Open Letter to Shahrukh Khan

August 25, 2013

Dear Shahrukh,

Two months ago, i  was in your town for my book launch. In Mumbai for a couple of hectic days for the big event. We didn’t have time to go to any of the touristy destinations, but the missus insisted on one place we just had to see. Mannat. Your home. That beautiful temple where King Khan lives. We took a taxi all the way from Nariman Point, reached your home and dutifully stood there taking in the moment, while dripping in sweat from the burning sun.

We were outside the home of the man who gave us memorable films like DDLJ and Chak De India, the latter being one of only two movies i have seen multiple times in a movie theater, the other being Munnabhai MBBS. Your house was all fenced up, with the barbed wire reminding me of an India-Pakistan border. We didn’t even hope to see you in person, sitting in the balcony enjoying a cup of tea or a nice cigarette etc. Gods don’t give darshan that easily, and we’re cool with that.


But we were happy to just be there, and went away satisfied that we can post Facebook pictures to prove that we were there. Such is your aura. Your magic.

Now here’s the thing. DDLJ was 1995. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was 1998. It has been 15 years since the time you and Kajol set the screen on fire. When women went weak in their knees when you spread your arms wide open, in that trademark gesture of yours.

Cut to 2013. You are 47 year old. When you repeated the same gesture in Chennai Express, i expected your daughter to come running into your arms, not Deepika Padukone, twenty years younger to you and who probably anyway sees you as a father figure.


When you, as a 40 year old bachelor in the movie living with your grandparents, decided to cheat your bereaved grandmother by breaking her trust around immersing your own grandfather’s ashes, i was appalled. You’re not a silly teenager to play such a role. You are king khan, icon of icons, the legend of our generation.

I have watched you from the times you started off with Fauji and Circus on TV, to becoming this superstar you are today. You have everything a man can dream of. Millions look upto you. Millions would do anything that you tell them to. You should be at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, looking for self-actualization, not trying so hard to be the person you were a couple of decades ago.

Everybody grows old some day. Except maybe Shahid Afridi. In 3 years, you’ll be 50. How about behaving like someone at least a few decades closer in age to your real self? I’ve driven through Delhi University trying to find one man who looks like you do, but couldn’t find anyone. Not even the political leaders who spend half a decade trying to complete their degrees.

We’ve seen enough of you as that lover boy who rescues damsels in distress. Now how about showing that you can do more? That you can experiment. Give us some good cinema. Even Tendulkar announced retirement from ODI cricket, and he is a decade younger than you. Give the young boys also a chance to run around trees with the girls. There’s only as much running a 47 year old set of knees can endure.

When people would crib about you, i was the one who always insisted that Shahrukh is a man with more class than anyone else in Bollywood. But by class i didn’t mean college classes. You can’t play a twenty year old anymore. Come on. Let it go. There are more roles for you to play. Or just play with your kids.

I would hate for you to become a caricature like Sly Stallone. His Rocky movies are the stuff of legend. But he just couldn’t move on, and ended making that train-wreck of a movie called Rocky 6. OH MY GOD.

Maybe it is a sign that your latest movie was about a train. Please pull the emergency break now. The train is getting derailed. You will surely keep making money if you make a dozen more such movies, but you’ll go down in history as a man who started with circus, and ended with one.

Please don’t kill the legend for us.

[Image courtesy: DNA India]

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31 Responses to “ Open Letter to Shahrukh Khan ”

  1. Kashish on August 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I understand your overall sentiment and feeling which I coincidentally feel is right, but Tendulkar has not retired from Test Matches. He has retired from ODIs.

    • amreekandesi on August 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Indeed, my bad. I have updated the post now :)

  2. nitin on August 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    you’ll go down in history as a man who started with circus, and ended with one..

    m sure dat gonna happen.. is it greed of fame which makes him do this?? i wonder,,,,,

  3. sandeep on August 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Hey dude,

    Being a close follower of yours on face book i want to put in a question here.

    If i were to be SRK i would have agreed to your blog had the movie been a utter flop.. But it is a block buster

    Now lets think abt few ppl and few things.
    1. These ppl know how to make fool of public (SRK; Rohit shetty; Farah Khan; Salman Khan etc etc)
    2. So we keep getting hit movies like Chennai Express, Singham, Dabangg etc etc
    3. When they know how to make fool out of ppl and it is reaping them crores together every time why would they confinue to do?

    • Rishab on August 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      what do you mean by theses people are making a fool out of us. They are not forcing anyone to watch such movies. It is us who are going to watch such movies.
      And tell me one thing who in this world is not hungry for fame. Are you not?
      Who in this world doesnt want to earn crores.Do you not want to earn?
      Then how can we blame them when the fault lies within us who are promoting such kind of a film and making them a blockbuster.

    • sandeep on August 26, 2013 at 11:37 pm


      Did i tell you i watched it? Did i tell you i vouched for it? Did i tell you i recommended it for some one? It is a country with 1 Bn population and if we take a sample of ppl then a movie making 300 Cr represent entire India. Because of ppl like you we are being tagged like fools.

      Dont even want to answer your other questions because it doesnt make any sense in the given context.

