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I want to embarrass my kids: Shah Rukh Khan speaks on stardom 

At the recent India Today conclave, the actor spoke effusively on his stardom, perception and how 'to shut up' on social media is the best solution. 

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

Shah Rukh Khan is taking his Dear Zindagi role a little too seriously. The actor recently played a counsellor to Alia Bhatt in Gauri Shinde's Dear Zindagi. At the recent India Today conclave, the actor brought the role to real life elaborating on his stardom, perceptions, and the attempts to 'shut up' on social media. In a session moderated by Koel Purie, Padmaja Joshi and Avantika Singh, the actor was at his wittiest best. 

Speaking about the increased trolling on 'social media', the actor said, "Shut up to me is too decent. I should not bring this up. I have promised my family I will not talk like this on stage and get into trouble again."

He went on to add, "I think in today's world (one should) be decent, be gracious, bow down a little. I am not giving you freedom to speak your mind, talk your mind, it's a different world today. Speak your mind in the bathroom." 

Khan was supposed to be joined by Amitabh Bachchan, but the senior superstar had to cancel the event on account of the recent death of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's father. Khan, though, mentioned the veteran as one of his mentors. Speaking about Bachchan's influence in a 'very roughly put together' speech, Khan said the veteran taught him that a legend is 'the last man or woman standing'. However, the actor remarked that 'keeping the spotlight on yourself, and believing that the rest of the world is less deserving is foolish." 

While his speech might have been eloquent and sober, Khan let loose his humour when it came to answering questions. When asked how he deals with the growing attention of women, the actor said, "When people start throwing themselves at you, just make sure you always smell good, brush your teeth, have soft hair. I have a lot of ladies who like to smell me and grab me, so now I have lady bodyguards."

The Raees actor added that it was still difficult to explain things back at home. 

True to his wit, Khan added that he had learnt to laugh off his criticism. He said, "You can ask people to shut up some times, or behave badly at the Wankhede Stadium. Nowadays I think it's better not to say Shut Up on social media. You get capital letters - Shut the F*** UP, Get Out Of My Country!" The answer sent the crowd into a laughter frenzy. 

The attention does come at a price. The actor recalled how he often enters parties with a growling face because the press is constantly after him. Remarking about his recent car accident with a photographer, Khan said, "That is why my pictures in the car always have me (hand extended) like this, growling." 

The actor did not shy away from questions about the growing age gap between himself and his heroines either. With both his son, Aryan and daughter, Suhana, having expressed interest in acting, Khan said he does have a secret to stay young. "Keep yourself healthy, a six pack helps. I don't know...the presence of a little child at 50, just before surrogacy got illegal."

A reported chain smoker, the actor added that he is trying to reduce his vices. He said, "I plan to give my child 20-25 years of my life. I'd like to be there to embarrass them at parties. I want to be cumbersome and troublesome to my kids." 

While the actor is trying different roles that are far fetched from the romantic image that launched him to superstardom, he does not believe the industry is unrealistic in its stories. He said, "When you’re making and selling dreams you’re not actually selling the impossible. It’s something that allows people to imagine their own possibilities. Even when the plots are crazy, there’s a subtlety in the stupidity that we sell." 

Considering that his leading women have grown younger and younger, with a 23-year-old Alia Bhatt in Dear Zindagi, the actor maintained that this was just an attempt to 'stay in touch with the younger me'. 

Khan will be seen in Imtiaz Ali's film, and will also play a dwarf in Aanand L Rai's film later this year.