Bollywood’s King Khan just turned 53 this week and celebrated his birthday on the 2nd of November with wishes from fans all around the world.

Shahrukh Khan at his 50th birthday, 3 years ago

Shahrukh Khan was born on 2 November 1965 in a Muslim family in New Delhi. He spent the first five years of his life in Mangalore and moved to New Delhi in 1948 after the partition of the Sub Continent. In a tweet for his fans, the Bollywood mega star described himself as “half Hyderabadi (mother), half Pathan (father), [and] some Kashmiri (grandmother)”.

Khan grew up in the Rajendra Nagar neighbourhood of Delhi where his father had several business ventures including a restaurant, and the family lived a middle-class life. Attending St. Columba’s School in central Delhi, he excelled in his studies and in sports such as hockey and football, and received the school’s highest award, the Sword of Honour. Initially Khan aspired to pursue a career in sports, however owing to a shoulder injury in his early years meant that he could no longer play (lucky us, otherwise we might never have gotten DDLJ). Following his injury, he took up acting and participated in stage plays and received praise for his imitations of Bollywood actors, of which his favourites were Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Mumtaz. Khan enrolled at Hansraj College (1985–88) to earn his bachelor’s degree in Economics, but spent much of his time at Delhi’s Theatre Action Group (TAG) learning acting and theater.

SRK in his youth

But then in a short span of time, Shahrukh Khan lost both his parents and had to support his older sister who fell into depression due to this grave loss. This marked the beginning of an era of struggle in Khan’s life.

Khan got his first role in Lekh Tandon’s television series Dil Dariya, which began shooting in 1988, but production delays led to the 1989 series Fauji becoming his television debut instead. In the series, which depicted a realistic look at the training of army cadets, he played the leading role of Abhimanyu Rai. This led to further appearances in Aziz Mirza’s television series Circus (1989–90) and Mani Kaul’s miniseries Idiot (1991). Khan also played minor parts in the serials Umeed (1989) and Wagle Ki Duniya (1988–90), and in the English-language television film In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones(1989). His appearances in these serials led critics to compare his look and acting style with those of the film actor Dilip Kumar, but Khan was not interested in film acting at the time, thinking that he was not good enough.

Khan changed his decision to act in films in April 1991, citing it as a way to escape the grief of his mother’s death. He moved from Delhi to Mumbai to pursue a full-time career in Bollywood, and was quickly signed to four films. His first offer was for Hema Malini’s directorial debut Dil Aashna Hai, and by June, he had started his first shoot. His film debut was in Deewana, which was released in June 1992. In it he starred alongside Divya Bharti as the second male lead behind Rishi Kapoor. Deewana became a box office hit and launched Khan’s Bollywood career; he earned the Filmfare Best Male Debut Award for his performance. Also released in 1992 were Khan’s first films as the male lead, Chamatkar, Dil Aashna Hai, and the comedy Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, which was his first of many collaborations with the actress Juhi Chawla. His initial film roles saw him play characters who displayed energy and enthusiasm.

After this came the anti hero era where Khan played roles such as the ones in Bazigar and Darr and by this time Shahrukh Khan had already become a critically acclaimed actor. Khan is one of the rare exceptions who made it big in Bollywood without any Godfather or connection. In an industry filled with nepotism, the King made his way through talent.

SRK in his critically acclaimed film Baazigar

We at Propergaanda wish Shahrukh Khan a very belated Happy Birthday and look forward to his upcoming film Zero.


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