Posts Tagged ‘Shah Rukh Khan’

Happy 47th Birthday, Shah Rukh Khan

In honor of SRK’s birthday, here are some favorite moments from Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003).  This seems an appropriate choice this week, since the movie was filmed in New York.  After the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy,  Aman and Naina are not the only ones crying.

I love Shah Rukh, and I’m counting the days until his new movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan opens on November 13th.  Happy Birthday!

Click on any image to scroll through larger versions.

Koyla

Here are some images from Koyla, the 1997 Hindi film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit.  It’s an over-the-top revenge romance, entertaining to those who can appreciate the ridiculous plot and Shah Rukh’s mullet.  I love these two actors.  Who needs another reason?

Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, Koyla

Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, Koyla

Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, Koyla

Shah Rukh Khan in Koyla

My Year End Wrap Up 2011

Another year comes to a close, so now it’s time to reflect back over what entertained me in 2011.  I just looked at the wrap up from last year, to get an idea of how far I’ve come in twelve months.  It’s clear that my focus has shifted in two directions.   I spent a large part of this year with my head in London, after watching the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables in March.  I also headed back to the past in a big way, once I started watching RetroTV and MeTV during a summer of unbearable television on the big networks.   These two obsessions have a major influence on my best and worst list of 2011.

Best Books:  Most of the novels I liked this year were written for children and teens.  I particularly enjoyed Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (the 2011 Newbery Award winner) and Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.  Guitar Boy by MJ Auch and Countdown by Deborah Wiles weren’t perfect, but they each stayed with me long after reading.  My favorite non-fiction book was The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean, which managed to make the periodic table interesting to someone who barely paid attention to science in high school.  The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan was a little book filled with some gems, and it goes into the “hard to categorize” category.  The funniest books were Demitri Martin’s This is A Book, and Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz & David Hayward.  The biggest disappointments were The Sherlockian by Graham Moore and The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz.  The lesson here is to give up on Sherlock Holmes in books and stick to the BBC.

Best Television:  The Big Bang Theory remains my favorite sitcom, just for being consistently funny.  The best line: “Let’s hurry up and watch this Star Wars blu-ray before George Lucas changes it again!” (Sorry for the paraphrase.)  NCIS consistently underwhelmed me, and I’m can’t help wondering if I’ll give up on it soon.  In spite of my declaration to boycott Masterpiece on PBS, I still watched and enjoyed Downton Abbey, Rufus Sewell as Aurelio Zen, Jason Isaac as Jackson Brodie, and the Inspector Lewis mysteries.  I spent my summer wrapped up in the old series Da Vinci’s Inquest, and my winter has been dominated by reruns of The Rifleman.  Overall, the television program with the biggest impact this year was the Les Mis concert on PBS.

Best Twitter:  Last year, Matthew Gray Gubler was my favorite tweeter.  He’s still whimsical and original, but now most of his tweets are links to his tumblr page.  I hate tumbr, so this is a big strike against him.  Sorry, Gube.  West End performer Hadley Fraser can be great on twitter, but he goes quiet for long stretches.  Ramin Karimloo tweets with sincerity, but all those tattoo photos freak me out!  Matt Lucas, Josh Groban and Yigit Pura have been consistently entertaining, and Shah Rukh Khan’s twitter feed has a good balance of the personal and professional.

Best Movies:  I did slightly better than last year getting out to see new films on the big screen.  I really enjoyed X-Men: First Class, The Descendants, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.   I’m not sure The Phantom of The Opera 25th Anniversary simulcast even counts in this category!  At the Frameline Film Festival, I enjoyed Kawa and Spork.  I have many more late 2011 films to see on DVD when they’re released in 2012.

Best DVDs:  I watched a lot of bad DVDs this year, just because they featured actors that I liked.  I really need to get over this habit!  While not necessarily bad, I endured a lot of fighting and CGI in movies like Thor, Captain America, and Centurion, just so I could see actors Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, JJ Feild, and Michael Fassbender.  I tried to watch all ten Best Picture Oscar nominees on DVD, but I faltered at 7½.  I did love The King’s Speech.  I hate to admit it, but I think my most entertaining DVD experience this year was re-watching JJ Abrams’ Star Trek with a friend.

