WHAT SHAH RUKH WANTS
by SHAH RUKH KHAN
Though I love technology, according to me it cannot
override creativity. For me, acting has always been the same, in
whatever medium it may be – stage, television or films. Technology
can help in fine-tuning certain moments, certain emotions. It can
give more life to something already living. Technology can even help
some wooden blocks to act. But beyond a certain point it is only
belief in what you’re doing and knowledge of your craft that
works. There is no alternative to that.
I remember there was a shot in Baazigar for
which we had to do 40 takes to get it right. It was a long shot in
which I’m on the telephone and the camera had to zoom in to a
close-up of my eye. Today the shot can be done in two takes with a
Jimmy Jib or a Crab Trolly. So that helps the creative artiste to do
more. This is just a small example but it adds up to a lot when you
apply it to many other creative fields in cinema like action and
song sequences. Earlier, during a stunt sequence you had to jump on
nets, which could break your back. Then it went on to cardboard
boxes and today we have air pads and in fact, you don’t even have
to jump. You just stand in a room with a blue matte background with
the wind on your face and through special f/x it can be made to
appear as if you’re jumping.
Also, technology opens new vistas. It frees your
imagination. Like that ‘tootta tara’ scene in Kuch Kuch Hota
Hai. You would otherwise have to wait for a shooting star to
fall to get that shot but now you just sit anywhere and add that
later. So your imagination is the limit. You just have to think it
and it will be done, especially in Hollywood. Even in India,
technology has really, really helped the entertainment industry.
Small, simple things can enhance a character, though it is not an
alternative to a good performance.
It makes me very happy to be a part of the radical
change in technology which has happened in the last nine or ten
years, even vis a vis cameras and equipment. I really do believe in
technology. I sincerely believe that the only reason Indian cinema
has not hit international cinema in the way it should is because we
are technologically backward. And if we get that right, I think our
cinema is the most wonderful in the world.
Many people ask me whether internet will kill
cinema. I don’t think any one medium will kill another. People
say, video killed the radio star. I don’t think so. Did Asha
Bhosle suffer because TV has come in? If I wasn’t in films I
wouldn’t know what Lataji or Ashaji looked like. Thanks to
television at least I’ve gotten to know the face behind the voice.
So ultimately all the mediums end up working hand in hand.
When cable television was introduced in India people
said it would destroy cinema. Today, television promos are helping
advertise a film like never before. Five years ago you could not
dream of publicising a film on this scale. And every medium will
help to reach the masses. A few years ago, I remember walking into
small towns near Jaipur where I was only known because I had
appeared on TV. So I don’t think TV is going to kill cinema.
Neither is the Net.
Of all the mediums, Internet has maximum
accessibility across the globe. Compared to it, television is
limited lingually. In Sweden you’ll not see a Hindi TV channel or
in China you won’t see French cinema. But Internet is available
all over the globe, even if you don’t want to access it. I visit
Chinese websites once in a while. I think Internet fulfils a basic
need of mankind – the urge to know, to peep into your
neighbour’s garden. I discovered so many things through surfing
which I would never know otherwise.
I am quite thrilled by the fact that a person in
China logging on and searching for ‘Shaolin’ might come across
‘Shahrukh’ and say, ‘Hey, I never knew Indians make so many
films.’ Then he might learn that Indian cinema is the largest
cinema in the world.
Ultimately, video-on-demand and pay-per-view will
also get integrated into television and it will become one more
channel. And one channel which has millions of channels within
itself. So I think the far-reaching effect of the Net is going to be
a very positive thing for cinema. Today I publicise my film on TV,
on the radio, in the newspapers, on the walls, tomorrow I can
publicise my film on the Net. And there may be 20,000 people in
Europe who are interested in Hindi cinema. I know a lady in Germany
who knew me. I asked her how come she was so familiar with my films
and she said her husband was an Indian and she liked to see Indian
films. So maybe she would go on the site and find out what’s
happening in the Hindi film industry. It will be a slow process. But
when it finally matures, it will break across all barriers. I think
it’s where the future is headed. Ultimately all the mediums will
function in synergy.