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Humble in the jungle

Zero director discovers big brother in superstar, says he is still a Delhi boy 

Shah Rukh Khan, who said in Om Shanti Om: “I feel like king of the world.” 

He might be “king of the world” but Zero director Aanand L. Rai believes Shah Rukh Khan is still the same Delhi boy at heart with humble beginnings who made it big in the jungle.

It was this quality that made him even more endearing for Zero.

SRK, popular for portraying characters in love stories set abroad, plays a vertically challenged man who travels from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to New York in the film.

“I always felt he is a very basic Delhi boy. Whenever I saw him in those valleys of Switzerland, I felt ‘Oh Delhi boy wahan tak pahuch gaya (the Delhi boy has achieved great heights).’ I never felt he didn’t belong there. That is the reason why I think he has a great connect in our country because he represents a basic middle class boy who has achieved it,” Rai told PTI when asked how he sees this transformation of the actor.

The movie reunites the cast of Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Asked if the stakes have become higher, the 46-year-old director said: “There are bright chances.”

Rai is, however, relieved to have SRK on board.

Aanand L. Rai gets ready for Christmas release that brings Jab Tak Hai Jaan stars SRK, Katrina and Anushka together on screen

“Shah Rukh makes me feel so comfortable and makes you feel like he is the most obedient actor you have ever worked with. I have found a friend, a big brother in him. I am enjoying the process and he is letting me fly,” he said.

Rai is gearing up for a Christmas release of the film, which, he says, is “shaping up great” and is a “lifetime of experiences”.

Besides direction, Rai is backing a string of new films under his company Colour Yellow Productions — from the sequel of Happy Bhaag Jayegi, Anurag Kashyap’s next Manmarziyan to a project helmed by Rajkumar Santoshi.

About his production spree, Rai said: “I will never do a film just for the sake of it. If I have nothing to contribute, I won’t do it. If I don’t have anything to bring on the table, something which will make it easier for the director or the team, there is no reason to make it. I am not doing films to make money. If you make a good film, you will make money but that is not the prime reason to go for a film. My prime reason is what am I bringing new for my audience.”

Rai’s turn as producer happened with the hit Tanu Weds Manu and he says the decision was largely driven by the idea to back the content he believes in.

“Producing a film was not to make money but only to get the freedom to make the kind of films I want to,” he said.

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