There is a saying in the Indian filmdom, that is, there are three Khan-s in the current Indian actors: Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amir Khan. It demonstrates that the three actors are positioned prominently in the field. The 9th Beijing International Film Festival invited Shahrukh Khan to attend the China-India Film Co-Production Dialogue and other important events. Now more and more Indian films become very popular in China, and both countries are having closer communication and cooperation in terms of film. Shahrukh Khan also expressed his opinions on Chinese and Indian films and their communication and cooperation.
Acknowledgement to Fans
How do you feel about your attendance of the 9th Beijing International Film Festival?
I’m gonna attend the Red Carpet for the Closing Ceremony, the Closing Ceremony and the Press Conference. It’s a great honor for me to have the opportunity to come to the Festival. I’ve seen many Chinese people. They are so sweet, and warm. Every time when you come to a country that you are not that familiar with, you can always feel its charm through its people.
Have you expected so many Chinese film fans?
No. Actually I tried to be low-key. But when I was at the airport waiting for baggage checking, I heard someone screaming. I thought something had happened. I never expected that it was because of me. God has been very kind to me. I got many Indian film fans and some overseas fans. But in China, it’s really beyond my expectation. I would like to say “thank you” to all of my fans.
You attended the China-India Film Co-Production Dialogue, but do you want to participate in the co-production?
I am a filmmaker, and I create not just for one thing. But in Beijing, at such an event, and in China, seeing all sorts of ordinary people, I can see both China and India as neighbors have the best film fans group in the world. We have both told a century-old movie story. When the two get together, they will definitely ignite the light of creation, attract more audiences and create more exciting works. Besides, China and India are similar in terms of culture, especially in film culture. We have been talking about co-production, and this time we have declared several co-production projects. This is absolutely a good thing for filmmakers. I am not involved in it yet. I come here this time mainly as a spectator or a supporter.
In recent years, more and more Indian films have been introduced to China, so Chinese audience gets the chance to see them on the big screen. Have you expected such a rapid momentum of growth?
Honestly, no. Someone mentioned it many years ago, but it didn’t work. Now in China various Indian films are available. It’s really good news. The Chinese film market has been in a diversified situation, so audiences get many choices to make. This is not only a commercial success. Audiences will also benefit from that. Previously, the film My Name Is Khan was released in China. I played the leading role in it. Some people who like me might have watched it. But at that time Indian films only occupied a small market share in China. As with the release of Dangal and other Indian films, Chinese audiences became more familiar with and fond of Indian films. It would be brilliant if such situation could continue. But indeed, I never expect it to happen so rapidly.
You played a role in many classic films, but have you ever considered screening some of them at the Beijing International Film Festival that were not released in China before?
I have no plan for it now. But if someone can help with it, that would be awesome. If it can work, I hope some other classic Indian films can also be screened, not just mine. I was very honored to take part in some very important Indian films. Those films, in the eyes of many audiences, defined Indian films in the 1990s and around 2000. And Indian audiences liked them very much. In my opinion, the aesthetic feeling of a story comes from its freshness, sometimes. Now many Indian filmmakers come to China for seeking opportunities of cooperation. I think it would very important that some new film works can get feedback from China. When I was a kid, I liked Jackie Chan’s films, and I almost saw all of them. Playing them back now, I can see some scenes in them are outdated; I still like them, though. The main current Chinese and Indian audiences are young, and not a few filmmakers are young. They have more epidemic ideas. But it’s a good way of cultural exchange that some old films appear at film festivals or art lines in a retrospective manner.
Discussion about the Status Quo
Streaming media platforms such as Netflix are popular now in India. What do you think of the phenomenon?
I think, for example, you go into a bookstore, and you should be able to see all of its books whether you buy them or not. Streaming media platforms act to ensure that there are enough books in the store, in different languages and from different countries, for you to choose. For an audience, it is good to have options available. In addition, some stories are inappropriate to be made into films on the big screen. So I think sometimes we should not force young people to wait for an opportunity to shoot their films for the big screen. Streaming media platforms definitely provide a chance for them to make their dream come true. Also the platforms have better timeliness as you can watch a film any time as you wish. Of course, for me, watching a film on a small screen is not that pleasant.
At present, what kind of projects can attract your attention?
I am a workaholic. I work 16 hours a day and 7 days a week. So for me, the role I am gonna play is very important. And the people who work with me are also very important. Sometimes even the story is inferior to them. The role is the strongest driver of my creation, only if it excites me and makes me feel like playing it. Even I have to get up early every morning.
Are there any films you like very much among those you saw recently?
Action films, comedies or their combination are my favorite. I like John Wick: Chapter 2, Vice starring Christian Bale and Widows directed by Steve McQueen very much. Operation Red Sea is fantastic and impresses me deeply. I have always been a fan of Stephen Chow, and I like his new film The New King of Comedy.