My mother was born and brought up in Hyderabad. She was a strong and beautiful woman. She resemble Waheeda Rehman. My father also was extremely handsome. I don’t think I’m good-looking but they were a very good-looking couple.
The met incidentally under strange circumstances. Injured in a car accident, my mother needed blood. My father who happened to be at the hospital at that time gave her blood. In this process of helping my mother to revive, they fell in love. And though my father was about eleven years older than my mother, her family consented because he had sort of saved the family.
In bringing up my sister Shehnaz and me, my parents never made any difference, though I think my sister was closed to my parents because she is six years older to me.
I was born at a time when my parents weren’t doing well financially. But I don’t remember facing any hardship on that account. My father was a chief engineer. My mother was a social worker, a first class magistrate. She had studied in Oxford. She was among the first few Muslim women to have achieved so much. She has been an executive magistrate for the longest tenure recorded. She used to deal with juvenile delinquents. I was not a stubborn kid.
But if I wanted something badly enough I would go out and get it. I was exposed to the Ram Leela, I acted in it as one of the monkey. I wrote short stories.. shairis..
My father made me recite them. I remember once there was this aunt who wore horrendously pink lipstick and I composed a corny poem in praise of her lipstick. I think she was secretly pleased.
My parents let me do my own thing, they only wanted me to do well in my studies…which I did. There were no restrictions. I could sleep at any time, go out anytime. If I bashed up some child’s teeth, my father saw to it that I dealt with the child’s father myself… I realized that parents weren’t authority but they were friends. I would imitate Mumtaz, I would mimic people. I’m doing all this even today. And guess what? I’m being paid handsomely for it.
An outgoing kind of person, mom took a lot of initiative in everything. I remember when my father was ill, he had cancer for eight months, We lost everything we had. One injection used to cost about Rs 5000 and we had to organise about 23 injections in ten days. It was an expensive affair and our business went down. At that time my mother would work day and night. She would get the money some way. She really looked after my father. After his death in ’81 she revived his business and ran it proficiently. I inherited workaholism from her. She never said no to anything. Like when I went to college, I said I wanted a car. And the next day, there was a car outside. She never forced me to do anything.
She never even forced me to take over the big business that we had finally when she died. When I told her I wanted to act, join films she did not stop me. I wanted to do my masters in film making. I was very good. I had got admission in NSD. I didn’t want to do it but she told me, “just get admission”. So I gave my admission test and got in. I remember I used to be very bad in Hindi. I would get zero on ten. And she used to tell me, “If you get ten on ten, I’ll take you for a film”. And from that day to date I have topped in Hindi at all times I remember the first film she took me to see was DevAnand’s Joshilaa. Her favourite actors were Bishwajeet and Joy Mukherji. I think Iinherited my sense of humour from my father, who too had a lot of respect for women. I remember once I had gone and blown somebody’s letterbox. And this south indian lady came down and complained to my father, “Your son troubles my daughter”. He looked at her and said, “If she is as pretty as you are and if I was as young as my son, I’d probably do the same thing”. She started laughing. He said it so gently and nicely. He was very respectful to women because he had an older sister and a mother whom he was very close to.
He taught me how to be gentle with women. When my father died, I didn’t cry. I thought it was heroic. I was one of the pall-bearers, I thought I had become a little big man. But I felt cheated despite the fact that he had prepared me for his death… And my mother’s death made me realize that nothing is permanent. I stopped hoping for anything. I cried a lot. Nothing shocks me anymore.
It was the most painful moment of my life, when my mother died in my arms.
She had become alright and suddenly she died. Just like Dad. Her blood had become septic. It was very painful. The first time I prayed to God was when she lay dying. I never prayed, that’s the kind of family we were. A Muslim family that never forced you to pray. And it was the first time, I really prayed, but she died all the same.
I imbibed my basic values from her, learned a number of things from my mother. Like never cut down on your expenditure, increase your income. That’s why I’m a spendthrift. Never acquire or want anything that has a bad feeling in it. In Urdu it is called manhoosiyat. Like if you ask someone for money and he says, “nahin yaar kal de dunga,” just forget it. That’s the reason why I still have not touched my mother’s money. Because I know she would not want it that way. I only took a television set she had given me last when I came to Bombay.
