He laughed at the realisation, “You cannot miss me for too long. I will be back.” The Bollywood Badshah explained his absence. He was busy “with incessant shooting” for his home production Billoo Barber and Yashraj’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which he hopes to complete before plunging into preparations for the next Twenty20 tournament.
During this time the ‘King’ tag which he wore for years came within grabbing distance of other Bollywood contenders. It is a situation that amuses him. “It’s better to be known as King Khan than Pauper Khan,” admitted SRK. “But this is just an image, a clever alliteration by the media. My kids don’t wake me up in the morning saying, ‘Get up, King’. They say, ‘Get up, Daddy’. That says it all. It’s far away from reality.”
However, he is handsome enough to admit that times are changing and these are the signs. “The territory of superstar doesn’t belong to one actor today. Actors who have consistently worked for around 20 years are all superstars. Akshay is rightfully a superstar today. So is Aamir Khan, and Ajay Devgan, Salman, even Hrithik, though he is from the younger lot. They have super energies and super luck.”
How come he is generous in his praise of Salman when, after their fallout, Salman was vocal about his feelings even though he, Shah Rukh, kept quiet? “I don’t like talking things private to me. I’m talked about because I’m emotionally not available to everyone and that disturbs them. They have the right to talk and I have no issues,” he said.
Throwing further light on the spat, he added, “I think like a father would whereas Salman thinks like a son. That’s okay. We are two different kind of people. We had nothing in common. We think differently.” But, in flashback mode, SRK revealed, “Salman and I had some really good times together. Strangely, these memories are fading away. So I’m sure even the bad memories will fade.”
Would they work at a reconciliation? He refused to be drawn into a commitment, but said, “We are both happy in our own worlds. If it happens — good; if it doesn’t happen, — very good. Not being friends doesn’t mean Salman and I are great enemies.”