Shah Rukh Khan was at his candid best as he broke down myths associated with a movie star’s persona during a session with Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt.
The hour-long chat last evening covered various aspects of cinema and while Pitt was a bit reticent in his replies, Shah Rukh was his usual witty self.
The Hollywood star, 53, who was in India to promote his Netflix satire “War Machine”, seemed more comfortable discussing his future as a producer that, he said, has become seems more appealing to him.
Pitt has produced the David Michod-directed war drama via his company Plan B. The film releases on the video-streaming service this Friday.
While the conversation, moderated by Rajeev Masand, mostly focused on the various aspects of films, Shah Rukh, 51, had interesting anecdotes to share.
When asked how he avoided becoming a self-obsessed movie star, the actor said it was not all that bad to be a bit self-absorbed.
“I think certain amount of self-absorption is necessary for any creative person to be. You are not a machine that you will be following what people think should be doing. You have to have free thinking. A little bit of self-absorption… it is required to be individualistic but beyond that no,” Shah Rukh said.
Filmmaking is a collaborative process and there is a sharing of ideas, which would not be possible if one was self-obsessed, he said.
Shah Rukh admitted that he has encountered some self- obsessed people in his long career but they were few in numbers.
“It’s a cliche that movie stars are self-obsessed… I think an actor is the person who loves himself the least, but yes as a star you need to love yourself. Brad and I, we love ourselves because we are stars and good actors.”
The actor used the platform to express his concern about the future of Bollywood, saying the industry needed to reinvent itself.
“If we don’t adapt ourselves in terms of marketing, visual effects, scriptwriting and professionalism, we will be overtaken. If we do not learn from Hollywood, there is a real fear of being overtaken.
“The language barrier is no longer there. Spider Man does as well as a Hindi film, so we need to adapt. If we don’t do that, we’ll have an issue over the next 20 years.”
Shah Rukh, who has been a part of some of the biggest potboilers in Hindi cinema, said there was a need to focus on home-grown stories.
“We have such wonderful stories to tell but we aren’t telling them well enough. We treat our stories like fads.
Singing and dancing has to be a part of Bollywood movies, if only to keep Brad away from our movies. But we should learn from Hollywood.”
The actor said while one has to be a part of system when it comes to movie-making, digital platforms like Netflix were opening up doors for talented young artistes.