About the Author
Alphabets forming chunks called words strung together to form an information highway has always
been his fascination. The milestones on this highway though have morphed mm from ore vital role to
another in this highly demanding industry.
Mushtaq Shiekh has been an integral part of the high profile world of films in India — with a
career spanning over twelve years. It was with the pseudonym Shiekhspear that Mushtag Shiekh had
launched his career and began his affair with the pen, which over the years transformed into the
intimacy of an extra marital affair albeit with the laptop. His first brush with the film industry
was as a cub reporter with G magazine at just sixteen years of age. Mushtaq then graduated to Star
& Style to become the youngest editor of an Indian film magazine.
The past few years have witnessed Mushtaq move away from the commentator’s box and don the colours
of the film world as a player on the field, turning from a scribe into a scriptwriter. His scripts
have been televised on national and private networks with serials and telefilms such as Kahin Toh
Hoga, K Street Pali Hill. Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeegat, Kehna Hain Kuch Mujhko, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki,
Kasautii Zindagi Ki recording some of the highest ratings in the country. With one film script
credited in his resume. He is currently at work on several other prestigious projects.
This internalization of the film world also led to his first non-fiction work done for close
friend Shah Rukh Khan-The Making Of Asoka. The book became the first to be written on the making
of an Indian film and went on to become a trend setting bestseller. The book was released by the
then President of India, the Honorable K. R. Narayanan.
As a worker bee, in this honeycombed
industry, first as a scribe and then as a colleague, Mushtaq Shiekh has built close friendships
within the film community and has come to regard several colleagues as an extended family. One
such valued member is Shah Rukh Khan. The close proximity with Shah Rukh’s world and as a fellow
traveler for a good part of both their lives, led to destiny choosing him to be the one who would
chronicle the story of Shah Rukh Khan’s journey.
The author lives in Bandra, Mumbai, India with his mom, dad, two sisters, brother-in—law and cute
nephew, Zidane. His immediate family is his Life Coach, Bageera—the all black beautiful Labrador.
His other close relatives are his pet goat "Blimby" (pronounced as Limmy), the shimmering gold
fish "lquara" and the parrot "Envy". The latest addition to this circle is the turtle which
refuses to move lovingly named "Inertia".
A film commentator and a recognized opinion maker for the film fraternity, Shiekhspear sips his
coffee at the local Barista to enjoy Bollywood and everything it stands for. Piping Hot!!!
I was 16, I had just finished my ICSC examination, and Anand Mahendru wanted a fat man for a TV
serial called Indradhanush. My mother thought I should audition and, to make her happy, I agreed.
Before my audition started, I saw a very serious-looking man sitting opposite me in the same room.
I-le had scruffy hair, had a newspaper open and was looking all over the place. I went inside, met
the director and did my thing. Then this man spoke to Anand and left. I remember Anand telling me
that he had come to decline a role offered to him.
My first thought was how could that actor, who I actually thought was so scruffy, turn down a
role? And just then another TV actor, slightly fresher-looking with a well-cut face, walked in to
meet Anand. Seeing this actor, I said, "Now this is what I call an actor." That man with scruffy
hair who had left the room was Shah Rukh Khan and the man who’d walked in later is in oblivion
today. So obviously I don’t have a knack for spotting talent, and Shah Rukh Khan. Even when I saw
Deewana, I did not spot the so—called ‘spark’.
Then I met him in 1993 on the sets of Karan Arjun with my father. My father wanted to sign him for
Duplicate. In one hour, he left a big impression on me. Full of energy, full of life and with such
a tremendous sense of humour. But what I loved most about him was that when he met my father, who
was not the most successful producer at that time, he gave him all the respect he deserved. I used
to be very sensitive about how people dealt with my father. And I felt he handled my father in the
most sensitive and emotional way. It raised his bar in my head by a zillion times.
