Shah Rukh Khan to appear on CNN's Talk Asia

He’s known as King Khan of Bollywood and is one of India’s hottest actors and producers. This week Padmashri Shah Rukh Khan joins CNN’s Talk Asia for an in-depth interview in Mumbai with host Anjali Rao. The global superstar explains why the time has come for developing nations like India to assert themselves internationally, discusses the furore surrounding the premier of his film ‘My Name is Khan’ and talks about his hopes for his Kolkata Knight Riders team in this season’s Indian Premier League.

Khan recalls his detention at Newark airport and the subsequent uproar sparked among Indian communities around the world: “We have reached a stage in India and I think rightly so, when a developing nation is on the threshold on coming out and – Inshallah – taking over the whole world – in terms of economics, in terms of politics, in terms of business, I think certainly we have a voice. We’ve been pushed, all developing nations, I’m not just saying India and suddenly we have a voice in the world which matters and sometimes that voice is a little louder than it should be. So anytime anything goes wrong with Indians anywhere in the world, you notice all Indians get up.”

When asked about his reflections on Pakistani players in the IPL, comments which also proved controversial, he tells CNN: “I didn’t think it would go this extent. Strange things were said and I said the bottom line in my country is that, there is a certain amount of freedom of speech which we also restrain unto. We are not completely outspoken, we don’t do strange things – at least I don’t and most of the people I know don’t. So there’s freedom of speech. This was my point of view.”

The main Hindu Nationalist party took Khan’s comments as a provocation, campaigning against him and threatening to disrupt the premier of his movie. “I just think it became bigger than the personal relationship that we share with them, it went onto a different platform. It just went onto a political agenda platform, onto an activist platform, onto just an issue based platform. I’m not on the same playing field. I’m an actor, I’m not a politician. So my logic was, as long as we are not on the same field, I can’t play this game with you.”

Now in its third season, Khan talks about his team’s focus on this year’s IPL. He says: “I think what we tried to do, is to get the Indian part of the team stronger. I think the senior guys like Ishant and Ganguly, they just need to get into the groove. I think the main thing the coach has brought in this time is the fact that we are training the young guys just to enjoy themselves. 20-20 needs to be enjoyed. You can’t just have the test match pressure on your head or the one-day pressure on your head. You need to go and enjoy yourself and have a good time.”

The actor shares his views on the Academy Award-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire, its success and the role of quiz show host which he turned down: “I really wanted that film to be made. I’d read the Indian novel, I’d bought it. I wanted to make it myself but an Indian film. When I read the script, I knew they’d made a much better film than I could ever.”

He also tells Anjali Rao how Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), one of India’s biggest ever blockbusters, cemented his career, saying: “DDLJ has managed to turn me overnight from being one of the most macho stars to being a romantic sweet loveable kind of guy. And I’ve never been able to overcome that. It has been the biggest hit of my career in a certain sense and I owe everything to it. But I also owe the fact that I still haven’t become a stud. That’s what I wanted to be – a big guy with muscles and fight and beat up people.”

As to his own career path and how he can get even bigger: “The reason I like being a star is because I think that stars get noticed. Stars are big. Everyone follows them. And I want to get so big that one day my parents from heaven can see my films. “Oh we can see his films are bigger than 3D Avatar” so they can at least know I did this. Because I think heaven is a little far away.”

Airtimes: Indian Standard Time Wednesday, March 24 at 1800 hrs IST Thursday, March 25 at 0900 hrs IST Saturday, March 27 at 1630 hrs IST Sunday, March 28 at 1400 hrs IST

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