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Shahrukh Khan opens the Floodgates 

"I don’t believe that people hate Shah Rukh Khan the person... 

The greater my body of work, the lesser is the credit due to me. I’m the clown in the circus...

It’s my job to make everyone laugh."
A flask of chai, a packet of cigarettes, an air-conditioned van, and Shah Rukh Khan beside me, is paradise enough! Shah Rukh is the easiest star to interview. He’s accessible, articulate and knows what he’s talking about. An interview with him is always an enjoyable event. The Khan’s equations are as simple as a child’s, operating on the philosophy, “If you like me, I like you”. And yes, he’s eminently likeable. He calls a rose a rose, and sometimes, just for effect, calls it a thorn. After some polite conversation, and some impolite, we talk about the business of films. His home production Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani looms round the corner. He has been called predictable, but in a one on one, you never know what he’ll say next. 
You’re moving from success to success. What next?
I don’t know. Success is so subjective, I don’t think this is being successful. 

Do you judge it by public adulation or box-office figures?
I’m not naive enough to believe that any of the adulation is directed towards me. It is to the films I do and to the characters I play. My friends in the industry, and I, find it surprising that I’m a star. Aziz Mirza says, “Hey, how can you be such a big star?” Juhi, Kajol and I feel strange thinking of ourselves as stars. People tell us so. I’m not starry and have neither worked towards that, nor behaved like a star.

What is stardom to you?
Stardom is what Mr Bachchan is, what Michael Jackson, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan are. When I see them on screen, or in person, they exude that aura. 

Don’t you generate the same kind of feeling with the public?
No! A response can be given to anybody. You do two films and you get a response. When fans respond to me, it’s for something I’ve done in films, not to Shah Rukh the person. It’s wrong to assume that if KKHH put me on the pinnacle of success, it was only because of me. Any actor who danced on the train for ‘Chaiyyan chaiyyan’ or were in KKHH or Dil Se... would’ve received similar adulation. If Akshay Kumar or Govinda had done that song, they would have danced better than me. The song would’ve looked nicer because their personality would’ve added something to the song. There are 30 or 40 people involved in making this phenomenon and these kind of reactions happen.

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