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'I've become a habit'

Shah Rukh Khan on the overwhelming response he’s flooded with

I never calculate or call up distributors and exhibitors to find out the business of my films. I make a film, go out in public and sense the feedback from my audience.
I’ve been travelling a lot these days – across the world and getting feedback directly from the audience. I recently attended two weddings and everyone was talking about My Name Is Khan and they were also discussing my clothes in the film!

Just a few days ago, I opened a show of ICICI at Abu Dhabi and I said – I’m glad and my name is Khan. Two thousand people started clapping and it went on for some time. I’ve been flooded with text messages. The messages I have received for MNIK are five times more than post - Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi or Chak De! India. Maybe more people have my number now!

Some say collections in singleplexes are weak but that’s fine with us. If you ask me, my role and my film is a big success. The commercial aspect toh chalta rahega, 19 hoga ya 20 hoga. I compare my film with my own films. MNIK beats Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi with a large margin. Next time, I’ll have to outdo MNIK!

As for trying to attempt something different with MNIK, I think the audience has confidence in me now. The other day, I was counting my recent releases – Swades, Veer Zaara, Om Shanti Om, Chak De! India, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and the bad guy in Don. Today, the audience loves me a little beyond my acting. Critically, let people say what they want to, I stand by my audience. I’ve become a habit. And as long as I’m a habit, I can push the boundaries and present myself as something else.

I was at Berlin and the love and affection I was showered with made me feel as if I was born in Germany. I was told that in the last 20 years, they had never seen such a huge crowd for any premiere. People were standing from 7 am till 7 am the next morning. There was a queue from the airport till the destination!

During our Abu Dhabi premiere, we were tense due to the controversy but the warmth which was shown to us there was touching. I was told that 80 to 85 per cent of the people at the premiere loved  the film.

Everyone from the film industry loves our film. After a long time, Priyanka (Chopra) sent me her love via a text message and she wants to watch the film at my place. Farhan (Akhtar) and Zoya (Akhtar) loved the film. But I’ve not been able to enjoy the success and love people have been showering at me. I was a bit depressed with what happened initially. I want to be happy and enjoy the success but I can’t.

I am yet to reply to everyone in the industry. I usually keep 700 messages in my inbox but I receive around 1,500 every day! So I’ve got two fullscape sheets and I’ve started writing down names before I erase their messages. Through this magazine, I intend to convey this message that I am touched with this overwhelming response. I will write to them soon and will try and, if possible, to phone everyone and thank them.

Rishi Kapoor-saheb wrote such sweet things to me and Gauri and Karan made it a point to make me sit and reply to him. I spoke to Shammi-saheb too. Soon, I will get back to everyone. Inshallah!

Why compare?
A drop after a few days of release is inevitable. Gone are the days when we used to check percentages. In the US, the funda is, once the audience reaches the theatre, they should go back seeing a housefull board. Which is the last film that celebrated a silver jubilee or diamond jubilee or platinum jubilee?

For me, DDLJ was the last film which had a platinum jubilee and is still running. Does this mean DDLJ was the last hit film the Indian film industry has delivered?
Why should we compare two actors and the business of their respective movies? Why should we compare two genres? My Name Is Khan should be compared to my last film and if the present film has crossed the business of the previous one, it’s a success.

Today, theatrical business is not the only  tool to recover your money. Let me give you an example of my own film. The music of Om Shanti Om was a big hit. In physical sales, T-Series lost money but through various other avenues, they made a profit.

Audio sales for my Dil To Pagal Hai... were nearly 2 lakh but T-Series could only sell around 20,000 audio of Om Shanti Om.
None of the big hits of recent times – Om Shanti Om, Ghajini, 3 Idiots, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi – could have had a long genuine run at the box office.

Before jumping to conclusions, one needs to wait for global figures. But some idiots are checking the business ulta. Today, we are working on Avid but these people are still in the era of Steenbeck editing.

So what if its long?
I was concerned about the second half. But then, I told Karan, let it be because 5-7 minutes is not going to affect the film. Dhai ghante se thoda jyada hai, chalta hai.
After all, we made such a big film on a huge canvas. How does it matter if the run time is little more than we expected? Sometimes, you decide to cut, sometimes you don’t. It’s one of the most important films of my career and we decided not to cut it.

My Name is Khan and I’m not a terrorist
I wasn’t playing a normal guy in the film so I couldn’t have said this dialogue in a macho way. So I decided to convey it going by the feel of the scene. At the airport where I deliver this dialogue, it was with pride.
The second time, when I say it to Jignesh (played by Vinay Pathak), I want to tell him that Rizvan Khan is not responsible for whatever is happening to him and not to curse Islam. And the last time I say it, it is to the President. On that occasion, Rizvan keeps his cool as he has already conveyed his message through his journey and the President is aware that – his name is Khan and he’s not a terrorist.

Marry Me
That was fun! Karan and I were a little apprehensive of whether Kajol should repeat Rizvan’s dialogue and say – marry me. But we had full faith that it would gel. It did. My blushing worked.

Repair almost anything
We wanted to convey that the world needs to be repaired and Rizvan can repair almost anything.


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