  4. Rishab on August 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    i really agree to what you wrote out there. But he is one person who has made this movie for the masses. This is what the Indian audience wants to see and this is what he is showing. If we really wanted something good or meaningful then none of the salman khan movies would have collected such huge amounts in the box office.

    • sandi on August 26, 2013 at 8:51 am

      I think you have missed the point - the movie was an ENTERTAINER for the masses. dont try & analyse it, just FEEL it & enjoy. Every time SRK makes a *meaningful* movie, it doesnt do as well, so let him do what he enjoys…and what his fans enjoy (which is anything & everything he does!)

  5. Narendra Vikram Sing on August 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    The movie has made crores.1 It was very clever marketing
    2 Ticket prices were grossly increased
    3 Released in more than 1000 screen
    4 Credit to Indian public as he has still enough fans
    as well as Deepika who did better than him
    5 As said above By Rishab the public wants entertainment.
    Good and meaningful films have no place in the mind of
    Indian Public and they invariably will not do well except that
    the producers will recover their money plus some more .
    So as expressed above we have to tolerate & live with films
    of quality like CE
    Why criticize SRK He is a entertainer, wants money & he has made it
    It’s only people like you & me who have to suffer for 2 30

  6. Sourav on August 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Mr-amreekandesi:-> It is not like he does not do sensible movies eg MNIK (2010) Chak De (2007) etc
    And you guys talking about romancing with a girl of 20yrs younger than him right?? Amir Khan kissed Kareena Kapoor in 3Idiots (where d fuck were u),the same goes for Amir Khan(48) and Anushka Sharma (25) who are going to kiss each other immensely in Peekay, this did not bother you but Shahrukh just being onscreen opposite to a girl of 27yrs of age is certainly an issue for you.
    But we do know whats behind this,you are a jealous retarded Amir Fan who is unable to bear the fact that ChennaiExpress has broken its record in just 2 weeks time span.
    No matter how much u try to create negativity about SRK , is is not going to affect him. Whatever film he makes is way much better than any other actors.So better STFU and get lost >_<

  7. Smriti on August 25, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    The biggest funniest part of the blog is “SRK is a legend”.

    I might be alone in this assertion but I know legends are aren’t made by brilliant marketing, they are made by real talent…

    Now to your other contention, I completely agree. Actors should choose roles that befit their age and personality. But if his films garner commercial success, there is little motivation to change, ya?

    As for comparisons to Aamir Khan, if the rest of the movie oozes solid acting with gripping storyline, its easier to forgive and ignore the trespass of canoodling a much younger female. but when you have a mindless fare such as Chennai Express, you wonder what dropped on Meenamma’s head to have her fall in love with an aging Naarth Indian

    • Sourav on August 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      Actually its not about SRK,its about your thinking.You think u r the most intelligent audience.Let me clear this-> Majority of Indian People (including me) love Commercial Movie like ChnnaiExpress which gives us 2hrs of laughter and emotions .
      Sometimes the only thing needed in a movie is entertainment and guys like u complaining about quality dont watch this movie
      SRK made this movie for Indian audience-majority of which loved it thats the reason behind CE’s success.
      It does contain moral value and a social message-after so many yrs of Independence WOmens in smaller towns and villages are not given any freedom to live according to their will.At least for some people this women concentrated message is more valuable than ur 3 Idiots msg

    • sandi on August 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

      aging? SRK? surely you joke! girls of all ages fall in love with SRK, THE King Khan in real life, why not in his movies?

  8. Sourav on August 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    And also chennaiexpress is not going to be his last movie.
    Many more are coming,
    His last 5 Movies- RNBDJ- ROm-com
    He is the only actor who does so many different kind of movies.He tries every genre of movie and still u people say that he is only making romantic movies.He is the most versatile actor Indian cinema ever has.
    He has always tried to do something different for the industry by doing movies of every genre possible and I am 100% sure he will continue doing like this.He is and will always be the legend of Indian Cinema.

    • Narendra Vikram Singh on August 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      No one denies SRK does not have talent. .He is into entertainment business and has to entertain some will like and some will not.

  9. Aakash on August 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    “Chennai Express” came and you woke up!! Where were you at the time of ??? Do you know he is the guy who introduced VFX in Indian Film industry.But you know what, Indian people didn’t like that new experiment of him. I know there were some flows in that movie but no one admired the fact that the effects were created in Andheri INDIA !!! Indian people refused that one and i know even you would have not noticed it at that time. An entertainer makes Movies for his audiences and not for himself even if he wants to do some experiments. If his audience likes him romancing girls even a half of his age he will have to do that.He is a Pure Entertainer , he makes movies to entertain and not because it is his family Business unlike other Khans… “He will bring A new ‘Class’ when his audience is ready for it” till then you have to wait dude ….He started with Circus and he will end up with one if his audience is happy with that … “He is an Entertainer at Heart”

  10. IK on August 26, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Loads of errors in your statement.. Wont waste time writing them all. Just a big thumbs down to a loser’s thought.. That SRK didnt act wth Kajol for 13 yrs is an example of ur error (My Name Is Khan was a 2010 masterpiece, a thought-provoking muvi).
    People are paying much more these days(200-300 per tkt) than in 90s (10-20 rs per tkt) as these r the times of multiplexes. SRK didnt force anyone to watch his muviz.. PPl rejecting newer releases and watching his movies at their own will & money..
    To criticize SRK, first reach his stature & then find out his faults.

