Actor Shah Rukh Khan felt the audiences’ unconditional love this year, as millions showed up to watch his back-to-back blockbuster films Pathaan and Jawan. Shah Rukh had once spoken about how important films are to him, as they keep him from losing his mind. In an old interview, Shah Rukh had said that ‘making films is the only way I know to get over sadness’. And the sadness that he was referring to was the death of his parents.
Shah Rukh was only a teenager when his father passed away at the age of 52. And then, some years later, his mother died as well, also at the age of 52. Shah Rukh spoke fondly about his parents in the 2004 BBC documentary The Inner World of Shah Rukh Khan, and said that losing them left his sister psychologically wrecked. “My sister lives with me. She is five years elder to me. She was a very brilliant student, a very educated girl. Strangely, a trained psychologist. Unfortunately, she’s not very well. She got very disturbed with my parents’ death,” Shah Rukh said.
Looking back affectionately at the years he got to spend with his parents, he said, “My father was a very sweet, soft-spoken man. He was the youngest freedom fighter for India, actually. My mother was the opposite; she was outgoing, a very, very attractive personality. We were very good friends. We’d watch movies together. I would press her feet at night. She’d get lot of pains. VCR was a new thing, so we’d get all the Hindi movies and watch on our colour television. She said I was like Dilip Kumar.”
He continued, “My father died of cancer. At the time they said throat, but we found out it was the fourth stage. And my mother died of multiple reasons. It started with diabetes. They were both absolutely all right. One morning my dad came in and said, ‘Yaara, doctor keh raha hai mujhe cancer hai‘. You’ve heard about the disease, but you don’t know what it is till it happens to someone close to you. Even in our wildest dreams we didn’t think this cancer is life-taking. We live on hope. And three months later, he was gone.”
Shah Rukh said that his wife, Gauri, often complains that he works too much. But people don’t realise how important acting is for him. “Making films is much more than getting an award, or more money, or being in the limelight,” he said. “To me, making films is the only way I know to get over sadness. I was very, very attached to my parents. I do miss them, especially now, when I’m successful, because I’d like them to see parts of it. The only way I can stop myself from going into depression, like my sister has, is to get up in the morning, wear makeup, and be someone else.”
Appearing on David Letterman’s Netflix talk show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Shah Rukh said that the biggest reason he spends so much time with his children is that he understands what it feels to not having parents around. “So that’s one thing I decided. That I am going to make sure that I live very long, and I make sure that I keep on living with my kids and never let them feel they don’t have a parent. So any given moment I spend with them, I study with them, I sleep with them, I chat with them, I sort out all their problems, and I hate it when they have boyfriend-girlfriend problems,” he said.