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Jun 20, 2017

Shah Rukh Khan's most candid interview on being a dad to Aryan, Suhana, and AbRam

Shah Rukh Khan can talk endlessly about anything under the sun, but the one thing closest to his heart are his three children — teenagers Aryan and Suhana and tot AbRam. SRK admittedly enjoys the company of children more than the company of adults. He shares a deep but different relationship with each one of his children.

Here, the cool dad talks about his bonding with his kids and how Aryan and Suhana aren’t as ‘people-friendly’ as little AbRam.

Would you call yourself an over-protective father?
No, I am not protective at all. I may talk or behave like that. You feel like protecting them, but you can’t lead their lives for them, right?

Who do the kids go to with their problems — you or their mom Gauri?
I’m not very inquisitive or gossip about people’s lives, including my children’s. If they want something, they will just give me a call. Sometimes, they talk about their personal lives, but I know they limit what they tell me. It’s about aankh ki sharam. I don’t pry too deeply. I see the mom (Gauri) and the kids talking, and she asks some really pointed questions, and I’m like, ‘How can you ask them this?’ They may answer or say, ‘I don’t want to tell you’. I don’t ask anyone questions about their life — whether it’s my children or anyone else. I don’t like being pried on either. I can tell you a lot of generic things about myself, but my personal feelings are extremely private. So, I assume the same about others, my children even more because they would have the same structure of DNA that I have. But they do come and ask me things, sometimes about studies and sometimes some really strange things about life. Otherwise, I give them the same kind of advice like my character in Dear Zindagi. Suhana keeps telling me that sometimes I speak a lot so I am like, ‘Yeah, thank you.’

Do you give them relationship advice?
I give relationship advice to no one. I think you should not give such advice to anyone. Because every relationship is different, every f***-up is different, every happiness is different. You should just let everyone be. Yeah, sometimes, in a fun, gossipy way, you can talk about somebody else’s relationship, but I think, as weird, conservative or wild as a relationship may be, it’s perfectly all right. You should not judge it. I have heard of some really awkward ones and maybe you get a little surprised, but if it suits them, it’s fine.

You had said on Koffee with Karan that you would rip the lips of the guy who kisses Suhana. How would you react if Aryan kissed a girl?
I’d rip off Aryan’s lips. I can’t rip off a girl’s lips — that’s not a charming gentlemanly thing to do. (Laughs) So, I will rip off Aryan’s lips, on behalf of the girl’s father. (Smiles) You can’t touch or harm a girl.

Aryan will turn 20 this year. How is your equation with him now? Do you talk about girls to him?
I’m a really cool father. When I am with Aryan sometimes, we just lay down in our shorts without our shirts and we crack some dirty jokes. He gets really excited telling me about gaalis he’s learnt. I’m from Delhi and I’ve also been that age and my vocabulary of Hindi gaalis is fantastic (smiles). So when he tells me one, I tell him that I’ll teach him another version of it. So that’s cool. We talk a little about filmmaking because he’s learning that. But he would like to recede from that because he wants to learn it on his own. We watch films and while watching them, we talk about certain aspects of filmmaking. We talk about getting into trouble, picking up fights, how to beat up the other guy or answer back when a guy messes with you. He talks about his ambitions, and where he would like to be one day. But he’s very clear that way. He just wants to be bigger than me and that’s cool. Then, we make fun of family members — he does this, she does this. We also go shopping, buy some boy T-shirts... He’s more colourful than I am, which is nice. He’s not grey, blue and black like me.

And what about Suhana? Is she interested in acting?
Suhana wants to be an actress. I see that zeal in her. She’s extremely good on stage, I’ve seen her performances. She’s admittedly a cinema fan and wants to be in the industry. But my point is simple — you need to complete your education before doing anything. That’s the only thing I have told my children. Otherwise, they are free to be in the film industry, not be in it and do whatever they like. I will be supportive of whatever they want to do. While Aryan has now grown up and is more macho, he’s building his body and all, Suhana is more loving. I think she’s the softest person in the house. And AbRam is my little monster.

Yes, with AbRam, one sees a different SRK. You are more playful, child-like around him...
Since you asked me previously about being a protective father, I must add that AbRam is extremely protective of me. There are times he watches somebody hit me on screen and he thinks it’s for real. So, the next time he meets them, he gives them dirty looks. He did that with Kajol after Dilwale because of that one scene during the interval. We even went for that Ra.One ride together in Dubai and he was getting little angry with Nawaz bhai after seeing Raees. Otherwise, he’s a total chiller. I think he loves being around me. Unlike Suhana and Aryan, he is more people friendly. He gets happy seeing my fans. On my birthdays, he would just come out to the balcony every hour. The fans keep screaming my name and he comes running to me and says, ‘Papa, peoples have come. Let’s go meet them’. He calls them ‘peoples’ and then, he drags me out because he enjoys waving out to them. He’s a smart, intelligent kid and extremely fun to be with. And with him, I become a kid myself. I try and get him all the toys because somewhere, it’s also a way of living my own dreams. Maybe, even I wanted those toys when I was a kid, but we couldn’t afford it back then. Now, when I play with AbRam, I live those moments which I wanted to, but possibly couldn’t.

You don’t seem to like the fact that your other two kids have grown up so fast...
I hate to say it, but I didn’t want my kids to grow up so soon. When Aryan and Suhana were kids, I would quietly go to their room, and tell them about my next film. At times when I would be upset or angry, I would go and talk gibberish in front of them, knowing that they won’t even understand. I would get a very ulta reaction from them and that used to change my mood and make me feel better.

Has there ever been something that your kids have asked you to change about yourself? Have you implemented that in life?
Yeah, they do many times, in their own sweet way. They have started making fun of it now. My kids have asked me not to lose my temper. And physically assault anyone. So, I think I’m becoming better at it, maybe. At times, when I have gotten angry and reacted to a situation and felt bad later, they tell me, ‘Listen, you can’t do that. One, your anger is very scary and second, you are just hurting yourself and it’s not necessary because you are more disturbed about it’. Their prescription to me is called ‘let it be’. So, I have begun to ‘let it be’ more often now and not lose temper or patience or let my emotions go out of hand, in personal life.

NAYANDEEP RAKSHIT

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