In the last couple of years, my favorite Bollywood badshah Shahrukh Khan has been plagued with controversies, some big and some small. Here’s looking at some of the ones he’d had in his life…
A for Amitabh
One is the Shahenshah and one is the Badshah. And of course, it’s impossible for them to get along. Or so the grapevine would have us believe. There’s a cold war that keeps brewing and we keep getting the details.
B for Billu Barber
This one defied logic. If the hero of a movie is called Billu and is a barber, then what else can one call the movie? But barbers of the world (or rather India) found it derogatory and the film had to be renamed to Billu.
C for Chalte Chalte
It was reported that due to a fracas between Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan on the sets of the film, the former was sacked from the movie and replaced with Rani Mukerji. Years later SRK wasn’t invited to the marriage of Aishwarya at the Amitabh household.
D for Deepa Sahi
Remember Maya Memsaab in 1993? That had generated a lot of controversy over the sexually explicit content. The censor board cut some scenes, which made their way to YouTube years later.
E for the Eyes of Amar Singh
At an awards show, SRK joked that he saw “darindagi” (evil) in erstwhile Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh’s eyes. Amitabh was miffed and SP partymen agitated in front of SRK’s home.
F for Farah Khan
When Farah decided to do her 3rd movie without SRK, all manner of reports came of a split between the two. The superstar later clarified that it was a date problem and nothing else.*
G for Gay
The SRK-Saif gay act in Kal Ho Na Ho was a big hit and the acting continued well into award shows. That led some people to spread rumours that he was gay in the first place.
H for Hosting film award shows
When the King Khan hosts a film award, then it can’t be normal. At the Filmfare awards, he and Saif took potshots at everyone: critics, the film industry, themselves… Not everyone was amused though.
I for IPL
After failing to get Mumbai, SRK landed with Kolkata in his kitty. Since then it’s been trouble with Dada Sourav Ganguly, coach John Buchanan, irate fans, bottom of the table performances, Pak players controversy… just one thing after the other and not even an IPL semi-final berth to show for it.**
J for Junk Food Actors
In the 1990s, he once made certain remarks about “junk food actors” which allegedly referred to action stars Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty. The comments were subsequently totally denied and everything was fine between the three.
K for Khan Wars
It is impossible for the Three Big Khans to get along. Bollywood is simply too small for Salman, Aamir and SRK. Either they are not on talking terms or are cold to each other at parties and meets. Recently Aamir even got into the mood and questioned SRK’s No. 1 status followed by the below-the-belt comment on his blog that a dog called Shahrukh was licking his legs.***
L for Lux Cozi
Lux Cozi sponsored Kolkata Knight Riders. Lux Cozi promoter was charged with the abetment of suicide of Rizwanur Rahman. And the deal got promptly frozen, even though the ads kept coming on TV long after the press conference where the announcement was made.
M for My Name is Khan
One of the biggest controversies in recent times. The Shiv Sena. The MNS. The Maharashtra government. Everyone seemed to have got involved. The film got released amidst unprecedented security and SRK is still clueless on what exactly happened and why it happened.
N for Newark Airport
SRK was detained Newark Airport in the US for more than an hour “Because His Name Was Khan”. While SRK kicked up a racket, his detractors found the plot too eerily similar to the movie he was shooting for.
O for Om Shanti Om
While this movie opened to bumper full house without any problems, thespian Manoj Kumar made a big fuss about how his character was portrayed negatively and wanted an apology plus the scenes being cut.
P for Parties
There’s something always happening at Bollywood parties. The latest was Katrina Kaif’s birthday. The media reported that SRK and Salman almost came to blows.
Q for Quiz Shows
Why did SRK take up Kaun Banega Crorepati? To prove a point to Amitabh? Was Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain a washout? What is SRK doing hosting a college quiz?
R for Rab Ne Banadi Jodi
During the shooting of this movie, it is alleged that SRK smoked on the premises of a “No Smoking” Sikh college in Amritsar. Another unsubstantiated rumour and mini-controversy.
S for Scanner
Heathrow airport proudly introduced body scanners that would tighten security. However people claimed to have saved and distributed images of SRK’s body, leading to an outcry by privacy groups.
T for Trimurti
This was one of the major box office debacles of the mid-nineties and director Mukul Anand and producer Subash Ghai traded barbs on who was responsible. Fingers were also pointed at the performances of Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff and this was one of the few controversies SRK quietly walked away from.
U for United Producers and Distributors Association Forum
Being a producer himself, SRK was thick in the middle of the 2009 Bollywood producers’ strike. Initially the TV channels just focused on rivals SRK and Aamir coming on one platform.
W for Whiteness Creams
While stars and cricketers have got flak for endorsing any and every product they can get their hands on, SRK got maximum flak for selling a skin whitening cream—and that too for men!
X for Xerox
A Xerox of Dilip Kumar. A copy of Amitabh. That’s how his acting was described when he started out his career. Then there was that hamming label. That way, he has come a long way with his performances in Swades, Chak De India and MNIK.
Y for Yash Chopra
While SRK and the Chopras have shared an excellent relationship, the very first movie Darr had Sunny Deol crying foul over the way his role was cut to size and the ending was shot and edited without him being taken into confidence. The media reported that they didn’t talk for years after that.
Z for Zaara, the Pakistani girl
When Veer-Zaara was released, Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf was very upset with the negative portrayal of Pakistan. Luckily, that did not escalate into anything nasty.
Post Script (18 May 2012)
A for Abhijeet
Bollywood singer Abhijeet once declared that he wouldn’t sing for SRK ever again as he didn’t get enough respect to him.
K for Kunder
It was alleged that SRK slapped Farah Khan’s husband Shirish Kunder at a Bollywood party.
R for Ra.One
No SRK movie has come in for so much flak over its storyline and penchant for offending a whole host of communities. Panned by the critics, this movie raked in the moolah for SRK but still wasn’t the blockbuster it was made out to be.
S for Smoking
SRK was caught smoking in the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur during an IPL match and a case was filed against him.
W for Wankhede Stadium
A grand fracas after a match (that KKR won!) led to SRK being banned from Wankhede Stadium.
Y for Yale University
On his way to give a speech in Yale, SRK was again detained by airport security yet again.
*Since then SRK and Farah Khan have patched up and made Happy New Year. However there was a controversy when Jaya Bachchan called the film nonsensical.
**Since then KKR has won the IPL twice, though winning captain Gautam Gambhir soon found himself out of the national team.
***The love-hate relationship between the three Khans continues. There was that famous SRK-Salman hug though.
© Sunil Rajguru