28 years ago, on this date, superstar Shah Rukh Khan gave his first shot for a film. Deewana might be his first release, but it was Hema Malini’s Dil Aashna Hai, co-starring late Divya Bharti, which was the first film he shot for. The romance drama might have had an underwhelming response at the box office, but it gave us King Khan who changed the face of Hindi cinema. 28 years later, we are still smitten by the SRK phenomenon as he continues to reign in our hearts. We walk you down memory lane where the King of Romance talked to team Box Office India a few years back about his ‘firsts’ as an actor.
My First Paycheck
My first paycheck was for Mr Pankaj Udhas’ concert at Siri Fort Auditorium. I was one of the ushers. I got Rs 50 for it. I was chosen, along with a few others, from my theatre group. It was either Barry (John) or Sanjoy who had sent five to six of us boys and said that we could go and earn some money. When I got Rs 50, we sat in a train and went to see the Taj Mahal. I had never gone there, so my friends and I went there.
My first paycheck for a movie would be Hemaji’s (Malini) film. Many films happened at the same time and so I don’t remember where the first paycheck came from. But I remember I got some money for Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. That was followed closely by FC Mehra saab’s film (Chamatkar).
My First Film Shot
My first day of shoot was on June 26 in Convent Villa with Hemaji and the very wonderful, late Divya Bharti. It was this scene where I come out and Divya is in a room and I give some speech to her. That was my first shot in a film.
My First Friday
On my first Friday, I was at Mehboob (Studios) shooting for King Uncle. I did not even know that my film had released and what followed a film’s release. I remember Rakesh Roshanji coming in the evening and saying, ‘Arrey teri picture bahot badi hit ho gayi.’ From Mehboob, I walked down to my house. Back then, I wasn’t staying in Mannat; I was staying at Aziz Mirza’s house which was next to Taj Lands End. I was walking there and Salim (Khan) uncle was in his balcony and said to me from up there, ‘Tumhaari film bahot chal gayi. Bade star bann gaye ho tum.’ I did not know that there was a follow up to a film’s release and there was something like film trade.
My First Brand Endorsement
My first brand endorsement was in Delhi for a show company, maybe Liberty footwear. But here in Mumbai, my first ad was either for Tata Tea or Pepsi.
My First International Magazine Cover
My first international cover was either for Time Magazine or National Geographic. I don’t know which one was first. Or maybe, it was Man’s World or GQ.
My First Interview
My first interview was on a terrace with a journalist who my mother also knew. His name was Mr Monojit Lahiri. I think he was with Hindustan Times. He wrote a big story about my television debut.
My First Encounter With Photographers
I remember my first photo shoot. I was very uncomfortable. Sheena Sippy helped me and did my first photo shoot. I did not know how to do it. My mother and I went somewhere for some personal work. Mr Jagdish Mali saw me in the building where he had his friend’s house. I was coming out of the building and he saw me and took a few pictures of me. In the beginning, there were not too many photographers. In Mumbai, it must have been in some studio, most probably Filmistan or Natraj.
My First Autograph
It was in Delhi after Fauji. My character in it, Abhimanyu Rai, had become very famous. I think I have created three very popular characters – Abhimanyu Rai, Rahul and Raj. I was going on a three-wheeler in Delhi. There was this mother and daughter who screamed out, ‘Abhimanyu Rai! Abhimanyu Rai!’ I stopped and I gave them an autograph. I did not know how to do my autograph. After giving them one, I went and practised how to do it and then came upon the one that exists now.
My First House
My first house is in Amrit Building. I used to stay in Aziz Mirza’s house. Before that, I used to live on rent in a house opposite Papio. But the first house that we bought was in Amrit Building.
My First Film As A Producer
My first film as a producer was Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. Before that, I had earned some money from a distribution company that we owned. We released Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa from that company. Then we lost the money in the other films that we released. The first film produced by Juhi (Chawla), Aziz and my production company, Dreamz Unlimited, was Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani.
My Favourite Epithet
At a personal level, it is ‘papa’. I think that is the sweetest. I also like when people call me Shah bhai. I don’t like to be called ‘sir’ like I say in Don, ‘Sir bahut shareef sa lagta hai.’ I know Shah Rukh is a difficult name to say but I tell all the youngsters working with me to call me Shah Rukh. But Shah bhai is nice. But I know there will be some people who will feel awkward calling me Shah bhai.