Last Updated on August 29, 2020
Shah Rukh Khan also known by the initialism SRK, is an Indian actor, film producer, and television personality. Referred to in the media as the “Baadshah of Bollywood” (in reference to his 1999 film Baadshah), “King of Bollywood” and “King Khan”, he has appeared in more than 80 Bollywood films, and earned numerous accolades, including 14 Filmfare Awards. The Government of India has awarded him the Padma Shri, and the Government of France has awarded him the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Legion of Honour. Khan has a significant following in Asia and the Indian diaspora worldwide. In terms of audience size and income, he has been described as one of the most successful film stars in the world.
Khan began his career with appearances in several television series in the late 1980s. He made his Bollywood debut in 1992 with Deewana. Early in his career, Khan was recognised for portraying villainous roles in the films Baazigar (1993), Darr (1993), and Anjaam (1994). He then rose to prominence after starring in a series of romantic films, including Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Mohabbatein (2000) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001). Khan went on to earn critical acclaim for his portrayal of an alcoholic in Devdas (2002), a NASA scientist in Swades (2004), a hockey coach in Chak De! India (2007) and a man with Asperger syndrome in My Name Is Khan (2010). His highest-grossing films include the comedies Chennai Express (2013), Happy New Year (2014), Dilwale (2015), and the crime film Raees (2017). Many of his films display themes of Indian national identity and connections with diaspora communities, or gender, racial, social and religious differences and grievances.
As of 2015, Khan is co-chairman of the motion picture production company Red Chillies Entertainment and its subsidiaries, and is the co-owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders and the Caribbean Premier League team Trinbago Knight Riders. He is a frequent television presenter and stage show performer. The media often label him as “Brand SRK” because of his many endorsement and entrepreneurship ventures. Khan’s philanthropic endeavours have provided health care and disaster relief, and he was honoured with UNESCO’s Pyramide con Marni award in 2011 for his support of children’s education and the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 2018 for his leadership in championing women’s and children’s rights in India. He regularly features in listings of the most influential people in Indian culture, and in 2008, Newsweek named him one of their fifty most powerful people in the world.
Early life and family
Khan was born on 2 November 1965 into a Muslim family in New Delhi. He spent the first five years of his life in Mangalore, where his maternal grandfather, Ifthikar Ahmed, served as the chief engineer of the port in the 1960s. Khan’s paternal grandfather, Meer Jan Muhammad Khan, was an ethnic Pashtun (Pathan) from Afghanistan. Khan’s father, Meer Taj Mohammed Khan, was an Indian independence activist from Peshawar who campaigned alongside the Khudai Khidmatgar, a Pashtun nonviolent resistance movement led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan (also known as Bacha Khan or the “Frontier Gandhi”) that advocated for the creation of a united and independent India. Meer was a follower of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and affiliated with the Indian National Congress. As of 2010, Khan’s paternal family was still living in the Shah Wali Qataal area of Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar. They speak Hindko and claim to be originally from Kashmir. Meer moved to New Delhi in 1948 after the partition of India. Khan’s mother, Lateef Fatima, was the daughter of a senior government engineer. His parents were married in 1959. Khan described himself on Twitter as “half Hyderabadi (mother), half Pathan (father), [and] some Kashmiri (paternal grandmother)”.
Khan grew up in the Rajendra Nagar neighbourhood of Delhi. His father had several business ventures including a restaurant, and the family lived a middle-class life in rented apartments. Khan attended St. Columba’s School in central Delhi where he excelled in his studies and in sports such as hockey and football, and received the school’s highest award, the Sword of Honour. Initially Khan aspired to pursue a career in sports, however owing to a shoulder injury in his early years meant that he could no longer play. Instead, in his youth, he acted in stage plays and received praise for his imitations of Bollywood actors, of which his favourites were Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, and Mumtaz.One of his childhood friends and acting partners was Amrita Singh, who became a Bollywood actress. Khan enrolled at Hansraj College (1985–88) to earn his bachelor’s degree in economics, but spent much of his time at Delhi’s Theatre Action Group (TAG), where he studied acting under the mentorship of theatre director Barry John. After Hansraj, he began studying for a master’s degree in mass communication at Jamia Millia Islamia, but left to pursue his acting career. He also attended the National School of Drama in Delhi during his early career in Bollywood. His father died of cancer in 1981, and his mother died in 1991 from complications of diabetes. After the death of their parents, his older sister, Shahnaz Lalarukh, born in 1960, fell into a depressed state and Khan took on the responsibility of caring for her. Shahnaz continues to live with her brother and his family in their Mumbai mansion.