Best StreamingDa Vinci’s Inquest and The Rifleman on hulu were great, even though I was also watching these series on broadcast television.  The worst: when Netflix split their charges for DVDs by mail versus streaming.  I tried a month of streaming only.  It was a disaster.  Nothing I wanted to watch would play without long pauses to reload.  Now that I’m getting DVDs only, the Netflix site doesn’t tell me what is available streaming only.  Netflix, you’ve got a long way to go before you win back my trust.  One free DVD rental for Christmas isn’t enough.

Best TheatreLes Mis and The Phantom of the Opera, obviously, even though I didn’t see either show live in an actual theatre.  I had some fun at San Francisco’s BATS Improv, especially seeing their Spontaneous Broadway.

Best Music:  I’ve spent most of my time listening to Josh Groban, Hadley Fraser, Sheytoons (Hadley Fraser and Ramin Karimloo), and Johnny Crawford.   Another favorite is the song Electricity from Billy Elliot (the stage musical).  Still, nothing beats Hadley Fraser singing Again.  The worst music this year?  Whatever was playing in the trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Gack.

Best Music Video:  It really doesn’t count, but I can’t help it.  I love Josh Groban Sings Kanye West Tweets.

Best Entertainment News:  Following the news from London about West End performers from the Les Mis concert has entertained me at least as much as the concert itself.  It brought me new friendships with fellow fans from all over, and it kicked off the practice of having guest bloggers here at The Ugly Bug Ball.  If I’m blogging less about the West End, it’s only because things are pretty quiet right now.  2012 promises some guest reviews of Ramin Karimloo as Valjean.

Entertainer of The Year:  Last year was easy.  This year, it’s difficult to choose.  Johnny Crawford is great, but he came along late, at the end of November.  I blogged the most often about Hadley Fraser.  He provided me with a rich variety of entertainment, between the Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera performances, the online news and tweets, the music recordings and the YouTube videos.  Still, Ian Tracey beats Fraser out for sheer volume.  Tracey has been working steadily since he was a teenager, and even without an online presence (no tweets, fansites, or facebook page) he provided me with the most hours of entertainment.  I’m going to have to declare a tie between Hadley Fraser and Ian Tracey.  Congratulations, guys.  There’s no prize, but you get my sincere thanks.  I’m sorry I can’t promise you my exclusive loyalty, because there’s always going to be a Johnny-Come-Lately waiting in the wings!

Hadley Fraser and Ian Tracey

Hadley Fraser as Grantaire in the Les Mis concert; Ian Tracey as Adam Worth in Sanctuary

Next: What I’m excited about in 2012.  Happy New Year, everyone!

A Subtitle Goof

It amuses me when a typo changes the meaning of what’s being said.  Here’s one of my favorites.  It’s from Main Hoon Na, Shah Rukh Khan’s 2004 film about a guy trying to UNITE his family.

subtitle from Main Hoon Na with Shah Rukh Khan

Oh, well!  At least it’s much easier to tear a family apart than to put one back together.

Meeting Shah Rukh

It all began when I saw the musical Bombay Dreams in London, which is a stage version of a typical Indian film. It was May 2003, and up to that point, I’d never seen a Bollywood movie. I enjoyed the music and dancing enough to rent a film as soon as I got home to San Francisco.  I was lucky to start with a good one—Aamir Khan’s Lagaan—and I really enjoyed it. The next one I watched was awful, so I decided to stick with Aamir. After a while, I tried a Shah Rukh Khan DVD, and while I liked him, I didn’t love him. Then I saw Kal Ho Naa Ho at a cinema in Fremont. It was a long BART ride to get there, but it transformed my opinion of Shah Rukh. I went back to see Kal Ho Naa Ho several times, and it remains my favorite along with Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. I watched every film Shah Rukh appeared in, at least all the ones I could find. I put posters up all over my flat  I was working in the children’s section at the largest Borders Books in San Francisco, and I hung a Kal Ho Naa Ho poster in the break room. My co-workers thought I was weird, but they didn’t take the poster down.

Temptation Tour ticket

My ticket. “Singh Bail Bonds” always makes me smile.