  11. Neetish on August 26, 2013 at 11:59 am

    It’s a weird scenario where garbage like chennai express and the nonsense dished by farah khan and sajid khan are considered entertainment.

    All these stars are in a bit of an ego tussle, i’ve stopped watching SRK, salman , akshay kumar movies completely. Ajay Devgan’s highest grousers have been by rohit shetty, Amir khan’s next is a Dhoom.

    while the smaller movies have been so much better, we don’t demand serious movies all the time some outstanding entertaining movies recently have been fukrey, vicky donor, pyar ka punchnama and the likes.

    Staying away from all these stars will lead you to better content, Chennai express was at least honest about it’s content in the promos, the trailers itself were unbearable.

    I mean who would find a dialogue like ” tu don ki nahi donkey ki beti hai” or a cliched joke about a ” bokwas dictionary” funny ?

  12. Alok Ranjan on August 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I started reading this letter with a bit of cynicism. After all, why would Sharukh care to read an open letter! He knows better than others what he wants in his life, and he has achieved that.

    But as I went through this beautiful piece of yours, I got goose bumps. I was a big fan of Doosra Kewal and Fauji, and have liked some of his movies. I feel he has earned enough money and fame. Maybe he should now concentrate on earning something more sublime. Just a thought. After all, as I said…’He knows better than others what he wants in his life..’.

  13. Dr. Gonzo on August 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    what do you want SRK to write you a fucking memo saying sorry? he’s an actor, and he’s making commercial films. find something constructive to do with your time - maybe form a emo/indie pop punk band and whine away instead of clogging online real estate

    • Narendra Vikram Sing on August 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      My apologies to you at the start itself
      Every one is entitled to his own opinion
      Criticism / praise can also be done constructively
      If only the F word could be avoided
      I am sure you are a big fan of SRK like millions world over

  14. Rishabh Joshi on August 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I regularly read your stuff to improve my GK :P and i must tell you, its really impressive. I was awed to see the mention of ‘Maslow’s Triangle’, i mean it tells about your vast knowledge over vivid topics. Keep up the spirit. And for this letter to Shahrukh, i had a similar viewpoint. (y) :)

  15. Arnab Bhattacharya on August 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

    As much as impressing your article is about stereotyping SRK into a retirement spiral like most do, I’d strongly like for you to take a closer look and notice his indomitable spirit. Next, SRK has not only been classy but also an entertainer. His acts have appealed to people in almost every age-group.
    Though you are very much right about the Deepika Padukone bit, but I think SRK was well aware of circumstances even before he signed OSO. I would give it to him for having gone through with such a perfect execution of style knowing the odds fully well.
    And lastly I believe Sachin and SRK as you’ve said are still two very important figures who influence the young Indian and kindles their imagination and ambitions.

  16. Sanjay on August 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I think that this article is just crap and the writer is trying to get some kind of visibility by using SRK’s name. Tch Tch sad….can’t imagine to what level people stoop these days to get attention.

  17. Tatun on August 27, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    But then SRK did Swadesh and it did not fly…the masses keep his image alive and the only one they like is the arms open wide to embrace a young damsel in distress. He tried Ra-One…where he wanted to do his own thing and also please the masses…and what did people take ” chamak challo” while the rest was a flop even with super digital graphics….My son is 4 yrs old and he likes his movies and watches challa and isqh sava over again although I have never been a SRK movie fan (barring Fauji, Circus, chakde and swadesh”)…the man definitely defies age and time….dont date him, oops hate him for that

  18. Roshni on August 28, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Wow! So many impassioned SRK fans here!

  19. asha on August 29, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Other heros like salman and aamir also romance younger girls then y r you only mentioning about srk this just show ur a jeoulous fan of some looser actor

  20. Drishti on September 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I am 19, and a dedicated ShahrukhKhan fan since 18 years.
    Any criticism against my idol upsets me, and I’ve had innumerable arguments with family/friends over it.
    However, you piece makes complete sense.
    Chennai Express did recreate the magic of Shahrukh, but he really does need to take up some mature roles. A classic example was Chak De. Hope he does get there soon! :’)
    Really well written. Thumbs up!

  21. Ms on September 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

    So, your idol has clay feet. Be thankful they are not cloven.

  22. Melou on September 15, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Cut the crap ShahRukhKhan nd aging?? Haha he always will be a legend.. He’s nly trying to entertain us am nt even indian but av grown up watching his movies nd even learn hindi.. Am half his age nd i love him madly lol love him even more after chennai Xpress… live nd let live !! Total baakwaas !!

  23. Raj on March 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Please change this
    “You will surely keep making money if you make a dozen more such movies, but you’ll go down in history as a man who started with circus, and ended with one”
    You will surely keep making money if you make a dozen more such movies, but you’ll go down in history as a man who started with circus, and ended as one.

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