Although Khan was given the birth name Shahrukh Khan, he prefers his name to be written as Shah Rukh Khan, and is commonly referred to by the acronym SRK. He married Gauri Chibber, a Punjabi Hindu, in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony on 25 October 1991, after a six-year courtship. They have a son Aryan (born 1997) and a daughter Suhana (born 2000). In 2013, they became parents of a third child, a son named AbRam, who was born through a surrogate mother. Both his elder children have expressed interest in entering the entertainment industry; Khan has stated that Aryan, who is studying film at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in California, aspires to become a writer-director, while Suhana, who served as assistant director for Khan’s film Zero (2018), is studying drama and acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for higher education. Suhana made her acting debut in November 2019, in a short film titled “The Grey Part of Blue.” According to Khan, while he strongly believes in Islam, he also values his wife’s religion. His children follow both religions; at his home the Qur’an is situated next to the Hindu deities.
2015–present: Career fluctuations
Khan next appeared alongside Kajol, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon in Rohit Shetty’s action comedy Dilwale (2015). The film garnered mixed reviews, though it was financially profitable with a gross of ₹3.7 billion (US$52 million). Namrata Joshi of The Hindu commented, “With Dilwale, Rohit Shetty goes hopelessly wrong despite much that he had at his disposal, including a power-packed cast and producer”. Joshi also felt that the attempt to repackage Khan and Kajol had backfired. He then took on dual parts of a superstar and his doppelgänger fan in Maneesh Sharma’s action thriller Fan (2016). Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian considered the film to be “exhausting, bizarre yet watchable” and thought that Khan was aptly “creepy” as the obsessive admirer. The film underperformed at the box office, and trade journalists attributed this failure to the film’s non-conformity to mainstream formula. Later that year, Khan portrayed the supporting part of a therapist to an aspiring cinematographer (played by Alia Bhatt) in Gauri Shinde’s coming-of-age film Dear Zindagi.
In Rahul Dholakia’s action crime film Raees (2017), Khan took on the part of the titular anti-hero—a bootlegger turned mobster in 1980s Gujarat. In a typical mixed review, Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph thought Khan’s performance to be “inconsistent, intense and power-packed at times, but often slipping out of character into his usual mix of stock mannerisms”. Commercially, the film was a modest success, earning about ₹3.08 billion (US$43 million) worldwide. Khan returned to the romantic genre with the role of a tourist guide who falls in love with a traveller (played by Anushka Sharma) in Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017). Writing for Mint, Uday Bhatia criticised Khan’s pairing with Sharma, 22 years his junior, writing that Khan had performed “similar gestures of love decades ago to actors his own age”. The film proved to be a box office flop. Khan next reunited with Sharma and Katrina Kaif in Aanand L Rai’s romantic drama Zero (2018), in which he played Bauua Singh, a dwarf involved in a love triangle. The film received mixed reviews with praise directed to Khan’s performance. Writing for Hindustan Times, Raja Sen commended his “dominating performance and tremendous energy” and Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost called him an “excellent fit” for the role for allowing his “naturally energetic personality, comic timing and charm to take flight”. Commercially, it failed to do well. According to a Box Office India report, Khan’s stardom was impacted by his films failing to do well.
Film production and television hosting
Khan at the 61st Filmfare Awards, which he hosted
Khan co-produced three films from 1999 to 2003 as a founding member of the partnership Dreamz Unlimited. After the partnership was dissolved, he and Gauri restructured the company as Red Chillies Entertainment, which includes divisions dealing with film and television production, visual effects, and advertising. As of 2015, the company has produced or co-produced at least nine films.Either Khan or Gauri are usually given production credits, and he has appeared in most of the films, either in the lead role, or in a guest appearance. Khan was involved in several aspects of the making of Ra.One (2011). Aside from acting, he produced the film, volunteered to write the console game script, dubbed for it, oversaw its technical development, and wrote the digital comics based on the film’s characters. Khan has occasionally done playback singing for his films. In Josh (2000) he sang the popular song “Apun Bola Tu Meri Laila”. He also sang in Don (2006) and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). For Always Kabhi Kabhi (2011), which was produced by Red Chillies, Khan participated in the lyrical composition.