On September 5th, 2004, in the middle of a heat wave, the Temptation Tour came to the Oakland Arena. Occasionally the big stars from Mumbai take an elaborate stage show on a world tour, giving faraway fans the opportunity to see them live  It’s tricky, because the actors don’t do their own singing in the films  Still, lip-synching at concerts isn’t that unusual anymore. At least the stars do their own dancing. The Temptation Tour featured Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Rampal, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, and Rani Mukerji. I bought a middling priced ticket for $150 and ended up on the raked left side of the stage, too close to see the big screen projection and pretty much looking down on the performers’ heads. It was an awful seat for such a high price, but I was determined to have a good time. I looked around trying to find other non-Indian fans like myself, but I didn’t spot many. I honestly can’t remember a whole lot about the show. Most of the time I just stared at Shah Rukh through my binoculars in awe. There were lots of dances, funny skits, dialogs from famous films, and audience interaction. People were chosen from the VIP section on the floor to come up onstage. I remember that the woman who got to meet Shah Rukh was feisty and gave his face a little slap. He slapped her right back.

Temptation Tour souvenir program

Temptation Tour souvenir program

After the show, I went down to the arena “stage door” to see if any of the actors would come out to meet the fans. There was a long line of barricades blocking the area to keep us back. Big black hummers began to drive out, and Shah Rukh must have been in one of them. Arjun Rampal and Saif Ali Khan ran the length of the barricades high-fiving as many hands as they could reach, and because I’ve got long arms, I got hand-slapped by both of them. It was fun, and I went home happy, with a tee shirt, two programs, and a couple of Shah Rukh mouse pads.

I was still coming down from the high the next day and catching up on my sleep. At 11pm that evening, I was in my pajamas watching TV in bed. My roommate knocked on my door to say I had a phone call. Who could be calling me so late? It was one of my Borders co-workers, out of breath and very excited. She said, “I had to call around to get your phone number! You know that guy on your poster? He’s here at the Hard Rock Cafe having dinner with a bunch of people. I got his autograph for you.” This co-worker had a second job in the Hard Rock Cafe gift shop, and she had Shah Rukh sign the back of one of their shopping bags. Well, I couldn’t leave it at that.  I threw on some mismatched clothes—no time to primp—grabbed some of my Temptation souvenirs and my camera, and jumped into a cab. I could barely breathe as we raced to Fisherman’s Wharf, because I didn’t know if we’d get there in time. When the cab pulled up to the curb, I immediately spotted Shah Rukh standing outside smoking a cigarette, alone except for just one bodyguard. I quickly paid the cab driver, and he was nice enough to give me his pen since I’d forgotten mine.

Shah Rukh Khan

This photo is the closest I could find to what Shah Rukh looked like that night.

I could see as I started to walk toward Shah Rukh that he recognized me as a fan about to intrude on his quiet moment. The bodyguard had his back to me. My heart was pounding. I knew this was going be a peak life experience. No other celebrity encounter had been this momentous, and I’ve never been as awkward or tongue-tied. Most of the sentences I started I couldn’t finish  Shah Rukh was just lovely, though. He may have been annoyed at my intrusion, but he never showed it. He was just finishing his cigarette, and he politely refrained from lighting another one while I was there. He was wearing black with an eye-catching pendant and his hair casually brushed forward. In his films it’s usually off his forehead.  I’m 5’8″ and Shah Rukh is about the same, so we were eye to eye.  I was too bashful to gaze into his eyes for any length of time, but he didn’t seem smaller or larger than I’d expected. He was definitely better looking.  He had a kind of quiet-but-aware stillness that’s so different from his energetic screen personality.

I walked up and pulled out a mouse pad and the Temptation program, saying something like “Hello, I’m Stacey.  My friend called me and told me you were here.” Then I asked him to sign two autographs for friends. I didn’t ask him for one for myself, because I knew my co-worker already got one for me. Three autographs seemed greedy. Then the bodyguard said, “Where did you come from?”  I pointed to the curb and said, “From a cab right there.” The bodyguard told me I was going to get him in trouble and he told me to go away. I said, “But this is my guy!” We began to argue, and Shah Rukh didn’t say anything. Smart man. Instead, he signed his photo on the back of the program to me, and it’s really special because he wrote something different from his usual “lots of love.”  It’s too bad that I don’t love this particular photograph of him, but still, it’s framed and hanging on my wall. It’s a good thing Shah Rukh took the time to do this, because the one my co-worker got was written with a brown felt tip pen on a brown bag, and within months, the autograph faded completely. I still have it,  but there’s nothing to see. I know it’s there, though.

