Bollywood Baatein: Is SRK’s ‘verbal karma’ haunting him now?

Stardom comes with responsibility and superstardom like Shah Rukh’s comes with a super-responsibility. You have to watch every word you speak because you never know when it would come back to bite you

Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@ANI
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@ANI
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Subhash K Jha

There is a section of idle wanderers wondering why I’ve extended my unconditional support to Shah Rukh Khan and his family during their time of crisis. Is it because he is King Khan? Or because I am his friend? Or because I simply want to suck up to royalty?

None of the above, my dear friends. None of the above. My heart reaches out to SRK and his wife during their hour of crisis because as a father I understand their pain. If my daughter sneezes in Delhi I catch the cold in Patna. I wonder what it must feel like to know your child is in one of the worst prisons of Asia, counting every second before he gets bail.

While we must sympathize with the parents’ predicament, I have to point out here that Shah Rukh, though one of the most loquacious and articulate stars I’ve met, tends to go overboard with his quips and barbs, and he knows it. His comments on Simi Garewal’s show, though not to be taken seriously are typical of his brash verbosity when he was younger. When you are Shah Rukh Khan you can’t be funny about your ambitions for your 2-year old son’s sexual and narcotic preferences.

Many years ago when I had asked him during an interview why he’s a chain smoker he drawled back, “Your friend (he named an A-lister whom I was at that time very close to) likes to f**k. I like to smoke.”

Mind it, this was said during an interview. I didn’t dare use it. Then during another conversation while speaking about a top actress of the 1990s (who is my raakhi sister) SRK quipped, “She is a pathological liar, the kind who would be standing in front of you in a white dress and ask, ‘How do you like my black dress?’”

Once in 2000 when I was on the way to meet SRK after visiting the biggest star of all (and a dear friend) I phoned to say I’d be late. He replied, “Did he delay you? Right now, he has no work. He has all the time in the world to chat with you.”

Of course, these are off the cuff-remarks meant to sustain his reputation as a repartee-ist, not to be taken seriously.

But what do we say about an interview he gave to (the now-defunct) Tehelka (owned by Tarun Tejpal) where a spiteful journalist asked him how he could bear to entertain “a shallow journalist like Subhash K. Jha”.


Instead of laughing off the question as any decent rational star would have done, SRK launched into a tirade against me, staring with “I hate Subhash K. Jha,” blah blah.

I ignored the outburst. A year later we met at his residence, Mannat, and he completely denied having said what he had.

We moved on. But the point is, he shouldn’t be so vocal about his likes and dislikes. Stardom comes with a responsibility and superstardom like Shah Rukh Khan’s comes with a super-responsibility. You have to watch every word you speak because you never know when it would come back to bite you.

I don’t know what lessons Aryan would learn from the current crisis in his life. But I do know his father would have learnt one lesson: karma, especially of the verbal kind, has a tendency to make a comeback when you least expect or want it to.

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