The stardom of Shahrukh Khan is a topic of learning in many management schools across India. The rise to fame has been completely extraordinary and he has been successful in maintaining that stature for the last two decade. Stardom is a system that emerged into Hindi films during the 1940s. In the early years, the system allowed the strugglers to have a space and prove their abilities. Stars such as Dharmendra and Rajesh Khanna were searched out by talent hunts (in 1958 and 1964). But over the decades, Bollywood has now become an insular, impenetrable fortress ruled by several generations of the same celebrity families. Shahrukh Khan had once been one among these "strugglers" chasing this Stardust but he was one of the few who dared to achieve his dream. Shah Rukh Khan entered this industry in early nineties and spanned over the entire film world for more than twenty years with an unsurpassable talent. He emerged with the title "King Khan".
Stardom indeed requires talent, charisma as the family name. Shah Rukh joined films a year after Amitabh announced that he would be taking a break. Amitabh Bachchanhimself was exhausted with his immense success as an actor and his scandal-ridden failure as a politician and thus took a five-year vacation. His last film was Khuda Gawah (God Is Witness) in 1992 and again he returned with Mrityudaata (Angel of Death) in 1997. Amitabh had redefined the Bollywood superstar. Rajesh Khannawas there before him and had evoked a similar euphoria. When Amitabh retired, there were several talented and successful heroes, but no one captured the audience and the screen as he had.
Shah Rukh was very ordinary boy and did not have striking features like a gym-toned body, fair complexion and attractive features. He rather had painstakingly preserved looks and a submissive manner. He was respectful to his seniors but not slavishly fawning, even with the biggest names in the industry. Shah Rukh was confident about his talent and had high ambitions. He lived a messy life and his clothes were always crumpled. Shahrukh's hair had a life of its own and his eyes used to speak his heart. He had dark circles under his eyes because he was an insomniac and rarely slept before 2 A.M and the directors said that he was completely un-like somebody who had come to sell himself.
Although Shah Rukh did not look like a Hindi film hero, he showed the world what he could do with his calibre. Shah Rukh himself believed that he would become a star; he visited every place, starting from producers' offices to parties, and introduced himself as an established actor. No television star until then had made a successful transition into cinema, but Shah Rukh's television serials worked as his "resume." Despite his unkempt looks, the offers came to him were fast and furious that took him along the way of success.
A new director named Raj Kanwar offered him Deewana or Crazed Lover. Raj had already tried to cast several other actors to fit into this role but nothing had worked out, because the role was a second lead. Rajiv finally met Shah Rukh for the film Chamatkar, a romantic comedy and ghost story blended into one. Hema Malini, a breathtakingly beautiful heroine ruling the industry during the 1970s, wanted Shah Rukh for her directorial debut, Dil Aashana Hai (The Heart Knows the Truth). On the same time, Rakesh Roshan, one of the leading filmmaker, was looking to cast a youthful boy in a two-hero film called King Uncle.
Shah Rukh was a "next biggest superstar" and was deeply unsure about working in mainstream Hindi movies, mainly because Gauri Khan strongly disapproved. Even after the persistent lectures and advice of the directors, he had not committed to any film. But after his mother expired, he took the stern step to stay in the film industry. Bollywood seemed to be his heritage place. He decided that work would be his therapy and allow him to fight the overwhelming depression of loosing his only pillar of support. Within a few days of returning to Mumbai, Shah Rukh signed four films. In a little over a year, Shah Rukh had already achieved more than many Bollywood applicants do in a lifetime of struggle.
Viveck and Aziz were directors and producers who wanted to make a film called Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (Raju Becomes a Gentleman) with Shah Rukh. This film starred Shah Rukh opposite the chirpy and sweet beauty Juhi Chawla. Shah Rukh and Juhi later became lifetime friends and founded a production house called Dreamz Unlimited. The film Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman was the story of a small-town boy who comes to Mumbai for a job and is momentarily dazzled by the bright lights of the big city. On June 26, 1991, Shah Rukh did his first Bollywood shoot, for Dil Aashna Hil at the Convent Villa in Versova, opposite Divya Bharati under the Hema Malini production.
Today Shah Rukh is a name that is known worldwide. During his years in the Indian film industry, he has been honoured with thirteen Filmfare Awards, seven of which are in the Best Actor category. He has won 9 Star Screen Awards, 8 Zee Cine Awards, 3 IIFA Awards, 3 Bollywood Movie Awards, 2 Global Indian Film Awards and many other awards. He is also the winner of all the Best Actor Awards at Star's Sabsey Favourite Kaun Awards. Shah Rukh was also honoured Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence in the Field of Entertainment in 2002 and Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award from the Government of India in 2005. His wax model stands beside some of the world famous personalities in the museum of Madam Tussauds in London.
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