In addition to his early television serial appearances, Khan has hosted numerous televised awards shows, including the Filmfare, Zee Cine, and Screen Awards. In 2007, he replaced Amitabh Bachchan for one season as the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and a year later, Khan began hosting Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain?, the Indian version of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. In 2011, he returned to television, appearing on Imagine TV’s Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout, the Indian version of Wipeout; scenes featuring Khan were shot at the Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai. Contrary to his earlier television anchoring jobs, Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout performed poorly. It aired for only one season and became the lowest rated show hosted by a Bollywood star. In 2017, Khan began hosting TED Talks India Nayi Soch, a talk show produced by TED Conferences, LLC which started aired on STAR Plus.
Khan is a frequent stage performer and has participated in several world tours and concerts. In 1997, he performed in Asha Bhosle’s Moments in Time concert in Malaysia, and returned the following year to perform with Karisma Kapoor for the Shahrukh–Karisma: Live in Malaysia concert. The same year, he participated in The Awesome Foursome world tour across the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States along with Juhi Chawla, Akshay Kumar and Kajol, and resumed the tour in Malaysia the following year. In 2002, Khan featured with Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Preity Zinta, and Aishwarya Rai in the show From India With Love at Manchester’s Old Trafford and London’s Hyde Park; the event was attended by more than 100,000 people. Khan performed alongside Rani Mukherji, Arjun Rampal and Ishaa Koppikar in a 2010 concert at the Army Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The next year he joined Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in the Friendship Concert, celebrating 150 years of India–South Africa friendship in Durban, South Africa.
Khan started an association with the “Temptations” series of concert tours by singing, dancing, and performing skits alongside Arjun Rampal, Priyanka Chopra, and other Bollywood stars in Temptations 2004, a stage show that toured 22 venues across the world. The show played to 15,000 spectators at Dubai’s Festival City Arena. In 2008, Khan set up Temptation Reloaded, a series of concerts that toured several countries, including the Netherlands. Another tour was held with Bipasha Basu and others in 2012 in Jakarta, and in 2013 another series of concerts visited Auckland, Perth and Sydney. In 2014, Khan performed in SLAM! The Tour in the US, Canada, and London, and also hosted the Indian premiere of the live talent show, Got Talent World Stage Live.
Ownership of IPL cricket team
In 2008, Khan, in partnership with Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, acquired ownership rights for the franchise representing Kolkata in the Twenty20 cricket tournament Indian Premier League (IPL) for US$75.09 million, and named the team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). As of 2009, KKR was one of the richest teams in the IPL, with a brand value of US$42.1 million. The team performed poorly on the field during the first three years. Their performance improved over time, and they became the champions for the first time in 2012 and repeated the feat in 2014. The Knight Riders hold the record for the longest winning streak by any Indian team in T20s (14).
Khan performed alongside Sunidhi Chauhan and Shriya Saran at the opening ceremony of the IPL 2011 season, where they danced to Tamil songs. He appeared again in 2013 alongside Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Pitbull. In May 2012, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) banned him from the Wankhede Stadium for five years for getting into an argument with the security staff after a match between KKR and the Mumbai Indians. Khan had, however, stated that he acted only after children, including his daughter, were being “manhandled” by the security staff and that the officials were extremely high-handed and aggressive in their behaviour, he had been abused with communal indecent comment. Later MCA officials had accused him of being drunk in one version of the story, hitting the guard and of completely uncharacteristically abusing a female supporter of Mumbai Indians after the match in another version of the story, which Khan had maintained it was done to support their action and for cheap publicity. Wankhede guard later contradicted MCA officials’ claim and said Shah Rukh Khan had not hit him. Khan later apologized to his fans after his team won the final match. MCA revoked the ban in 2015and in 2016, Mumbai Police informed that no ‘cognisable offence’ was made out against Khan and they had come to the conclusion that Shah Rukh Khan was not drunk and did not use abusive language before minors at the Wankhede Stadium in 2012.
