something i love about him – is that he respects people. He knows it’s my job to take his picture. So no matter where he is, he will pose for shutterbugs as he knows they were probably waiting for hours to get that one shot. On the other hand, other stars simply walk into a party, ignore the photographers and sometimes even shout at them. In 20 years, srk has never ignored us. I don’t see that humility and kindness in today’s generation. I think that’s part of why he has survived and ruled bollywood for so many years – because he respects everyone and everyone’s job. My dream is to get abram and aryan and him in the same frame.
Shah rukh khan is one of those rare actors who respects photographers. He invites us to his home on various occasions and takes time out to chat with us. He is also very lucky for me. I remember some photographs i took when om shanti om was about to release. It was his birthday and he was having a chat with the media. There was a huge ruckus outside and he realised his fans were calling him. So he stepped out and waved to them. He was so happy, and you could see it on his face. When he came back, i took a few pictures and one of them bagged me my first award.
To give you an instance of his kindness, i had taken a friend’s daughter to kidzania once, when he was there at an event. She went on to the stage to meet him, and started crying. That’s when i took my picture. He very sweetly called her back to the stage and said, ‘rote hue picture achchi nahi aati’ and allowed her to click a smiling picture with him. How many super stars would do that? That’s why we all love him so much.
I have completed five years in the industry. We wait all day and sometimes all night to get a shot of him, and when we do, it’s like a bonus. Every year, he invites all of us to his home and treats us very well. At every success party, he allows us to click a picture with him. He has also danced with us on many occasions. I really like his energy and down-to-earth nature.
In a job where we routinely wait long hours for a single shot, it’s always refreshing to meet shah rukh khan because he makes us forget everything. He entertains us with witty comments and jokes. He understands and respects the job we do. That’s the best thing about him. Not everyone will pose for a picture. He is the one star who will take a minute to pose for us. That’s why i say he understands our job. I have never seen him refuse a photographer.
I have worked with times of india and bombay times for the last 10 years and i have shot all sorts of celebrities, including shah rukh khan, whom i have shot extensively. He is the epitome of a ‘superstar’. When he walks into a room, he owns the place. He is a charmer; he has worked his way into everyone’s hearts and minds. I remember shooting a photo story with him and a few pregnant women, for a social cause. I remember how he spoke to each of them, made them feel comfortable and gave them a lovely shoot experience. I remember thinking that that ability to connect with people is what makes him the global phenomenon he is. On his 50th birthday, i want to wish him lots of happiness and success.
I love king khan and am a huge fan. One of my fondest memories of srk is from an iftaar party. He was eating with friends and as i was the only photographer there, i took a picture of him. Then he very calmly asked me not to click him while he was eating. Obviously, i stopped. Months later, we were at an event, he recognised me and said ‘tu hi thi na woh uss din, jo khate huye picture nikaal rahi thi?’ i was shocked that he remembered me.
Although he doesn’t know me personally, he recognises my face and always acknowledges me, which is what i love most about him. In 2013, when he was promoting chennai express, he visited ram kadam’s dahi handi event in ghatkopar. Everyone was downstairs but his manager pooja called me upstairs and allowed me to take a few pictures of him, which he loved. Later, they asked me to send him those pictures. It was a very proud moment for me.