How did Fan happen?
The credit goes to Aditya Chopra. I shot for Fan while shooting for Happy New Year. I did this because I wanted to see how the VFX looks. Initially, we were not too happy with the output but Aditya Chopra, VFX guys and the make-up artist tried more and got it perfect. Fan has happened because the producer had faith.
Tell us something about your character…
The story of Fan is about a look alike. It’s not about a duplicate. It’s about a guy who looks like a film star Aaryan Khanna. When we are young we think we look like someone… I thought I resembled Kumar Gaurav when I was a teenager. When Love Story was released, people used to look at me in my red checked shirt and call me Kumar Gaurav. So when I came to Mumbai for the first time I wanted to meet Kumar Gaurav.
Is your character a psychotic fan?
Darr, Baazigar and Anjaam were anti-heroes, but this character is not psychotic. He is not running behind a girl. It’s a story of an innocent boy who does not know how he will react when he meets the biggest star of the country. I will be different in this film.
How long did the make-up take?
Initially it took six hours and once I got a hang of it, then it took three hours.
What are the qualities a fan should possess?
I don’t think of people as fans, I think of them as admirers and people who love you. In love you can become Devdas, Rahul and Raj. Sometimes a fan’s love gets out of hand, but getting out of hand is also love.
Were you obsessed with a star like Gaurav when you were young?
I’ve never been a fan of any actor as such because I had to start fending for myself very early in life. I think being in love and being a fan is a very beautiful feeling. I never had the time to be anyone’s fan because my parents died at a very young age. I say this without any sort of arrogance that I became a star before I could be anyone’s fan. I have not been a fan but I have admired the work of many people like Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Milkha Singh, Mohammad Ali, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev to name a few.
Was it easy to play yourself on the big screen?
For me, the biggest takeaway from Fan was learning how to stop being Shah Rukh Khan in terms of both the roles. It is very difficult to play a superstar on screen. Trust me; it was more difficult for me to play a superstar than a fan. I had to unlearn being Shah Rukh Khan and the credit for that goes to Maneesh.
Are you worried about the commercial prospects of Fan?
I can’t please everyone all the time. As a creative person, I would love to be a part of an out and out entertainer like Dilwale or a completely understated film like Asoka. Many people will step forward and give me their opinions on the films I should and should not do. But as an actor, I have to go ahead with my instinct. I don’t think the struggle is to make a big blockbuster which earns crores at the box-office, but to make a film which will please everyone with one little story. I think Fan is quite special and we hope that it transcends the boundary of commerce and niche.