Shah Rukh Khan, king khan of Bollywood is the person whom I admire the most. I was 38 when his movie Baazigar was out in 1993. I saw his first film, Deewana and just loved this person, I don’t know why. Maybe because I wanted to be like him! I too had similar ambitions – I too wanted to be an actor, and get known for my art. We both had the same conditions back home, as even I didn’t have money or support when I followed my heart and took the plunge. But as history would have it, I didn’t make it but he did. He lived the dream that was closest to my heart. And a relationship was born!
I knew he was almost half of my age, but still he was my inspiration. I can’t explain this, but it holds.
I had two daughters and my wife living with me. I was not so financially stable at that time. Even before marriage I was torn apart between my need to earn money and passion to pursue an uncertain interest. At some point of life, I felt it’s selfish to continue focusing on myself and not think of others in the family. A sentiment which rubs on to the middle class way too often, due to which their love gets caged in a secret corner of the heart and remains there, dormant ever after.
It was a conscious decision to not take any more risks and work harder on my business as I had three dependants staring at me. It was my birthday when we went to see Baazigar. I don’t know what happened during those three hours, but I dearly wanted to act somewhere once again, as I used to do while in college. It was bothering me somewhere deep inside. I felt I had cheated on myself. Even when my wife asked again and again what was wrong with me, I couldn’t bare my heart. I wanted to tell her that I wanted to act, I wanted to go back to my college auditorium, and I wanted to follow my passion in any miniscule way possible. I didn’t want that part in me to die! But aloud, I just changed the topic and went off to sleep, hoping to be fine by next morning.
On the following day, I went to my shop for work, came back home at night and was surprised that everyone was gathered there. All my relatives, friends and my building members were there waiting for me. They had discussed about me when I wasn’t there. When I came back, everyone told me to go back to my life and follow my passion. I was shocked for a moment and then, I had tears in my eyes. I was so happy at that moment that I can’t express my feelings now. Their acceptance and support itself was a rebirth for me.
I didn’t become famous or rich. But while meeting new people, I am introduced as an “actor”. That itself means a lot to me.
Today my wife is no more. Daughters are married, and settled elsewhere. I am settled too, in an old age home in Mumbai. Whenever there is a festival or a celebration, when someone is sad or I am depressed, I work as the in-house actor here. I create interesting characters out of myself, and rarely, I also do the characters played by Shah Rukh Khan.
Storyteller : Keshav Aggarwal
As told to Ritika jain