The outpouring of support for Shah Rukh Khan, ever since his son Aryan Khan’s arrest on October 3 by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), has not stopped and more celebrities from across the country continue to question the agency’s motives behind the arrest. On Friday, following SRK’s visit in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, where his son is being kept since October 8, several celebrities spoke about the "heartbreaking" images and videos of the superstar that had surfaced on the Internet.
Though much of mainstream Bollywood maintained a studied silence, several colleagues, including filmmakers Alankrita Shrivastava, Hansal Mehta and actor Pooja Bhatt, spoke out in support of the family. The media also came in for some attack.
My heart is broken for SRK. May there be light at the end of the tunnel.— Alankrita Shrivastava (@alankrita601) October 21, 2021
So… how are the reporters and cameras all set already for the ‘officials’ to make an entry and all captured at the ‘right time’ for the ‘visit’. ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ! Great co-ordination with the paps! Well done. Many in the show-biz don’t manage this timing right! https://t.co/xISQZPs1SF— Kanika Dhillon (@KanikaDhillon) October 21, 2021
The superstar’s visit to the Arthur Road jail in what was his first public appearance since his son's arrest in a drugs case on October 3 was followed by a team of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officials visiting his home Mannat.
Screenwriter Kanika Dhillon, who has been vocal in her support to the star, said it was "heartbreaking" to see the turn of events.
Heartbreaking… just simply heartbreaking …— Kanika Dhillon (@KanikaDhillon) October 21, 2021
Director Hansal Mehta wrote that the industry has always been vulnerable to criticism, scrutiny and abuse.
I don’t know or have never appreciated the term Bollywood. What I do know is that this term and the individuals connected to it are a favourite punching pag and diversionary vehicle for a few divisive, abusive and inefficient set of some cowardly invisible people.— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) October 21, 2021
Since Aryan's arrest, noted film personalities, including Hrithik Roshan, Zoya Akhtar, Farah Khan and Raveena Tandon, have expressed their solidarity with Shah Rukh and wife Gauri Khan. Close friend superstar Salman Khan has also visited the couple several times.
Shashi Sahay, who played SRK’s mother in the 1993 musical ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’, feels “sad” to see SRK go through this, which she feels is not even his fault. “I really just hope this tough period is over for him soon. They say ‘Aulad ki galti ma baap ko bhugatni padti hai' (Parents have to often pay for the mistakes of their children) and I guess that’s what’s happening to Shah Rukh as well. And it's just so suprising to see that only his name being dragged in this. Why are the parents of other kids who have been caught being called out, in the same way as SRK? Because none of them are as big as SRK, and their name probably won’t get that much attention, as much as SRK does,” she says.
In the 1993 film, directed by Kundan Shah, Shah Rukh Khan plays the role of happy-go-lucky Sunil, who is not interested much in studies, and has his heart set on two things – music and then Anna- apparently the love of his life. Sahay recalls a young Shah Rukh in his late twenties, full of energy, striving for perfection in every scene.
“The first scene, where he had to follow me, asking for money to buy some gifts for anna eventually, I remember we must have done that scene at least 50 times. Not because it was a poor take, but he wasn’t happy with his performance in those takes. He kept on saying I can do better. And he would discuss it with me, how he can do it better. As a costar, you’d also get on your toes, because you see someone with so much dedication, that you also want to do it in the best possible way. He just exudes that warmth and positivity, and I guess that’s one of the many things why he has become such a big star now,” she adds. The film has had a pretty successful music album as well, and Sahay argues, that one of the songs from the film, 'Woh To Hai Albela', can actually be used to describe Shah Rukh’s current predicament perfectly.
“Woh to hai albela, hazaron mein akela
Sada tumne aib dekha, hunar ko na dekha”
(He is a maverick, alone amongst thousands,
You always saw him for his vices, never saw his talent)
“Look at him, right now, this song perfectly describes him and the situation he is in right now. Every one is pointing fingers at him, and questioning him, for something that he has not even done. They are saying all the bad things about him, and don’t see the talent he has, and the fact that he has literally enthralled an entire nation, and also the world for more than 30 years now. Not just that, he’s so alone right now, there’s absolutely no one supporting him, or talking about his work. I mean, yes, there has been his fanbase who have quite diligently supported him and continues to do so, but otherwise, there’s hardly any support,” she adds.
Many, in the industry feel, its just the price SRK, is paying for being a Bollywood celebrity.
Suchitra Krinamoorthi, SRK’s co star from Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, doesn’t completely agree that he is being targeted for his surname, alone. “I do not think he is being targeted because of his religion at all. One must stop playing this religious card every time things go wrong. He is being targeted for his extraordinary success and perhaps his political associations but certainly not his religion,” she tells us.
“I remember Shah Rukh being super gentle. While other actors would often be rough or too strong while performing romantic scenes or dances Shah Rukh treated me like I was made of rose petals. Very tender,” she adds.
SRK’s another co-star Shreyas Thalpade, agrees With Krishnamoorthi and feels that since SRK is very “secure” about himself, not just as an actor but a person as well, it is difficult for him to believe that the actor is being singled out because of his surname.
“There is nothing fake about Shah Rukh Khan. He does it with utmost sincerity. That is the reason why with all his characters, people say ‘wo ek tareeke se karta hai' but humein phir bhi itna acha kyun lagta hai Shah Rukh Khan? Hum uska Rahul ho Raj ho, wo humein kyu pasand aate hai’? (He does everything in a similar way, but still, why do we like Shah Rukh Khan so much. Be it Rahul or Raj, why do we still like him?) That is because there is a very sincere quality to him and that really appeals to me,” he says.
Thalpade worked with SRK in the 2007 film ‘Om Shanti Om’, which ended up being one of the biggest hits in Bollywood that year.
“One most important thing about Shah Rukh is the way he feels for his film and how he promotes it. So, I asked him that 'Shah how are we going to promote this film' and he said, 'Right now I don't know how are we going to promote it but one thing l I know is that ‘Om Shanti Om’ has to be the biggest film of the year'. And then he promoted it! I always say that he is a textbook in promoting his films,” he says.
“Despite the fact that he is a huge star, he will make you comfortable, he will make you feel like he is your childhood buddy. He will give you a freedom to improvise, in fact he won't shy away from giving some of his own punch lines to you. I felt that he is not insecure about anything. He knows who he is, he knows what he can deliver. My experience has been that he is a very secure actor,” he adds.
Aryan, 23, and seven others were arrested by the NCB after a raid on a cruise ship. On Wednesday, a special court rejected Aryan’s bail for the second time. The case will now be heard by the high court on Tuesday.
(With Inputs From PTI)