Shah Rukh Khan, it is time you answered some uncomfortable questions. Indirectly, you have caused the death of a man and there is sense of unease all around.
Shah Rukh Khan, stop being a scrooge
That’s right. SRK , you are no longer a movie star alone. You sell condoms, cars, soft drinks, mobile phones and what not. In short, you are telling your fans to go and buy those brands because you identify with those brand values.
Nothing wrong in that.
But, when your marketing gimmicks go to the extent that a man is crushed under the feet of your fans, then it is a problem. Huge problem.
I will tell you why.
You should have immediately stopped your ‘train marketing’ campaign. That is what is called empathy. I am sure your English and Moral Science teachers would have explained you the meaning of this word. It means, ‘sharing someone else’s grief‘. But, you have chosen to ignore the feelings of the dead man’s family.
Shah Rukh Khan, why are you in awe of the underworld?
While I was writing this paragraph, I was tempted to use the word, ‘perpetually’. I didn’t fall to the temptation. But, you know what others like me feel? Read on…
One of your most memorable characters is that of Don. I have not watched that movie but there is a creeping feeling that perhaps you identify with that character.
Ok, forget Don. Let us go back to your formative years in the early 1990s. Remember Darr. And, Anjam. And Badshah? I have a lurking feeling that there was indeed a strain of negativity in your personality that came out in those films. Do you consider me loony?
Fast forward to Raees
Raees, I am told is inspired by the goonda, Abdul Lateef. A Gujarati, he was a well known smuggler of liquor and illegal contraband. Perhaps he carried drugs too. Was he a Pakistani agent? I don’t know but smugglers are smugglers and even if he was not a Paki agent, Lateef was still an enemy to the society.
So my dear Shah Rukh Khan, why did you play his role?
Was it to play up a ‘victimized Muslim’ feeling? Or was it something else? Like it is cool to peddle drugs as long as it fetches money. I am flummoxed, really flummoxed.
The Swades and Chak De chapters
When I juxtaposition Darr and Anjam with Swades and Chak De, I cannot avoid the contradiction in your roles.
Here is one Shah Rukh Khan who is full of gripe and revenge, and here is the other SRK who is mature, responsible and well behaved.
Which character of yours should we believe in, Shah Rukh Khan ?
Avoid being a Scrooge, Shah Rukh Khan
Ok, even if I leave aside the choice of your roles for a moment, I cannot but help to notice the money mindedness in your personality. I would have expected you to discontinue your marketing campaign , apologize and simply go back home. But, I am disappointed. Even as I write this, your train, carrying you, is thundering across India marketing your movie to your starved fans.
Tomorrow, when your Raees opens to the BO, you will be eagerly counting the billions that will be flowing to your marketing war chests. On the way to becoming a Raees, you have displayed a poverty of empathy, Shah Rukh Khan. I have a fleeting feeling that you want to overtake Aamir Khan’s Dangal in Box Office earnings. If there is a death or two on the way, how does it matter? No?
Lest you should know, Mr. Khan, Scrooge was the rascal moneylender in Charles Dickens’ famous work, The Merchant of Venice.