For Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, receiving awards is a norm. Receiving an honorary doctorate, however, pushes him into a different league of achievers. SRK has just got acknowledged in the world of academics
(* if you live overseas but claim to know modern India, we assume you are familiar with the abbreviation ‘SRK’. If not, let’s tell you that SRK is Shah Rukh Khan, one of India’s most popular film stars, ever)
… Hey! He’s just been conferred a doctorate! Rahul! What have you done! Of course, hum nahin samjhenge…but…kuch kuch hota hai!…when we heard this news.
At an event organised by Edinburgh’s Centre for South Asian Studies, SRK has been honoured by the University of Edinburgh.
SRK, reportedly, spoke at length (gave a “public lecture”) and keeping up to his usual image of an entertainer, performed on the song lungi dance from his film Chennai Express.
”Dr Khan spoke after receiving an honorary degree from the University’s Chancellor, HRH The Princess Royal,” the relevant url on the site, ed.ac.uk, states. His degree of doctor honoris causa, is in recognition “of his success as an actor with a global reach and his outstanding record of philanthropy, altruism and humanitarianism.”
Well, for a part of the globe, Khan may be a fresh discovery. For millions of Indians, however, SRK is a success story, repeatedly told. His ‘larger than life’ brand comes at a cost. The cost is a life spent on hard work with consistent dedication. Not everybody is ready to accept him at the top, but none can deny that behind the making of Dr Shah Rukh Khan, is a life-long case study of young man refusing to be put down.
There are several interviews, documentaries and writings that have tried to frame SRK’s profile. Anything that’s written on him seems to be just an add-on to the long list of discussions on him. You name a film and there are scrolls of discussion already available.
So what’s it so miraculous about this ‘hero’ that keeps him going. I have one reason too for people who were in school as this then struggling yet rising star was trying to find a place in the film fraternity. His roles, other than the many negative ones he played, always placed a career opportunity. There was some aspiration embedded in many of his popular films. In Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, he leaves Darjeeling for Mumbai in search of a career. Then in Yes Boss, his dream of owning an office makes him work very hard, even if it means following every stupid instruction of his boss. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani gets us a tv reporter in search of higher ratings. Dil Se… can you forget the AIR correspondent risking his life? How about the college dude in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and his amazing college dressing?
In a vibrant Indian economy, the corporate dream comes alive, when you see Shah Rukh Khan get down from his helicopter in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Chak De gets you a brilliant coach and Swades an Indian scientist.
Well, you may counter me talking about ‘don’, ‘killer’, ‘psycho’ – the roles that also helped him getting noted. But then again, it’s this variety of roles that made him what he is today, Dr Shah Rukh Khan! After all, kuch kuch hota hai (Something Happens) for his fans when they watch him and it’s not possible for everyone to understand this magic, Dil Se (from the bottom of the heart).