Mumbai, Jan 30 (PTI) Superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Monday said the overwhelming love coming his way for "Pathaan" has made him forget the last four years when he was away from the big screen.
The Bollywood superstar, who had not given any interviews prior to the film's release on January 25, sat down with co-stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham and director Siddharth Anand to finally discuss his absence from leading man roles and the magic and making of "Pathaan".
"I thank Aditya (Chopra, producer) and Siddharth... they gave me this opportunity. This is an expensive and time consuming film and to give me a film at a time when I was not working and allow me to be a part of the film, I'm very grateful to them. I have forgotten the last four years in these last four days," Shah Rukh said in a chat organised by Yash Raj Films here.
Barring cameos in R Madhavan’s “Rocketry: The Nambi Effect” (Hindi version) and Ayan Mukerji-directed blockbuster “Brahmastra Part One: Shiva", the actor's last full-fledged role before "Pathaan" was "Zero" in 2018.
The spy action thriller has broken many box office records and has raised Rs 542 crore gross worldwide since its release on January 25.
"On behalf of Deepika, John, Siddharth and Aditya, I want to say big thank you for all the love you have given to 'Pathaan'," the superstar said here at the event to mark the record-breaking performance of the film.
Shah Rukh said cinema always acts as a unifying factor in the country.
"To be honest when we make films, be it in north, south, east, west, our aim is to spread happiness, brotherhood, love, kindness... Even when I'm playing a bad guy in 'Darr' or John is bad in this film... We are just playing characters. None of this is meant to hurt any sentiment. It is just entertainment.
"This is Deepika, she is Amar, I'm Shah Rukh Khan I'm Akbar and John he is Anthony... We are 'Amar Akbar Anthony'. And this is what makes cinema... There are no differences any one of us have with any culture. We are hungry for audiences love. All these crores are not important... The love we receive...nothing is bigger than that," the actor said.
The 57-year-old star called his fans his safe place and spoke about how greeting them from his balcony gives him strength. Shah Rukh said his fans love him wether his film work or not.
"My elders told me if you are sad, go to the people who love you... We will all have things that go wrong in life. Life is like that, it is meant to be like that. There will be good days and there will be bad days and we all have our bad days...
"I am very lucky that I have millions and billion of people who love me. When I am sad, I go to my balcony, when I am happy I go to my balcony. God has blessed me so much that he has given me a permanent balcony ticket," Shah Rukh said. Ahead of the film's release, the team behind the film, including SRK, Deepika, John and Siddharth, stayed away from the usual promotional activities, but Shah Rukh said there was no specific reason.
"There is no specific reason behind us not meeting the media. The film was shot during COVID. Then we finished the film. And couldn't meet the media because of some reasons. But somewhere, the media, social media and everyone has shown so much love to the film," he said.
The actor thanked media for supporting the film despite the fact that "there could be things that could have curtailed the release of the film." "All of us are extremely thankful to the fans and to the media for all the love and for supporting the film so much in spite of the fact that there could be things that could have curtailed the release of the film," he added.
The film had landed in controversy before its release for the saffron bikini that Deepika's character wears in the song "Besharam Rang".
Calling the success of the film "a big moment" for him and his family and friends, the actor hoped that whenever there is a "Pathaan 2", it will be bigger and better.
"It is a big moment for me and my family and friends as itne saalo ke baad khushi dekhi hai (We have seen happiness after so many years)...
"I am happy with the opportunity given to me by Aditya Chopra and Siddharth Anand. And whenever they make Pathaan 2, it will be bigger and better," he said.
Shah Rukh said being away from movies gave him a chance to spend time with his children Aryan, Suhana and AbRam.
He also spoke about how Abraham's presence in the film forced him to make "body shody". The actor joked that they had "six dimples" between the three of them.
Abraham, who plays the negative role in the movie, credited producer Aditya Chopra for always presents him differently.
"First in 'Dhoom', then 'New York' and now this film. The way they have mounted the film... hats off to the producer. I would think I am the action hero but I think today SRK is the action hero. This is going to be my biggest film. Thank you to all the fans," he said.
Describing the experience of working with SRK and Deepika, Abraham said, "Shah Rukh is not an actor but an emotion. Have worked with Deepika before, and to see her growth feels good." Deepika said she was overwhelmed with the love they were getting for the film.
"It felt amazing. The love that we are getting. To experience this love after what the world has been through. That a film like this can bring in so much celebration, it feels incredible. This feels like a festival. To keep the head down and keep going and then to see all the love, it's worth it." Anand spoke about the challenge of directing Shah Rukh Khan and the "climate" before the film's release.
"Directing SRK is a responsibility. He is actually like clay. He will do whatever you want as a director... It was stressful also because of the climate we had prior to the release of the film." "Pathaan" is the fourth movie in producer Aditya Chopra's ambitious spy universe, following Salman Khan's "Ek Tha Tiger" (2012) and "Tiger Zinda Hai" (2017), and "War", featuring Hrithik Roshan (2019). PTI KKP SHD BK BK BK