Shah Rukh Khan autograph

My Shah Rukh Khan autograph. (click to enlarge)

After the autographs, while I was still arguing with the bodyguard, Shah Rukh must have decided that it was okay for me to be there, or he could tell I wasn’t going away. He held up his arms, waved me over with his fingers, and said, “Give me a hug.” I was gobsmacked. We hugged, and I was so overwhelmed, I have no memory of what it felt like. I’ve been telling people ever since that I want to be hypnotized so I can remember it properly.

I had a brief, halting conversation with Shah Rukh.  It went something like this:

Me: Do you get to spend any more time in San Francisco?

SRK: No, we’re leaving early tomorrow.

Me: That’s too bad, because I have a whole stack of books picked out for your kids at the Borders where I work.

SRK: So, you’ve seen some Hindi films?

Me: I’ve seen every single one of yours, even Fauji!  [his first TV series that was not on DVD in 2004]  Right now we’re all watching “The Inner World of Shah Rukh Khan.”  [a new documentary]

SRK: Oh, the filmmaker, she’s inside eating…”

The rest of the party came outside, and I knew my time was up. I hadn’t forgotten my camera, but I just couldn’t ask for more, and I hate flash photos. I thanked Shah Rukh and said goodbye. He saluted me by touching his hand to his forehead (an adab), and I walked away in a daze. I went inside the Hard Rock Cafe to see if my co-worker was still there, but the gift shop was all locked up. I came outside and saw Rani Mukerji. I tapped her on the shoulder and simply told her I enjoyed the show the night before. She just looked confused. I went to the bus stop across the street and eventually made it home.

I thanked my co-worker dozens of times and gave her a thank you gift, but it never seemed adequate. I’ve inflicted my story of meeting Shah Rukh Khan on many people over the years, but this is the first time I’ve written it all down. I thought the experience would be burned into my brain, except for that hug, but I know there are details I’ve forgotten. A couple of years ago, Shah Rukh Khan was back in San Francisco filming My Name is Khan, and I even found out where he was staying. I decided not to try to meet him again. I’ve met several celebrities more than once, and a second encounter that’s not as good as the first can ruin a good memory. I didn’t want that to happen with my memories of that night. I really couldn’t ask for more than what he already gave me. Shukriya, Shah Rukh!

Ra.One

Ra.One posterIt seemed like a good idea to see Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film to celebrate his birthday.  Now, I knew going in that I wasn’t the right target audience.  This movie was made for boys (whatever their age) who love video games, explosions, comic book violence, and computer special effects.  I was hoping that loving Shah Rukh would be enough to enjoy this film.  It wasn’t.

The movie is about a geeky computer game designer who wants to impress his son, so he creates a super-villain named Ra.One for his new game.  Ra.One is a play on the name Raavan/Ravana from Indian mythology, if you can say it with the right accent.  This bad dude breaks out of the game to become a real menace to London and later Mumbai.  Fortunately, the game designer also creates a super-hero named G.One (a play on the Hindi word for life)  to come to the rescue.  There are lots of keyboards, wires, glowing red and blue components, rubber suits, tattoos, speeding trains, flying cars, crashes, and morphing along the way, which is all fine if you like that sort of thing.

Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor in Ra.One

Geeky Shah Rukh with Kareena Kapoor

Shah Rukh Khan spends the first part of the film in a really bad curly wig that makes him look like an Indian Harpo Marx.  He’s so dorky that it’s hard to watch him in these scenes.  Later, he plays G.One with glowing blue eyes, bulging biceps, and skin that looks plastic.  Somewhere in between these personas is the actor that I love and miss.  I wouldn’t mind so much this time around, but Shah Rukh Khan was autistic in his last film (My Name is Khan), and before that he played another awkward type in Rab Ne Bana di Jodi.  It seems Khan has given up playing traditional romantic heroes.  At least he’s also given up playing college students, unlike poor Aamir Khan.  (Sorry, that’s another post.)

