A minute with Shah Rukh Khan

Superstar talks about pushing boundaries

MUMBAI -- One of India's most popular superstars, Shah Rukh Khan, is known for guarding his personal life fiercely from the media glare.

But for a change he has allowed a bit of the spotlight into his home, appearing in an ad campaign for a furnishing brand with wife Gauri, their first endorsement together.

Khan, 44, spoke about doing an ad with his wife and pushing the boundaries as a producer in Bollywood.

Q: You have said you don't mix your professional and personal life. So were there apprehensions about doing an ad film with your wife, Gauri?

A: I am apprehensive. When you get into the public field you do open yourself to a lot of positives and negatives. For someone who is not planning to get into the field, maybe it is not the right thing to do.

Gauri doesn't want to do this full-time. She's done it as a one-off, and she's happy with it. So, yes, I am apprehensive.

If my kid decides to be an actor, I will be very clear that you are walking into something that has positives as well as negatives, so you have to open yourself to that, you have to be tough.

Q: Your next home production "Ra One" is India's first sci-fi superhero film. Do you aim to push boundaries with every film?

A: When I am producing a film, we like to take a few chances; we can afford to, because our films have a big market and a big price.

I have always been of the belief that if you get a great price for your product, it's not just for the product, but the brand that you have created, so you should utilize it.

The way "My Name is Khan" was a step ahead in terms of storytelling, breaking the mould from what Karan and I had done, and saying something that people say in a much smaller film, and still we got a lot of acclaim.

We told ourselves, why should we be scared, just because we are taking a different subject, or what if it goes wrong. Mashallah, it did not go wrong. Similarly, with "Ra One," with the technology that was involved in it, is something that is yet untried. And not tried, because you don't get the money for it in the Indian market. I could, so I said I should.

I may lose some money on it, but that's ok. But if I am able to turn the tables around and say that India has a technological step-up with this film -- maybe 2%, I am not saying I want to change the world I think I will return some of what this industry has given to me over the years.

Q: Do you think 3D, the technology that you are talking about is the way forward for Bollywood?

A: See, in film-making, whatever the knowns are, if you can control them and expand them, that's fantastic. Because storytelling is an unknown. That will never be controllable. So you can make a great film technically or you may make a very bad film technically, but the story has to be good.

I believe as a producer you should be willing to push the envelope as far as the knowns are concerned whether it is better camera work, better lensing, better production values, or better technology. You can innovate through these things, so that something is different. You have to say, I am going to take this story and pack it this way. Like I saw this film the other day, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and it's so wonderfully crafted.

Q: As a businessman, what is the one golden rule you live by?

A: The simple thing is, your cost should not exceed what you can afford to get from the market. You should not sacrifice quality for profit.
If need be, if you can afford it, handle a bit of loss, but quality will speak. I can't say content, because like I said, that is unknown, but quality will set you apart, whether it is in life, in business or play. The quality you give to your life or your product will always make you special.
Stardom comes because of this. See the greatest of brands and you will know this about them. I try to stick by that.
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