Dreams were getting defined a way newer than ever,new corporate houses were emerging with the older ones getting more freedom, a large chunk of population was getting dazzled by the urban shine. The 2-year wonder had seen its days and yet another experiment ended up almost in the same manner as the last one did in the late 80’s. INC was once again shown faith in though not as overwhelmingly as in 1980. Failing considerably short of the majority, the single largest party was yet again forced to form a coalition government at the center. For the first time in the history, congress was ruling at the centre without having the majority.                   It was the period popularly known as the ‘post-liberalization’ era. Private companies were no more in government hands. The society as a result went through a radical change. Entrepreneurs got a new boost while the socialists saw a latent danger in this initiative. Quite ironically, the very offshoots of the socialism-propounder and staunch supporter were responsible for this enactment.
                                                          These were the political and social outcomes of the new governmental policies. Walking parallel and even more dynamically was the cinematic world which was witnessing the absorption of whole new ideas, modes of expression and techniques. The intrusion of newness was quite welcomed by the indian society which had had enough of those stereotypes. heroes walking around trees onscreen were history. The disco world introduced in the 80’s was evolving rapidly. Mahesh bhatt’s aashiqui(1990) alarmed the filmmakers of the significance that music had for the then society especially the youth. The very thought of music alone making a film with average script and newcomers playing the lead a mega hit, struck the brains of filmmakers who (post-aashiqui) started ensuring that the songs do hit the charts to make the film more successful. The emergence of t-series headed by gulshan kumar was nothing but an outcome of this new realization. The city of mumbai, also known as the ‘mayanagari’ was a destination for millions of aspirants whose cinematic faculty could have found a credible platform in no other city than the financial capital itself. In this multitude of dreamers, there was a young delhi-lad with sky high ambitions. A middle class DU graduate who had lost his father due to cancer. He couldn’t claim to be as handsome as the likes of dharmendra or manoj kumar, nor could he act as skillfully or realistically as sanjeev kumar or dilip kumar did. The typical indian hero who was 6 feel tall, whose throat seemed to match that of a lion, who could cajole the audiences into considering the things that he did on screen realistic  however much exaggerated they were was too mean to let this new lad be defined as per those standards. The conviction, indefatigable spirit, infinite self-belief that were put into getting transformed from a middle class avarege looking guy into the larger than life existence that went on to be recognised as ‘shahrukh khan’ forms one of the legends in the history of indian cinema. That he was born to entertain or to be admired or to be madly followed is an undeniable fact. While other star kids who later on became stars were getting launched one by one by the grace of their acquaintances, this youngster was doing shakespearen plays at Hansraj college just to enhance his acting skills. After having lost his father at the age of 14, his shoulders were heavier with domestic responsibilities which often makes one just confine his/her dreams to earning and feeding the family. The things that happened to him between leaving delhi and getting the first break in ‘DAH’ opposite Divya are much talked about. The two tv serials that he did, the inter-religion relationship that he entered into, the support that he got  from the deol family and salman khan’s family have all been discussed a lot over the years. It was after bazigar(1993) that the he got some recognition and caught the eyes of some of the eminent filmmakers including yash chopra. When aamir khan, who was an established star at that time refused to play the lead, yash chopra saw the obsessive lover of his imagination in this new boy and shahrukh managed to beg another hit titled darr(1993). Now shahrukh was no  unknown  figure in the industry but he was yet to see the real light. The two films that got him the recognition had everything but positivity, still aditya chopra considered him for the male lead of his upcoming film who hardly had anything negative about his personality. DDLJ(1995) was something that happened to him by fortune. What it did on the box office is history but more than anything else, it suddenly concentrated all the eyes on a single phenomenon called shahrukh khan just as ‘aaradhna’ did to rajesh khanna. With all due respect to the legend, what is subtly different between the two of them is that the glitter of rajesh khanna was short living yet. unprecedented while shahrukh had the steel to digest the attention which added many more pages to his success story. DDLJ was destined to be his film. Shahrukh khan was born to be what he is. All the attention or fame he has got, the audience that found his presence on screen more effective and charming than of any other star were all things that he was born to experience. The reason why he exists is nothing but the fact that his character struggles to find a match no matter how the majority evaluates him. despite all the criticism he has been subjected to, the arrogance he is alleged to have shown at times, the egocentric existence that he allegedly leads, the scandals linked with his name the very fact that he is what he is and has been for more than last 20 years is enough to give him a place to be held worthy of all the attention he has been given. I wonder if Even his biggest critics who find it hard to go to bed before slandering his personality, while thinking of the different eras of bollywood find it just to jump to anyone else’s but shahrukh’s name when they think of a name that stood out in the later 90’s and the earlier part of this century. He certainly has many negatives, who doesn’t?. But he surely is a reason why the less prosperd section of the society can dream big. Happy birthday to him.                                                                                        

 -Deepak kaviya          

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