Shah Rukh could have actually been two things — the biggest star in the country or a spiritual
leader. There’s no third thing he can be. I-le’s evolved. He’s reached some kind of nirvana in his
head already because of his thoughts and reading. Shah Rukh reads more than I think any librarian
ever has. I think he reads a book every day. His thoughts are spiritual. If he wasn’t
an actor, l can imagine millions of people sitting and listening to his thoughts on life, humanity
and everything. Shah Rukh Khan is my free Art of Living course, which l get every day.
I think he makes you realise the power of goodness, which can’t be taught in any university. No
degree can give you that. no amount of work experience can impart that. His power is his power of
goodness. And everything else emanates from that.
I’ve had the good opportunity to know him, hear him, to be with him. Any kind of archived format
that can do the same would be wonderful because then more people can share the magic of Shah Rukh
Khan. Still Reading Khan is one such book that had me spellbound. And that’s why l think a book on
your coffee table or in your shelf about a man who has so much to offer as an individual, as a
family man, as a brilliant actor is a great idea. Shah Rukh has so much to offer in terms of his
thoughts, his feelings and his emotions. If you can take a slice of him even in this book, l feel
you would be that much more blessed.
Mushtaq has shared a friendship with Shah Rukh over the years and known the Khans from very close
quarters. He has felt him in his own space and understood the smallest of nuances, which only
people close to him would be aware of. He has been on his coffee table — and who better to write a
coffee table book on him than Mushtaq Shiekh himself.
Shah Rukh Khan is not a superstar because of his looks, or because he is the best actor we have or
even because of the energy he has of a treadmill. Shah Rukh is a superstar because of his great
connectivity. He becomes a member of your family. People don’t go to see a Shah Rukh Khan film to
watch a star perform; they go to see a family member succeed. He has the knack of making you feel
that he lives with you, that he is just an arm’s length away. And he connects in the same way with
a million people all over the world.
I don’t think he even knows how that happened. I don’t think he really worked towards it, because
you can never work towards something like this. His stardom has to do with the fact that he
becomes a part of you. There is a difference between awe and love. And he evokes love, not awe.
That’s what makes him the mega-star that he is.
I met the man almost eleven years ago when I was a cub reporter from "G" magazine. l don’t really
know when a mere acquaintance turned into friendship and when friendship turned into a special
bond. But he has always been there for me and that’s what really matters. Dates have no value with
this man because Shah Rukh comes with no expiry date. Anyone who has encountered this phenomenon
called Shah Rukh will vouch for that. This book is my journey with the man. Call it a travelogue,
call it arresting happiness in pages call it an attempt to catch times passed. Call it anything
you wish. I am still trying to give it a name.
He’s watch able, because he’s fantastic. He’s endearing, because he delivers. Every time people
meet Shah Rukh, they say, "Kitna dubla ho gaya hai." That’s because his aura on screen is almost
magical. He’s such a big movie man; he’s a big screen guy. You can’t take that away from him. All
five- foot, nine-inches of him with scruffy hair is the biggest, widest
Mount Everest you’ll ever see on screen. Looking at him on screen, and off screen, you realise how
he just absorbs every bit of space celluloid has to offer.
When writing about a man like this, you start to wonder who the real Shah Rukh Khan is? Is he the
one who spends two hours in the loo because he likes his own space? Is he the one who likes toys
more than his own son, or the one who says I’II be back in five minutes and returns five days
later? Or is he the man who, when guests come to his house, spends more time dropping them to the
door than greeting them in? Does the real Shah Rukh expose his soul when he plays with his dogs,
his kids or talks to his wife? Or will you find him in the actor who’d rather his film flops as
long as he does not lose in his game of Pictionary? Does the real Shah Rukh want to own so much
space because he felt the lack of it all through his childhood, or is his inherent need not to
make a home for his family but a castle, because family is all he actually has?
I found so many Shah Rukh’s and lost so many in this process of reading him. An everlasting
dichotomy, this man never stopped to amaze me in my travel with him. By far, he is both the most
selfless and selfish man I have ever met in my life.
Whatever your claim on this man, one thing is for sure: In the pages that you are going to turn,
you are in good company.
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