Wonder whether how many of you have heard of the Greek legend of Icarus?
For those who are still oblivious to the tale of Icarus, read the following carefully.
Icarus, was the son of Daedalus, the creator of Labyrinth. Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus’s father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, because the sea’s dampness would clog his wings or the sun’s heat would melt them. Icarus ignored his father’s instructions not to fly too close to the sun, whereupon the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea.
Now, it’s not my endevor to enlighten the readers on this Greek mythology. Truth be told, I myself ain’t much familiar with these Greek legends. However, when I think of Icarus, I’m always drawn to Bollywood super star Shah Rukh Khan. It would be too naive of me to compare Icarus with King Khan, after all, SRK is still enjoying super stardom. He’s the second richest celebrity in the world. Icarus and SRK are poles apart, but yet what binds them is their supreme confidence. Some may call it arrogance, but both men thrived on their supreme confidence. Sadly, for Icarus, it saw him catapult to the depths of the sea, while SRK, despite falling off the numero uno table, is still a powerful entity in the business.
Recently, I saw a teaser of SRK’s upcoming film ‘Fan’ and even though it’s a just a teaser, it has me pondering whether the actor has erred in choosing this film. Mind you, if it clicks, this writer will humbly accept all the brick bats.
In the minute long teaser, what we see is SRK fanfare. People gathering outside his mansion Mannat daily just to get a glimpse of their super star, who obliges them at least twice a year – one on his birthday, two on Eid. He’s built a special caged roof top especially to greet his fans on such occasions. The teaser ends with an unseen fan declaring, “Shah Rukh main aa raha hoon (Shah Rukh, I’m coming).
Oh, the most important thing to note. As widely buzzed, SRK will be playing both himself and the die hard SRK fan. So, basically SRK’s biggest fan is SRK himself. Phew, narcissism at its best. It also doesn’t speak great volumes of the script writer and the director.
Though Fan and Rab Ne Bana di jodi are poles apart, but it appears the former’s script is as lackadaisical, as shoddy as the 2008 romantic drama, where the simpleton Surinder Sahni (Shah Rukh) undergoes an image makeover to please his wife Taani (Anushka Sharma), who is too blind to recognize that Surinder and Raj Kapoor are one person only.
Interestingly, both Fan and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi are produced by Yash Raj Films. So, it does come as a surprise why would the nation’s premier production house back another flimsy script.
While I might be judging a book by its mere cover, but isn’t it obvious that Fan looks like another attempt by the actor to beat his own trumpet? Now haven’t we seen SRK do that for the best part of his career?
“I’m King Khan, I’m the best”. SRK became both famous and notorious for gloating about his talents, his achievements. True, the man has turned himself into the most saleable superstar in Bollywood, but along the way he’s often coped criticism for this over confidence, some label it brazen arrogance.
All good things do come to an end. and today SRK is no longer the top Khan in Bollywood. That crown now belongs to his bête noire Salman Khan. Others like Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar, too, have nudged ahead of King Khan. The recent years have seen SRK curb his arrogance and even forge a mutual admiration society with his contemporaries.
Given that he’ll be 50 year this year, we’d expect SRK to mature like Aamir, Big B and Ajay Devgn, but I’m afraid Fan might once again give the knives to his critics, who’ll be happy to shred the actor to smithereens.
Make no mistake, Fan might turn out to be a great film, but what would SRK really gain from it?
Didn’t we see this fanaticism in his documentary Living with a super star? Besides, a similar SRK obsession was apparent in Billu, where Irrfan Khan walked away with the cudgels. Billu surely had a different tale to tell, but SRK was playing himself i.e a super star.
Well, more than SRK’s obsession with himself, I’m more concerned at the detrimental effect that a film like Fan will have on the society.
As a journalist, we’ve been witness to utmost buffoonery, (sadly, the fragile minds refers to it as fanfare. In my numerous visits outside Mannat, while covering some story or the other, I’ve come across desperate fans who’ve literally ruined their lives just to get a glimpse of SRK.
Often these are jokers, mainly from the not-so-privileged section of the society, runaway, wannabe stars. Sadly, they’ve never had an honest look into the mirror or else, they wouldn’t be languishing outside the super star’s bungalow. They jump onto the scene, if a SRK SUV passes by. They’ll be the first to arrive at the gates by spotting a horde of media persons. They would interact with journalists, for whom such fans are nothing but a mode of entertainment. After all, ask most journalists, they don’t stand outside SRK’s house to get some sun bathing. Unfortunately, most journalists are fans too, but let’s face it, we’re doing our jobs. We get paid for following these stars endlessly.
Now as opposed to us, these fans are wasting the precious years of their lies idolizing, stalking these stars. They may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of SRK on a few occasions, but where is this fanaticism taking them?
I’d like to narrate a very unfortunate incident outside Mannat a few years ago on the star’s birthday. After his customary waving to the fans in the day time, SRK was said to be throwing a bash for his close friends. So, it was around 9 pm when I arrived outside Mannat. As expected, there was huge crowd and posse of beefy security guards too.
One over enthusiastic fan, who’d been roaming around Mannat since last eve, couldn’t control his excitement as SRK made surprise appearance on his roof top. Now this buffoon, climbed the 15 foot wall, hung onto to the grill and managed to shake hands with the super star. One problem though – that’s a breach of security. SRK quickly went back inside and from hereon his peeved security guards took over.
No soon than that this fan (boy) touched ground, he was nabbed by one beefy bouncer. He slapped and punched him vigorously, and along with another of his colleague, dragged him to a place where the prying eyes of the media couldn’t reach. Now I wasn’t so close to this action, but a colleague of mine informed me that they saw the boy bleeding, and yet being dragged away by SRK’s security guards. They cordoned off the area, refusing to allow the media or answer queries on the condition of the boy.
We did manage to get an apology from the high handed security guard, but the boy was no where to be seen. Surprisingly, the very media that had aggressively pursued the boy, now dispersed into groups after getting a meek apology. Agreed that the boy had breached the security, but he sure didn’t deserve to be beaten all black and blue.
So, when I saw the teaser of Fan, my mind crossed over to this boy who I’d never seen him after that day. My fear with Fan is that this movie might encourage such fanaticism all the more. I respect the achievements of these super stars. I don’t envy their fanfare. It’s only the blessed souls who get showered with such adulation. But these super stars too need to be careful that this fanfare doesn’t turn into fanaticism.
Exaggerating box-office figures, Wankhede brawl, child sex determination controversy, alleged affair with co-star, fall out with friends. SRK’s image has taken a beating in the wake of the above controversies. Add to it, that’s he no longer the box-office king. The last thing he would need is some FAN-atic give him wax wings. Icarus didn’t ponder while throwing caution to the wind, but from the depths, he now cautions us, ‘don’t let the Fan blow away your wax wings’.