My property, my business, my cars, everything is still in Delhi. I haven’t taken anything because if she’s not there to give it to me, I don’t want it. And she’ll be happy if I don’t take them and instead get the all on my own. She also taught me not to hurt anyone. Like I said she would slap people if she got angry with them, but she would love them at the same time. Neither she nor my father have ever hit me.
They were very gentle people. My mother behaved like a true friend, when I told her I wanted to marry Gauri. Is she Muslim or Chinese? Nothing was asked. My mother taught me how to act, some really sweet expressions. But what’s most important, she has given me my present philosophy of life. She has taught me that nothing is permanent, including herself. So, enjoy what you have this moment, for it can be taken away from you the next. Everything is transient. That is why I don’t give a damn to anything. It’s a very macho way of putting it. But the whole rationale is that if she could be taken away from me, then everything else can be taken away also. If I can leave with her absence then I can live with the absence of stardom, money or anything. And that is the closest you can come to being contended, you die. People say the only cure for life is death. May be at that moment, that one second, when all thoughts of worry leave your mind, you die. I kept giving my mother a lot of worry, so she couldn’t die. I kept pleading, “please don’t go”.
I still believe she’s there and she looks over me. Otherwise I would not have had all that I have. She is my STD to God because there is nothing in this world that I want and I don’t get. I don’t ask for anything for myself because she wouldn’t like it. But whenever I have to pray for someone who is poor, unwell or sad, I just tell my mother and I’m sure she does something because most of the time something good works out. Whenever I’m very happy I cry, because I can’t share my happiness with her.
My sister Shehnaz is very naïve and sweet. She is also very spoilt and pampered. I love her a lot. I’ve grown in her shadow, as she was the older child in the house. I’d look up to her. She is very quite now, after my parents demise. She stays with me. She is an educated girl. She has done a management course; she used to work as an officer for the Indira Gandhi memorial. She has also done her MBA in psychology. She was extremely affected by our father’s death. I was younger, so I think I got over Dad’s death sooner. By the time she accepted our Dad’s absence, our mother died. She went through a bad phase. She is my only connection to my parents. I see my father and mother in her.
I keep telling Shehnaz, “you are just like mummy”. Even she has her fits of anger. My mother still remains with me and my mother always taught me to work, she said, “it will help to tide you over anything”. I retained that. As for my sister, before she could pick up this invaluable lesson, our mother expired. So she got very clammed. She was an outgoing girl before, now she has become very quite and silent. I still look up to her.
My one regret is that my mother never really saw my work as an actor. She wasn’t there when I won my first award. No, but she must have seen it. I miss her a lot. I think she is a star. Whenever I feel too sad, I just go to the terrace and cry. And I know she is watching me from somewhere. Because I wouldn’t be what I am, had it not been for her blessings.
Gauri’s parents were dead against the marriage. Her mother had threatened to commit suicide. Her father called me over and said it wouldn’t work out. For six years, we carried on our relationship clandestinely. Once I even went to her birthday party incognito. I used the name I was falled in Fauji -Abhimanyu. Her parents innocently remarked that I looked like a distant relative of Mr.Dilip Kumar. But when they got to know my identity later, all hell broke loose.
The’re a typical Punjabi family. I was told that one of her uncle are very aggro. He kept a sword hidden in his underclothes. But when I got to know him he turned out to be a lamb. I managed to patao all her relatives one by one. I would take Gauri’s cousins to the disco. Gradually everyone liked me and all her mamas and mamis kept assuring me that her parents would come around.
Things weren’t working out, Gauri was locked up at home, she would keep on telling me, “Shah Rukh, you don’t know my parents.. you take things so lightly” and I would tell her that things would be all right. I’d tell her that 10 years down the line, we’d be laughing about all the trying times. And that’s just what we do today. Sometimes in the nights, we sit and think about all that had happened and have a good laught. But at one point, the pressure did get toGauri. She felt that I was stifling her with my possessiveness..
At one point of time, I was extremely possessive about Gauri. I would fight with her if she wore a swimsuit to the pool or even if she left her hair loose. She looked very pretty when she opened her hair and I didn’t want other boys to look at her. It was basically insecurity because we couldn’t talk about our relationship. We didn’t meet so often. But I was extremely insanely possessive.
