Shah Rukh Khan – Why He’s King of Bollywood

If you’re new to Bollywood movies, you may wonder why Shah Rukh Khan is top of the Bollywood heroes list.  At first glance he may seem a bit on the short side at 5’6″ and maybe not even conventionally handsome, especially compared to some of Bollywood’s himbos.

But Shah Rukh Khan’s been the undisputed King of Bollywood for nearly twenty years and much of his appeal comes from his personal brand’s USP of love and respect.  Often known just by his initials SRK, Shah Rukh Khan is one of those rare people who makes everyone around him feel like they’re the star.  Despite having the industry in the palm of his hand, his humility, friendliness and excellent work ethic have won him respect and admiration from his co-stars and more than a billion fans worldwide.

Like Hollywood has its dynasties, so Bollywood, and if you dig a little you’ll usually find most newcomers are ‘launched’ by their famous Bollywood relatives.  Shah Rukh Khan’s success is all the more amazing for his having made his way as an outsider from middle-class Delhi to the top of the industry in Mumbai, with nothing more than a dream and willingness to work hard.

His wholesome appeal is bolstered by the well-known story of his being a shy young man who, after family drama worthy of many a Bollywood movie, married the first girl he’d had the courage to ask to dance.  The family drama was that the girl was Hindu and he Muslim. Her family was neither impressed with his religion nor his prospects of wanting to move to Mumbai to make his fortune as a movie star.  One can assume all is now forgiven.

Shahrukh Khan is primarily responsible for the myth that there’s no kissing in Bollywood. It’s not strictly true and more Bollywood movies are including kissing and love scenes, however, Shah Rukh believes kissing should be reserved for his wife, Gauri, so he never kisses heroines on the lips.

But it hasn’t stopped his career skyrocketing from the TV serial, Fauji (Soldier), to the big screen, a transition also uncommon in Bollywood. He’s since done action, comedy and masala movies (literally- ‘spice’ – these are blockbusters with a bit of something for everyone), but his best work is in the romantic drama and romantic comedy genres.

In India and beyond he is more than a film star, he is a cultural icon. His wax statue is in both Madam Tussaud’s in London and  now at Grévin in Paris.

He attended the Cannes Film festival when Devdas was so well received there in 2002.   He has hosted the Indian equivalent of ‘Who wants to be a millionnaire?’ and presented the Best Motion Picture award for Slumdog Millionnaire with Freida Pinto at the 2009 Golden Globes.

An astute businessman, known for never borrowing money and for his honest dealings, his production house, Red Chillies En