He is somebody who does not need an introduction. In fact, no introduction can do justice to the kind of work and to the number of achievements Shah Rukh Khan has had. In this interview, he talks about ‘Zero’ and a lot more.
Do you think ‘Zero’ is an experimental film?
I am playing a vertically challenged character in the film. I do not think there is anything experimental about it. We spend most of our lives thinking wish I could be happier. We do not realise each one of us is complete the way we are. Nobody is perfect. We must accept this fact so that we do not waste time in trying to be somebody else. For Bauua, the fact that he is a vertically challenged person, makes him unique. We needed three kind of completeness. Bauua is a vertically challenged person. Aafia (Anushka Sharma) has cerebral palsy. Babita (Katrina Kaif) is this beautiful woman who is emotionally challenged. We were always worried about the fact that I play a vertically challenged person should not become the mainstay of the film and should seem that we are trying to pull off a gimmick. We want love and like being cared for but we do not want sympathy. The three characters are trying to convey the same.
Do you think it is your most challenging role till date?
The VFX made it very easy. For the first seven days, it was a little difficult but after that it was quite easy. I personally think it is a cosy, small film about emotions. I could not walk with a longer stride.
Have you ever been nervous before the release of any of your films?
Sometimes people like a film which is not great and at times, they are indifferent towards a well-made film. As an actor, I wish and pray for my film to do well but its fate is not in my hands. Along with the team, I try to do my best and leave the rest in the audience’s hands.
Zero is a complete number in itself. Has there been a point in your life when you felt complete?
I have never felt complete in my life. I am very restless as an artist. Within the commercial setup, I want to create something new. It is very organic. If you work in films for a long time, specifics become less important. All the business part is completely dependent on the story you are telling.
Do you think the film can be a game-changer as far as VFX and technology is concerned?
A lot of effort went into making me look smaller in the film but I do not think ‘Zero’ is a technology heavy film. Having said that, VFX is used in almost every film these days to enhance the impact of the visuals. We have come long way from the time VFX used to be extremely tacky but there is a lot we can still do. India makes the largest number of films, so we certainly have a responsibility to make cinema better bit in terms of technology and content. Fifteen years back, I went to a multiplex. I am used to it. When I was growing up, cinema theatres were quite run-down. Enhance storytelling.
Bauaa Singh comes across as quite wicked in the film.
Some people saw the film and said that he is very wicked and mean. There is a reason behind that. We did not make him an angry or angsty person. He is wicked but in a funny way. There is a little crass quality to him.
You have achieved so much in all these years. What is that one thing which you think is left to be achieved?
When I came to Mumbai, I told somebody that I am like Tandoori chicken and not junk food. I was arrogant and had little knowledge about the craft of acting. We did not know there are billion things about quantum physics. I might not have the talent but, there has never been a dearth of the desire or the want to improve. I play Rakesh Sharma in my next film. There are a hundred things in my mind about how I should play that role – do I mimic him, copy him or play him differently with his permission. I wish I knew there was so much earlier on.
What were the technological challenges you faced while making the film?
Since, we were doing a lot of things for the first time, we went a little slow initially to test the technology. First, we shot the song with Salman. Then, we shot five scenes in Meerut. We bought a machine from America called techno dolly. We also had to get a person who knew how to run it. We had to learn how to use the big machine. A big challenge involved in using the machine is that you cannot immediately check the shot as there is no monitor attached to it. One day, we had a fire accident on the sets. It was not a huge fire but the water used by the fire brigade got into the machine. Two days later, after keeping it in silica, it became workable again. It took some innovation.
Bauaa’s world is very different from the kind of world you belong to. What is that one thing you would like to borrow from his world?
Yes, it is not a world I have been a part of in the past. It was very new for me. Being a Delhi boy, I know some of the language and thoughts. You are not used to a man calling his father by his first name but Aanand (L. Rai, director) and Himanshu (Sharma, writer) held my hand and introduced me to his wonderful world. One day, I was wearing a pair of sports shoes and had a jersey on top. Aanand sir told me that I am looking too cool to be Bauua and I must take those off. He has even told Anahita (Shroff Adajania, costume designer) to make designer kachcha and baniyan. He thinks it can become a fashion statement (laughs). I tell him that is not going to happen but he is very positive about it. The simplicity of the world is what appealed to me the most. The friendship between Zeeshan and me has been very nicely portrayed in the film. The relationships in life in small towns are very different. It is perhaps because they have more time and patience.