Shah Rukh Khan is an Indian actor, film producer, and television personality. Referred to in the media as the “Badshah of Bollywood”, “King of Bollywood” and “King Khan”, he has appeared in more than 80 Bollywood films, and earned numerous accolades, including 14 Filmfare Awards.
Below is the full text of his speech titled “Life Lessons” that he delivered at the University of Edinburgh.
Dr. Shah Rukh Khan – Bollywood Actor
Thank you. Thank you very much everyone. It’s a great pleasure today here. Thank you.
All right. How this works is that I have to give you a lecture. So I prepared… it’s very thick but it’s because the font is big. I will go on and on until you guys get bored, you can stop me up and ask questions or – OK.
First of all, it’s an honor for me to receive this doctorate today. So thank you everyone who’s involved with this.
And “Humbled” is a word often used by people in my profession. You meet actors and they’ll give, “I am very humbled, I am very humbled”. We also know.
I dislike the hypocritical, obsequious connotation of it in these contexts so I’m not going to use it, but I will say that such occasions have a way of putting me right in my place – which is right there, so thank you everyone for putting me in my place.
I do get invited to conferences and inaugurations now and then to speak. And when I receive the invite, I also receive my brief. It’s usually about “success” and my “tips” on it — not my toes — those are covered by “I will never show my toes” clause in my contracts. They are very ugly. And it’s my attempt at gender equality.
My co-actresses have no cleavage clause; I have no toes one.
Most people believe Bollywood stars aren’t insightful about anything other than the fateful occurrences which made them stars in the first place.
But I’ve had the odd divergence from being taken for stupid though. Recently I got an email from the International Association of Advertising. And they said, “Dear Mr. Khan, the advertising community would like you to come and address them on Globalization and disruptive marketing”.
And I spent the next 4 hours on Google trying to assimilate the “disruptiveness” of innovating a product to match its market. But it was one of those rare days when even Google can’t help you. A day when you need to leave Google and ask for deliverance from God.
But I have a film releasing soon, so I don’t want to take extra favors from God before the film releases. So I chose business over knowledge.
So I did the next best thing. I sat on my IO Hawk – have you guys seen that segue thing, yeah – so I went on my IO Hawk and told everybody, a gathering like yours, that there is nothing I can tell you that you already don’t know.
Now, people when they are told they are smart, they like it. You are such an august gathering of people and…blah blah. Instead let me entertain you because you all deserve a break, and before the organizers could interject I started thrusting my pelvic into their faces and broke out into the one and only intellectual thing I know how to do… The Lungi Dance.
So I got away with it without being “humbled” — it always pays to be a better dancer than the advertisers — and what’s more, they seemed to have a good time.
But that was a conference and this is a Doctorate from a prestigious University of Edinburgh. So I’m going to try to sound intelligent and insightful especially for you today.
One of the subjects on the list of five I was sent for my speech today was: “Life Lessons” so for whatever it’s worth: here goes. Let me start at the very, very beginning.
Whatever I have learned of life has been at the movies. Actually the first few films that I did in my career and titles, given to them, very nearly formulated whatever I know of life and that’s how I am going to pass it on to you.
One of the first movies of my career was a movie called Deewana. But do you remember the story of the film? I’ll remind you the story.
So I fall in love with a widow, who I meet literally by accident in which I very nearly kill her mother in law. Then I marry her. Not the mother in law but the widow.
The widow is not keen on the marriage because she still loves her late husband but she marries me anyway. My rich, mean father disapproves of this union and does what a mean rich father does…he tries to kill the widow. And I am naturally disgusted by his behavior and after a long two page stand off with him, in which I use heavy-sounding Urdu words, I leave the house for good.
Then for some reason apart from the fact that I ride my motorcycle without holding the handlebar, I have an accident. Seeing me so forlorn and sad in the hospital bed, my ex widow wife falls in love with me.
And there is something about sick man which always attracts women to them. I have noticed this. The sicker the better.
Then again by a chance of fate I rescue a stranger at night from a bunch of goons, and guess what? He turns out to be the original husband of my ex widow wife, who hadn’t died in spite of his inheritance hungry uncle’s best efforts.
Now evil uncle then decides to kidnap me and my ex widow, now not so ex present day wife to get hold of his nephew. I escape his clutches and I come back with my wife’s undead husband to rescue her.
By now she is of course strapped to a bomb and – do you think they’ll take my doctorate back? — after a liberal round of fist fighting kicking and screaming the evil uncle is blown to smithereens by the very same bomb that he had strapped on status confused lady of the film.
But not before the sacrificial ex-husband has done a kamikaze, unstrapping his ex-wife and set the bomb off killing himself in the bargain. All obstacles removed, our hero lives happily ever after with his beloved wife.
I’m not sure why the movie was called Deewana which in Hindi means madness of a particularly nice or romantic kind. But I have a feeling it had something to do with the guy who wrote the plot.
So, here’s my first life lesson, inspired by the movie title Deewana: Madness of the particularly nice or romantic kind is an absolute prerequisite to a happy and successful life.