It’s that time of the year when an ocean of fans has already made their way in flocks to Mannat. The home of the superstar – Shah Rukh Khan who has and continues to entertain generations apart. Over the years, he has entertained his fans with myriad films from diverse genres, but nothing tops the classic love stories. The ones that gave him the title of – King of romance. Slowly but steadily, his filmography always stands as a testament to how beautiful he made love look. Through stories, through music, or just through his dialogue delivery, Shah Rukh Khan’s films etched their names forever when it came to romance. Love has always had varied meanings for people, but Shah Rukh has gone on to be the hero onscreen that will make you fall in love with him irrevocably.
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (1995)
A Bollywood romance is celebrated for its extremities and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge qualifies in all its glory. Who wouldn’t love an epic romance unfolding in the gorgeous Swiss Alps? With Kajol perfectly capturing the essence of first love, the young girl in me truly believed in the magic of one true love, one that makes you hop and skip in joy. Nothing trumps Kajol and Shah Rukh running into each other’s arms through the mustard fields and finding solace in the embrace – love never looked filmier than in that moment and to top it, Bollywood’s favourite couple adding their touch to it. Shah Rukh’s efforts in making sure the girl’s family accepts him wholeheartedly stood out as the perfect example of all the limits one crosses when in love – for this King Khan made unreal look real because everything indeed was fair in love and war, and so love reigned in my magical world.
Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)
Trust Yash Chopra to make love stories look like beautiful paintings on the big screen, always! Goes without saying that the highlight of this musical was its epic songs. A gorgeous Madhuri Dixit portrays the character of a girl who believes in fairytales and prince charming. To date, that film evokes a sense of hope and faith in all those hopeless romantics out there who truly want their love story to be as epic as a film. The perfect balance of friendship and romance is so well depicted in the film, that one finds it hard to decide whether to support Nisha’s (Karisma Kapoor) unrequited love for Rahul or the love that was meant to be which is of Pooja’s (Madhuri Dixit) and Rahul. Madhuri dancing her heart out, Shah Rukh Khan letting his charm take over as he falls, confesses, and owns his love for that one woman – it all indeed gets picturized like poetry in motion, all veering towards a happy ending where Rahul finally gets the love of his life – Pooja. Aren’t that what love stories are all about – happy endings?
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
“Pyaar Dosti Hai” -officially is the most commonly used dialogue of Shah Rukh Khan when it comes to talking about all things love. Who can forget the earnestness with which he delivered that dialogue? Being a firm believer in how important friendship is for love to eventually take place, the crux of the film line was as endearing as it gets for me. In today’s world, the idea of love and beauty has evolved in many ways which makes me feel the film would not fit in today’s idea of romance as it did back then. The popular college girl, the girl who is everyone’s best friend, and the guy to whom every girl is attracted – it all seems perfect and ideal because haven’t we seen this tale unfold in our idea of cheesy romance? Probably why it resonated with the young crowd back then so well. The songs made one feel all the highs and lows of being in love, as did Shah Rukh proposing to the girl he loves in the filmiest way. Love blooming made sense as did the aching heartbreak of one-sided love. Today most of us have traversed many such instances. Would it be wrong to call this film – just the guilty pleasure we need?
Devdas is what I call poetry in motion. For someone who takes a great interest in literature, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s epic romance – Devdas was a dream come true on the big screen. The grandeur and old-school romance spelled magic on screen and it instantly took me to a world of love where it is all unfiltered and so heartfelt. Shah Rukh as a wealthy law graduate, in his sharp-suited and booted look is as charming as ever, every gaze of his hits you with the intensity with which he leaves traces of the deep love he feels for that one girl. The songs beautifully narrate the chemistry and add to the magic it creates around it. As a hardcore fan, one would almost feel the pain with which Shah Rukh’s characters unravel onscreen. This is not the college romance that makes the gullible personality within us fall for its pomp and show. This is love that has been nurtured and brewed for a long time. What has stood the test of time and makes me go back to the film is the balance of love, loss, and pain that take place in distinct stages of the film, letting every emotion of being in love be beautifully depicted.
Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)
The younger version of me loved the basics that a love story like Kal Ho Naa Ho came with. Good-looking cast, foot-tapping songs, and the perfect jokes that a rom-com should have and that was the deal. What a slightly mature version of me couldn’t comprehend was the pain with which Shah-Rukh’s character – Aman, so selflessly and adamantly makes the love of his life choose someone else. For some it is courageous, for some it was unnecessary – but then probably the lesson it taught was how loving someone unconditionally is also about sacrifices. You cannot control who you fall in love with, but you do have a say in the share of happiness you can impart. Shah Rukh Khan as Aman in Kal Ho Naa Ho not only stood as a testament to true friendship as seen between Aman and Rohit (Saif Ali Khan) but it also was the paragon of loving without logic and reasoning and still letting your love go for uncontrollable circumstances – to me, it doesn’t get any purer than that.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)
Shayaris, a rugged look for SRK and a love triangle nevertheless – but that same gaze of SRK even after all these years makes you weak on your knees. The character arc of Shah Rukh Khan in this film still interests me – how love changes you, how loss changes you. From a happy-go-lucky guy, the gradual evolution of how he is heartbroken and forced to let go of the woman he loves in the face of adversity is what true love is about. A love triangle seems to somehow be a constant in all the epic romances of the actor that we so dearly love and go back to from time to time. What however seems more constant to us is his ability to transfix your gaze and want to hear yet another love story, but with the same passion.
Shah Rukh Khan has always been the paragon of epic love stories. So much so that there have been references made in everyday lives where his iconic dialogues seamlessly fit. On his birthday today, here’s a roundup of my favourite SRK films from the romantic genre that will always make me love the actor in me, all the more.