In the media
Main article: Shah Rukh Khan in the mediaKhan at a Tag Heuer press conference, promoting the Carrera Monaco GP watch in 2012
Shah Rukh Khan receives a considerable amount of media coverage in India, and is often referred to as “King Khan”, “The Baadshah of Bollywood”, or “The King of Bollywood”. Anupama Chopra cites him as an “ever present celebrity”, with two or three films a year, constantly running television ads, print ads, and gigantic billboards lining the streets of Indian cities. He is the object of a sometimes fanatical following, with a fan base estimated to exceed one billion. Newsweek named Khan as one of their fifty most powerful people globally in 2008 and called him “the world’s biggest movie star”.In 2011 he was declared “the biggest movie star you’ve never heard of…perhaps the world’s biggest movie star, period” by Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times and has been called the world’s biggest movie star in other international media outlets. According to a popularity survey, 3.2 billion people around the world know Shah Rukh Khan, more than who know Tom Cruise. Khan is one of the wealthiest celebrities in India, topping the Forbes India’s “Celebrity 100 list” in 2012, 2013 and 2015. His wealth has been estimated at US$400–600 million. Khan owns several properties in India and abroad, including a GB£20 million apartment in London, and a villa on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
Khan frequently appears on listings of the most popular, stylish and influential people in India. He has regularly featured among the top ten on The Times of India‘s list of the 50 most desirable men in India, and in a 2007 poll by the magazine Eastern Eye he was named the sexiest man in Asia. Khan is often referred to as “Brand SRK” by media organisations because of his many brand endorsement and entrepreneurship ventures. He is one of the highest paid Bollywood endorsers and one of the most visible celebrities in television advertising, with up to a six per cent share of the television advertisement market. Khan has endorsed brands including Pepsi, Nokia, Hyundai, Dish TV, D’decor, LUX and TAG Heuer.] Books have been published about him and his popularity has been documented in several non-fiction films, including the two-part documentary The Inner and Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan (2005), and the Discovery Travel & Living channel’s ten-part miniseries Living with a Superstar—Shah Rukh Khan (2010). In 2007, Khan became the third Indian actor to have his wax statue installed at London’s Madame Tussauds museum, after Aishwarya Rai and Amitabh Bachchan. Additional versions of the statue were installed at Madame Tussauds’ museums in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, New York and Washington.
Khan has been brand ambassador of various governmental campaigns, including Pulse Polio and the National AIDS Control Organisation. He is a member of the board of directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in India, and in 2011 he was appointed by UNOPS as the first global ambassador of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. He has recorded a series of public service announcements championing good health and proper nutrition, and joined India’s Health Ministry and UNICEF in a nationwide child immunisation campaign. In 2011, he received UNESCO’s Pyramide con Marni award for his charitable commitment to provide education for children, becoming the first Indian to win the accolade. In 2014, Khan became the ambassador for Interpol’s campaign “Turn Back Crime” In 2015, Khan received a privileged degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2018, Khan was honoured by the World Economic Forum with their annual Crystal Award for his leadership in championing children’s and women’s rights in India.
In April 2020, Khan announced a series of initiatives to help the government of India and the state governments of Maharashtra, West Bengal and Delhi mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic as well as relief measures for thousands of underprivileged people and daily wage labourers affected by the lockdown.
Awards and recognitions
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Shah Rukh Khan
Khan is one of the most decorated Bollywood actors. He has received 14 Filmfare Awards from 30 nominations and special awards, including eight for Best Actor; he is tied for the most in the category with Dilip Kumar. Khan has won the Filmfare Best Actor award for Baazigar (1993), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Devdas (2002), Swades (2004), Chak De! India (2007) and My Name Is Khan (2010). At times, he has garnered as many as three of the five total Filmfare Best Actor nominations.
Although he has never won a National Film Award, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2005. The Government of France has awarded him both the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2007), and the fifth degree of the French Legion of Honour, the Chevalier Légion d’honneur (2014). Khan has received five honorary doctorates; the first from The University of Bedfordshire in 2009, the second from The University of Edinburgh in 2015, the third from Maulana Azad National Urdu University in 2016, and his latest from The University of Law and La Trobe University in 2019.