Eventually she could not take it. She needed a break. So in 89, she just came down to Mumbai with her friend without telling me. When I got to know I was frantic. The day before she left, she came to meet me. It was her birthday and I had decorated my room with balloons and bought her a lot of presents. When she came to meet me she cried and I thought maybe she was over wrought because of all the tension. I confided in my friends Ashish and Benny. I told my mother about it.. she told me to go and bring back the girl I loved. She gave meRs.10,000 and we all came to Mumbai. We spent the first two days at a friend’s house. The rest of the time we slept on the footpath near Oberoi. I still remember we used to wash up in the Taj, the bathroom behind 1900’s was being done up at that time and we used to sneakin early mornings for a wash.
We spent most of the time walking around looking for her everywhere especially the beaches.
Gauri loves beaches. But I didn’t know much about Bombay then. On our last day, here a met s Sardar taxiwala who spoke to us about Aksa beach. We took a chance and went there. By then we had run out of money. I had sold off my camera too. The cab dropped us to Aksa and we were left with 20 odd rupees. Then someone told us of a beach called Gorai. So we took a ferry across, searched a lot but couldn’t find her. And then when we were coming back by rickshaw to reach the ferry on time, around 12, I heard some people shouting. The rickshaw driver told us it was a private beach (I was describing her to people, telling them about her hair, saying she’s a friend and I’ve lost her. I used to love her hairstyle. But she cut it just to spite me).
I told the rickshaw driver to take me to this beach. So we went and there she was.Standing in the water, wearing a T-shirt. By then it didn’t matter even if she wasn’t wearing anything. She came over and we hugged, and cried. It was then that I realised I was being unreasonably possessive. I also realised that no one could ever love Gauri the way I loved her and that gave me tremendous confidence.
Our wedding took place in the strangest circumstances. We had already rung up Gauri’s parents from her aunt’s place and told them that we were married. Pandemonium broke loose, her mother stopped eating and the whole atmosphere at their place was like a house in mourning. I entered to meet her father. I felt guilty
. I think when I spoke to them they realised that they had no other go but to take this risk. I really identify with this feeling when I do a film like DilwaleDulhaniya Le Jaayenge.
I can understand Gauri’s parents apprehension. After all they were a Punjabi joint family. About 15 people and Gauri was the youngest, the most sheltered one. Imagine she anounces that she wants to get married to this ruffled looking guy belonging to the wrong religion having a wrong attitude and working in the wrong profession. There wasn’t a right thing going for me. I don’t blame them. They may have thought that any day they would have got a better deal for Gauri. Let’s put it this way. If my daughter brought in somebody like me, I would hit the ceiling.
Her parents had seen me on television and were quite fond of me. But they thought my name was Abhimanyu and then they got to know that I am Shah Rukh Khan. Then her brother would keep on threatening me in his best Amrish Puri voice “Keep away from my sister of else…” Finally when I saw him I was in for a shock. He was this fair kid with blue eyes not even remotely intimidating. In fact when my friend Ashok saw him he said “There must be more to him yaar, he sounds real deadly on the phone.”
We never wanted to go against the wishes of our parents. The thought of eloping never crossed our minds. But we knew that we’d get married for sure. When I met Gauri’s parents I just couldn’t get myself to say that I loved their daughter. That I thought was a stupid thing to say… because I could never love their daughter as much as they loved her. They had given birth to and brought up Gauri… my love could never be a substitute for their love.
I had a Hindu style wedding as well as a court marriage. Court marriage is a must if it’s an inter-religion marriage. You are supposed to do in on the sly and then wait for a month or so but it was out within three days that I am getting married to a girl called Gauri. There was a problem because some Muslim organizations thought that I shouldn’t get married to a Hindu so there were morchas outside my house. This was very ironic because my mom was a social worker and special executive magistrate so she used to organise about 25 intercaste marriages at our house. We wanted it to be a short and sweet wedding but Gauri’s parents wanted it in a typical Hindu fashion. And then I relented because I thought what the hell you get married only once in a lifetime. At least I thought I will.
