Interview: SHAH RUKH KHAN and KAJOL Talk to WBRi About Their New "Action-Romance" Film DILWALE in Kolkata

By J P Mandal and Asmita Mukherjee (newsdesk.kolkata@washingtonbanglaradio.com)
Pictures: Biswajit Saha

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Kolkata (C) WBRi Inc.
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Kolkata

Kolkata, Dec 23 (Washington Bangla Radio) - Bollywood’s invincible on-screen pair of present times Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol launched their post-release promotion of their latest Hindi film "Dilwale" from Kolkata.

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Kolkata (C) WBRi Inc.
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Kolkata

Kajol could not stop laughing when he told her people of this city greet him as "Khan dada", said SRK in a glorious evening at the Taj Bengal.

WBRi asked the actors about their shift away from sweet romance-only films to "action romance" where the actors belong to rival gangs and fall for each other after a few fights. Shah Rukh said, “There is always some action in romance and you can verify it from any romantic couple on earth. The only difference is that we have done it on a grander scale in this movie.”

Kajol said, “The story of this film is very passionate and the emotions are very intense. It is not exactly bubble gum, it’s not exactly cute. It was designed to be a little bit louder, little bit violent and little bit of everything as we wanted it to be a little bit of different.”

Shah Rukh, famous for his wicked sense of humour, added “I enjoyed Kajol’s action in the film as a girl putting a gun on your chest can be a huge turn-on.”

“But I have to admit Kajol can be excellent in action-oriented roles. She has done all action scenes herself. She is an excellent driver and it was she who was behind the wheel in all chase sequences.”

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Kolkata (C) WBRi Inc.
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Kolkata

People are talking about SRK making a film adaptation of the American crime-drama TV series "Breaking Bad" (AMC) about a high school chemistry teacher with terminal lung cancer dives into the world of drug lords, crime and criminal gangs to make enough money to leave for his family. When asked about if he was really planning on a movie on a similar theme, Shah Rukh said, “I just have a thought in my mind as I liked 'Breaking Bad' a lot. I liked the whole concept of a man going to die and he is not afraid of life anymore. It’s a fantastic series. I have not taken any professional step tworads making it. I have not pursued the rights, or planned on doing so. I just casually told someone I would be happy if I get a role like that. That’s all.”

Questions about King Khan's reaction to protests against screening of Dilwale in certain locations were inevitable. In some places the protests have become bad enough for theaters to suspend screening of the film. SRK said, “Yes I am constantly getting updates  on whatsapp and social media about such incidents where shows of Dilwale had to be stopped due to such activities. The thing I want to say is that I have worked for 25 long years in this country and have received love and admiration from all corners of it, irrespective of cast, creed, region, religion or gender. The only way I can return my love is through my work and I try to do my best in that. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. It really saddens me when my work can't reach out to people as I do it just once or twice a year and that too when lovely friends like Kajol and other people get involved. I understand that all of it started from something I have said. But my words are misconstrued, misrepresented and misinterpreted sometimes. I have no issue with tolerance or intolerance in my country. If I have had commented on those I would have fallen in my own eyes as I myself am a representative of my country. Still if I have hurt anyone’s sentiment I really regret it. But one has to allow the openness of a person. I want to send a message to everybody that no one should get mislead by people who have misconstrued my words.”

When asked about the effect of such incidents on box-office collections, he said, “Yes it’s true that collections in a lot of places have been affected. I don’t know the exact numbers of collections made or not made. To me numbers and statistics do not matter much. But it’s really sad that something which has been made with so much love with the objective of spreading love and happiness is not being allowed to reach the people.”

Is he being pressurized to make a public apology for the controversial remarks? When asked, Shah Rukh said, “I have not said anything that I should apologise for. All these were misinterpreted or misunderstanding of what I have said. I would be the last person in the world to say that my country is intolerant because I am today what I am because of the genuine love and acceptance I get from every single place in this country.”

The owner of Knight Riders was also asked why he was not doing solo films, but only movies with ensemble casts. “I am currently making family blockbusters along with some different kind of cinema in between them. After new year the film ‘Fan’ was supposed to release which is a solo film for me. But unfortunately the VFX for the film demanded more time and thus Dilwale got released before Fan.”

"For family blockbusters we need multiple members to form a family and thus we have ensemble cast in them. It is for the sake of the story. Even DDLJ had an ensemble cast. 'Chak De India' was not a regular potboiler but that too had as many as 25 actors in major roles. There is no other reason for that,” he added.

Kajol in Kolkata (C) WBRi Inc.
Kajol in Kolkata

It was Kajol's daughter who coaxed her into doing Dilwale, as Kajol has disclosed previously. When Kajol was asked about her daughter's reaction after watching Dilwale, she said, “My daughter watched the film, came back home and started crying. She said she did not want to watch a movie which would make her cry. So it was not exactly a successful mother - daughter stint with this movie.”

Shah Rukh Khan has been labelled as the most romantic hero of Bollywood for many years. He was asked to pick the most perfect love story that he has explored through his movies. The very witty actor abstained from singling out any one movie, saying “No love story is perfect. All love stories are unique and have their own essences. One has to find his own love story and when a person finds one it becomes the perfect love story for that person.”

Khan-dada will be back in K-town in January for a number of activities. Watch the official theatrical trailer of Dilwale, trending at just shy of 21 million views at the time of writing: