A Delhi boy, who once dreamt of becoming an actor, is today regarded as the 'King of Romance' in Indian cinema. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who feels his achievements are beyond anyone's dreams, says he never imagined that one day his name will become an "adjective" and that he is not in a delusion about stardom.
Shah Rukh, one of the highest earning actors in the world, recounts emotionally when he first touched down in Mumbai to try his luck in showbiz at the age of 25. Interestingly, the 51-year-old has now completed the same number of years in Hindi filmdom as his debut film "Deewana" clocked a silver anniversary in June.
"I am not showing off, but whatever I have achieved or whatever I have received in all these years, I don't think anybody can think about that in dreams," Shah Rukh told IANS in an interview here.
As a youngster, he had "small dreams and wishes" like buying a home and a car, but Shah Rukh says he later realised that his dreams had gone "beyond" his imagination.
"I had never thought of being what I am today... like people say 'legendary', 'mythical' or 'The Shah Rukh Khan' kind of a feeling. I never thought that my name would become an adjective, which people will use to describe things -- ‘Shah Rukh kind of boy', ‘Shah Rukh kind of romance'.
"I have gone through a lot of things which I think I don't even deserve, or maybe I got appreciation for other people's hard work," added Shah Rukh, who has been appreciated for films like "Darr", "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge", "Dil To Pagal Hai", "Swades", "Chak De! India", "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", "Mohabbatein" and "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..." and "My Name Is Khan".
The "Baadshah of Bollywood", who was here to promote his latest release "Jab Harry Met Sejal", says his experiences in showbiz have given him the virtue of patience.
"I've learnt to be patient at good and even bad times. I don't get carried away by good things, nor do I get impatient or worried about bad things.
"Also, each passing year I get a feeling that I know less acting. Every time I am playing a character, I get a feeling that I know less. It's like when you start studying the first chapter, you feel I have learnt everything… But when time passes, you realise there is a lot more to it than what you thought.
"In 25 years, every time when I've acted, I have got to understand how little I know about it," he added.
So, what's the secret of his longevity in Bollywood?
Shah Rukh, flashing his charming smile, said: "I'm not overconfident about what I do and I think that's the secret of my longevity."
He says people come to watch his films with a lot of trust, and he feels it's his "responsibility" to maintain that trust for all the stardom and fandom he enjoys.
However, he knows it's not forever.
"If you are an actor, stardom becomes a part of your life and your family. You get so used to it, that you feel, it is my inheritance and 'I deserved it since childhood', and that nobody can take it away from you. Obviously, that's not true.
"It will come to an end one day, but it's very difficult to think the other way... I never think of it being taken away by somebody else or thinking do I have to sustain it.
"Stardom is like a child in a toy store or in a Disneyland. If you tell the child, 'Listen, this place will be closed at 7', he will not think that... He will feel everything there belongs to him and this is his life.
"This (film world) is the toy store that I was born for, so I believe that. Stardom never affected my vision as actor. I was always a very brave actor. It has only made me braver because being brave when you have nothing to lose is one thing, but being brave when you have everything to lose, is a bigger achievement.
"I try to do that as often as I can."