Normally the dulha comes on the ghoda and he isn’t supposed to see his bride till the pheras are over. But the car that was supposed to pick her up after her make-up was done, conked out.Then panick struck because the mahurat was at a fixed time so I picked her up, dropped her, went back and returned on a horse. And then halfway through, I changed over from the horse to an elephant. Climbing the elephant was a major problem, my friends pushed me up.
When my mother was alive, she used to call me anti-social, I used to never attend any functions or weddings. My mother used to always warn me that nobody would come for my wedding. I decided to have all the fun I could at my own wedding so I danced for the one kilometer stretch to the venue. At the wedding I stood on my toes and wouldn’t let Gauri put the haar round my neck. All my friends know I have a sense of humor so they kept warning me repeatedly “Shah Rukh don’t poke any fun there because you won’t mean anything but people will misunderstand.” As this was my only chance to see a wedding from such close proximity, whatever the pandit said I’d ask him to explain. And the whole ritual went on for hours. So my friend who’d warned me earlier kept telling me not to get this serious. Then there was some ritual that required Gauri to wash my feet and I didn’t want her to do it. When it was time for the bidaai Gauri sat in the car and started crying. Soon her mother started crying, her father and brother followed. So then in all seriousness I said if you are all feeling so bad then you can keep her I’ll come and see her regularly.
Since we are from different religions and me being the way I am (when they look at me nobody can ever think that I can be responsible about life) I could imagine how insecure her parents were feeling.
For the first time after knowing each other for seven years we spent the night together. Before this we’d always be worried when eve rwe went out even if it was for a stroll, as to what if somebody sees us. It was quite an exciting feeling that we were sleeping together and that when I wake up in the morning, she will be there.
Can you believe the next evening I took a flight back Bombay and the day after that I shot for Dil Aashna Hai. Actually I had gone on the sets because the unit wanted to congratulate me but they asked me to shoot one shot and before I knew it, one shot became five and I was late in coming back home and we had a big fight.
Very few guests came from the film industry – Rajiv Mehra, Vivek Vaswani, Aziz Mirza and G.P. Sippy. Juhi and her mom had aparty for us when we came to Bombay. All Gauri’s friends came for the marriage. Mine was a house-in-mourning, so there wasn’t any festivity.
I wore my Raju Ban Gaya Gentlema nsuits. At the sangeet and all I was the life of the party because the atmosphere was sogloomy I really decided to make things look a little more cheerful. In fact Gauri’s mom is a good dancer and the life of any party but she wasn’t dancing at her own daughter’s sangeet. By the end of the wedding everyone grew very fond of me.
In the gifts there were none of the things that I wanted. No computer games. People are so stupid, they should give me what I want. Instead, they gave a lot of crystal.
Gauri’s father had arranged an army band that played the songs from my forthcoming releases, mainly Deewana and Raju BanGaya Gentleman.
It was the first time I wore suits and th efirst sign of Gauri’s mother thawing was when she told me that we never thought you were so nice looking. I wore a tuxedo for my reception and I gelled my hair.
My logic was that the person who should enjoy the most at my wedding should be me…….
I respect Gauri, because she is a woman and she is going to be a mother soon. If it’s a boy, I want him to be a badmash. He should do all the bad things by the time he is 16, so that he can sober down after that. If I have a daughter, I’ll give her all the love that’s stored within me. Though my wife thinks I’m mad, I know I’ll drop my daughter to the parties she’s invited to. I’ll want her friends to say, “Wow what a handsome father you have!” When she’s with her boyfriend in the backseat of our car, I’ll be at the wheel, driving her around. My parents were my yaars. Similarly, I’ll be my baby’s best buddy. I love Gaurima because she is so honest and she complements me. Gauri teaches me how to be diplomatic. She keeps telling me that I say too many things and that I should not. Because people don’t know me well enough and then they completely misconstuc what I’ve said. So, it’s better to keep shut. She had taught me to switch the lights off before going to bed, To have dinner at the proper place, to put my clothes in the proper place, she has taught me how to dress up well too. She has turned me from an animal to a man. She spoils me a lot. She is the stabilisng factor in my life. I would go haywire because I a man extremist. And its not my achievements, for which she respects or likes me. She likes me because I make her laugh. And boy, do I make her laugh?