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Acting is said to be a shy man’s revenge. There is little point in acting unless an actor re-invents himself and surprises his fans with something new.
‘Chennai Express’, the fastest 200 crore grosser of all times has Shahrukh playing a forty year old Rahul. At a time when the air is suffused with cynicism, three hours of mindless song and dance away from the tumble of the rupee, jumble of our leaders and fumble of our economy has done wonders at the box office. Regardless of the success of Chennai Express, how long can SRK spread his arms, lift his lungi and continue to play the quintessential Rahul?
Rahul at 25, Rahul at 40
His bratty boy charm and wicked wit as Rahul in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ remains etched in memory. On a personal note, I have to say that I place ‘Chak De, India!’ and ‘Swades’ on a higher pedestal. And in both the movies Shahrukh was not playing Rahul. At forty-seven, Shahrukh can make all the jokes about being forty, but his self deprecating humor is not likely to attract audiences for a long time. Not everyone can ape Rajnikanth and bash goons at sixty plus.
The truth is that the triumph of any commercial success blurs reasoning. And in all likelihood, Shahrukh will give in to the temptation of self-indulgence. Fair enough. But it is time to break away from the comfortable company of director friends like Rohit Shetty and Karan Johar. His buddies have done nothing to break the clichéd mould of ‘Rahul’. Ensconced in his comfort zone, Shahrukh is likely to become a prisoner of his social chamber.
Re-invention = Resurrection
It took nearly a decade for Amitabh Bachchan to grasp this reality and break the mould of angry Inspector Vijay. Unlike Amitabh, those who refused to emerge from shadows like Dharmendra or Govinda, have failed to stage a successful comeback. Why, even a youngster like Ranbir Kapoor is evolving film after film. King Khans’ bête noire, Salman Khan has evolved from Prem to Pandey ji, but much like Shahrukh, Salman Khan continues to play Salman in all his movies. Among the Khan troika, only Aamir Khan has had the courage to play different characters far away from the lover boy of QSQT. But then, Aamir is not in the race of making the fastest crore at the box office, is he?
Rahul in Jammu-Tawi Express
Of all the people, Shahrukh knows that times have changed. Labels are coming unstuck and audiences are ready to accept various characters. Regardless, Shahrukh continues to play Rahul.
I am guessing that after the success of Chennai Express, Rohit Shetty will announce a sequel. This time the fun ride can be called ‘Kolkata Express’ or Jammu-Tawi Express’. No points for guessing that the hero on the train will be, well, Rahul.