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Interview: Shahrukh Khan on becoming the first Bollywood actor to have an official opus

'Want my children to know everything about me'

Shah Rukh Khan has become the first Bollywood actor to have an official opus. While he is awaiting his Christmas release DON 2, our correspondent catches up with SRK after the launch of King Khan-The Official Opus of Shah Rukh Khan, a 37-kg, 800-page diary, in Mumbai

How does it feel to join the league of Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Jackson, Manchester United FC, Formula One and Ferrari and have an opus (King Khan-The Official Opus of Shah Rukh Khan) dedicated exclusively to you?
I am extremely humbled by this honour and personally very excited also, because I like books. Books have been written on me and my work over the last few years… very interesting ones. But to be a part of this pictorial journey is something else.

Have you gone through other opus?
I have seen the Michael Jackson book very wonderfully done. I have gone through The Opus of Michael Jackson, on Prince, on Manchester United, on Ferrari…and they are such a treat to read, watch and a great experience.

You are the first Bollywood actor to have his exclusive opus. That makes you truly the Badsaah of Hindi film industry?
As I said, I am very thrilled about the book on me, which will hopefully talk about cinema, the existing state of cinema in our country (India), and the international opinion it holds. And I just happen to be one of the central figures the whole book is pegging around. So I take it in that spirit.

As we all know there have been a number of books chronicling your journey in films. Why should people churn out so much money for opus?
Like I said, this book is a very impressive one. Opus books are collector's items…they are also very expensive…to be really honest. But it is something that if you are dedicated to books, it becomes a piece of beauty to keep in your house. Apart from that, over the last two years, opus is also going digital. It takes out smaller versions which are cheaper.

So you think opus will help you connect to you fans better?
Definitely. And not just that. When I write, the biggest wish is that my kids (Aryan, Suhana) and my family get to know everything they want to about me. That's why the opus is very personal. This book is not meant to be consumed by consumers or with all respect, just you (media). I want it for the consumption of my children; so that when they read it, they say 'Okay, we like our father' in spite of this, because of this, despite of this…and perhaps also, exactly for this. Or they discover something they didn't know about me and say 'Oh, he used to be like this' or 'He is like this because he has gone through this in his life'. There is a lot of things I have gone in my life which I have never openly talked about even to my family and my closest of relations-my wife (Gauri) and children.

Do you really write?
Yes…I do…I do write sometimes. They (children) find it very boring. But it's important for me to write it and leave it behind for them to read it.

So you are not eyeing the commercial side of the book?
Commercially, this is not a regular book that you want lots of copies out. The beauty of this opus is that there are only 999 books with exclusive control over the photographs and the content. So when you collect it, it's not just about the money they make (opus publishers). To be honest, I don't even know if opus makes a lot of money on these books. Even if they do, it's a very high-end method of making it commercial. It's not that they will take out another 500 copies if it sells. It's a different scheme of commerce.

Your opus will also be circulated in prominent libraries in India?
I was being told one thing they are planning to do with this book is that they are planning to send copies to all prominent libraries around the country and request them to keep the book. Here I would like to clarify again that this book is not a self-centred proposal of sending me across to these big pictures. The idea is to sum it out so that they like the Indian film industry and the journey it has taken…may be in the last 20 years with me being a central figure somewhere…rightly or wrongly. It's a great pride for us to get such an international recognition and I have requested them that the first one should be sent to my school library where I have learnt everything.

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