Arjun Rampal is billed as the actor playing Ra.One, but he doesn’t look like the actor himself for most of the movie.  Once he does, he looks leaner and meaner than the last time I saw him in a film, and I like him as a super-villain.  I also like young Armaan Verma, who plays the son.  The kid has a lot of hair, but he’s cute and he’s got good chemistry with Shah Rukh Khan.  I do have to criticize the script for having the son play practical jokes on the fat kid in his class.  It would have been nice to see a film aimed at a young audience move beyond the usual stereotypes.

There are a couple of times when Ra.One is unnecessarily violent in a non-comic book way.  A motorcyclist in a chase sequence doesn’t need to go splat against the front of a bus, and Ra.One doesn’t need to dispatch the old Chinese woman in a brutal way.  It would have been much more interesting and funny to see her get the best of Ra.One instead.

Ra.One dance number with Shah Rukh Khan

Ra.One has a couple of song and dance numbers.  They are catchy and upbeat, but I’m just not a fan of the current blend of hindi and hip-hop.  During the closing credits, there is a dance number with Shah Rukh Khan that includes interesting behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the movie.  I can see that the DVD will have a lot of cool extras.

Ra.One with Shah Rukh Khan

Since Ra.One opened five days ago, it has apparently broken some international box office records for Indian films.  I say apparently because nobody really agrees on these figures until much later.  Ra.One is one of the most expensive films made in India, so further debates will go on about the film breaking even and making a profit.  So, Ra.One may be a box office hit, but it was a miss with me.  At least Don 2 is coming out at Christmas.  It will probably be ridiculously violent, but I can assume that Shah Rukh Khan won’t be wearing bad wigs or blue contacts.  Right?

Shah Rukh Khan with blue eyes in Ra.One

Update: Oh, dear.  I just found out that this is Shah Rukh Khan’s look for Don 2:

Shah Rukh Khan in Don 2

At least this look isn’t for the whole film!  Here’s a trailer with English subtitles.

Happy Birthday, Shah Rukh Khan!

Today is Shah Rukh Khan’s 46th birthday.  He’s one of the most popular actors in the world.  India’s popular Hindi cinema, based in Mumbai and often referred to as “Bollywood,” has a huge worldwide audience.  I’ve been a fan since 2003, when I saw the stage musical Bombay Dreams in London.  I’d never seen a “Bollywood” film, but as soon as I started watching, I got hooked.  Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan quickly became my favorite actors.

I’m most fond of the films made between 1994 and 2004.  If my interest has declined, it’s because my favorites have been making fewer films, and the films coming out of Mumbai have become too much like Hollywood films.  The films used to be over three hours with an intermission, with the first half being more comic, the second half more tragic.  The lovers never kissed on the lips but instead danced in the rain (the “wet sari” number) and were far more sensual.  Now the films are shorter, the characters are (gasp!) kissing and having premarital sex, and often the songs are in English.

It’s hard to explain the appeal of Shah Rukh Khan.  He’s not traditionally handsome; he’s got a big nose, uneven teeth, and thick lips.  He’s not considered the best dancer, but he’s far from being the worst.  I’d still rather watch him dance than anybody else.  He doesn’t do his own singing, but that’s normal for these popular musicals.  Many playback singers are famous and stars in their own right.  I didn’t really start loving Shah Rukh until I got to see one of his films in a proper cinema.  He can be too big for a television screen, especially in his older movies.  All I can say is Shah Rukh is greater than the sum of his parts, and the man has energy and charisma.  I love to watch him cry, which is a good thing, because these films have a lot of tears!

In honor of Shah Rukh’s birthday, here are some images from one of his best films, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which translates roughly as “Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sadness.”  Shah Rukh stars with Kajol, my favorite female and favorite Shah Rukh partner.  Enjoy!

K3G Shah Rukh Khan

K3G Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol

K3G Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan

K3G: Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol

K3G: Shah Rukh Khan

K3G: Shah Rukh Khan and Jaya Bachchan

K3G: Shah Rukh Khan

K3G: Shah Rukh Khan

K3G: Shah Rukh Khan

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