What is Shah Rukh Khan’s lullaby worth?
Rs 114 crore in four days.
“Monday night was the first night I slept well after so many weeks. Chennai Express is doing fantastically well, Inshallah,” a smiling Shah Rukh Khan told The Telegraph in Delhi today.
By the time Shah Rukh went to bed on Monday, Chennai Express had earned Rs 114 crore within four days of release, beating Salman Ek Tha Tiger Khan’s record of Rs 100 crore in five days.
“We knew we had an entertaining film that would appeal to everyone, but honestly, the rate at which the film has grown has taken us by surprise. It’s too much too soon but I am just loving it,” said the superstar, dressed casually in denims, grey tee and black waistcoat, before making a special mention of KKR country.
“The east India figures have really contributed a lot,” dimpled the KKR boss who now wants to buy a bungalow in Calcutta.
Till Monday, Bengal had contributed Rs 5.74 crore to the Chennai Express kitty, confirmed regional distributor Debashish De of Aum Moviez.
For all his smiles and dimples, SRK was in no mood to spare the critics who had trashed the Rohit Shetty film co-starring Deepika Padukone. “There are far too many critics now and everyone has an opinion. Everybody now knows how to make a film. Most critics measure our films on the western parameter of films made by (Steven) Soderbergh, Woody Allen or Pedro Almodovar. Chennai Express is not a Soderbergh film, it’s just a summer Bollywood blockbuster. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then you are the most stupid intellectual in the world,” roared King Khan.
And he wasn’t done. “I am very well read, I am extremely well educated and I keep myself informed about world affairs. I watch films from around the world much before most critics do,” he said.
But then he all but drew a line between Chennai Express and “quality” films.
“The success of Chennai Express has given me the freedom to use the money to make many more small- budget, quality films,” said SRK, echoing what many Chennai critics have been crying out for.
So why does a Shah Rukh need a film like Chennai Express to give him what will surely be the biggest money-spinner of his 56-film career? “I think it is a difficult film to make. It requires a certain creativity everyone doesn’t have. For me, it’s a film that has elements that will make people smile and enjoy their time in a theatre and that’s what matters.”
What about the marketing masterstroke to release it on Id and on a record number of screens (3,500-plus in India)?
SRK chose to keep it simple. “I just knew that Chennai Express is a popular format and so we released it on a holiday…. The simplest way of looking at my work is that I do the films I feel I will enjoy watching.”
The film is breaking box-office records by the day, but Shah Rukh is happiest that his children Aryan and Suhana have liked it. “My daughter liked the fact that in the end, I am not beating up a lot of people, but I am trying very hard. She told me: ‘I find it very cute that you were trying so hard for Meenamma (Deepika).’ Aryan thinks the film is very, very funny.”
Does that mean more Chennai Express brand of films from the doting father? “The only thing that I want now as an actor, a producer and then as a filmmaker sometime in the future, is that I want my children to be very proud of my work. That’s my only criterion.”
THREE QUESTIONS NOT TO ASK SRK
What do you feel about the controversy surrounding newborn son AbRam?
“I don’t like the way something as serious as surrogacy and sex determination is talked about lightly.”
How has Deepika grown as an actress?
“That’s something I don’t want to be asked anymore!”
Will there be a Karan Arjun 2?
“Post the hug (with Salman Khan), that’s what I am