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Today is King Khan's birthday.

The man Time magazine calls 'the biggest movie star in the world' just seems to be growing with each success. After this year's Silver Jubilee hit Main Hoon Na, Shah Rukh Khan is ready to rock the box office yet again with two of the year's most anticipated releases -- Veer Zaara and Swades.

From humble TV beginnings to becoming Bollywood's greatest living star, Shah Rukh has made it on his own steam. And, he's changed the way Indian cinema is predominantly made, several times over. His films have inspired cults of crazed fans worldwide, and he's a superstar of unprecedented proportions.

And he's just turned 39 on Tuesday, November 2.

Dabbling in theatre as a part of Barry John's troupe in Delhi had been Shah Rukh Khan's first exposure to the arc lights. A decade later, the Delhi lad is an intrinsic part of the big world of Bollywood. Films, stage shows, endorsements, dancing at weddings – SRK has been making big bucks.

And, apart from raking in moolah, Khan has established himself as a brand on the map of the film industry. Hailing from a non-filmi background with no pedigree to boast of and no godfather to pull strings, the St Columba's alumnus has become a muse. In a decade-long career, Khan has become more than a mere Fauji on the small screen.

When he debuted as Raja Sahay in Deewana , no one had expected that he would go on to become Box Office stability, dismissing his success as a freak incident.

After a few disastrous duds like Dil Aashna Hain , Chamatkar and Maya Memsaab , Khan made critics eat their words as his graph soared to dizzy heights.

Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman , Darr, Kabhi haan Kabhi Naa and Baazigar are a few of his early films that can be counted as his first tryst with success. However, he actually broke into the mould of Bollywood with the resounding success of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge in 1995. Soon began a Khan trend of delivering one hit, every year, much to the delight of producers, distributors and his fans, which he has followed with fanaticism.

From DDLJ to Main Hoon Na in 2004, SRK has become a brand to reckon with. A no-nonsense guy with a known penchant for professionalism, SRK's comparison with Amitabh Bachchan is inevitable.

Although he's just 12-year-old in the industry, he has managed to be spoken about in the same breath as Big B, who has already clocked three decades in the industry. With popularity and appeal transcending age and gender, SRK has evolved as the King Khan of Bollywood.

Spelling stability at the ever-fickle BO, Khan knows that he is a dependable figure. Over the years he has not let the image of a perfect family man – a beautiful wife and two adorable kids crack up. From attending son Aryan's PTA meetings to being loyal to friends in dire straits ala Bharat Shah, SRK's brand appeal lies in his honesty about himself.

And it is this image of his that has propped him as one of Bollywood's darlings. Add to that, his squeaky clean image of a loving husband with no discretions on the way up, and he manages to create a sense of awe and inspiration, even jealousy perhaps, amongst his peers.

With a stable personal life that does not make fodder for gossip columns, Khan has not let his success get overboard. Marrying his sweetheart against her family's wishes, SRK has not strayed. An ordinary guy who has climbed north without any crutches in the form of a godfather or kindness from any unseen source, Khan makes a great role model.

From driving Hyundai cars while wooing the pretty Preity Zinta, to yapping on Airtel to running around with a little kid in the house with Videocon appliances to gulping Pepsi to sporting a Tag Heur, King Khan is almost omnipresent, much like the Big B

With numerous awards and a tremendous commercial viability, Khan's USP is his histrionic skills and good chemistry with almost all his leading ladies, another Big B trademark. From his small screen debut as an Army recruit, Khan has now evolved as a metrosexual actor who is not scared to cry on screen to admit his passion.

He is also not hesitant about getting obsessive about his love and portray a grey character with ease at a time when his peers are beating villains black and blue and yet make sure that the cash registers tinkle.

It comes as little surprise that the actor who is more than 40-films-old tells his producers Main Hoon Na !!!

The cine idol turns 39 today. And his fans are all propped up to give him a a unique birthday gift - a 12-day celebration: SRK Utsav.

But what makes SRK so special afterall? His enchanting charisma, his alluring instinct or maybe just his simplicity.

Let's take a ride down the memory lane, to know what makes Shah Rukh so magnetic.

The name Shah Rukh means 'the countenance of a prince.' So, now we know why he's called the Baadshah of Bollywood.

Born on November 2, 1965, the journey of the young lad from Delhi who first stole hearts with his endearing performance in the TV serial Fauji to the macho army man in Main Hoo Na , has definitely not been an easy one.

His school teachers (St Colomba’s, Delhi) described him as a devil with a devils smile. He had a group of four friends and called themselves the 'c' gang (owing it to their c-section).

College seemed difficult in the beginning. Coming from an all-boys school, his relationship with girls had always been from a distance. School made him a sort of 'Dennis the Menace', where falling in love was stupid: 'macho men don't fall in love'.

From mimicing film actress Mumtaz and reciting shaayri for his father, there was always a passion to make it big before the camera.

He later secured admission at the National School Of Drama and pursued a masters in filmmaking from Jamia Millia Islamia.

He remembers being bad at Hindi and how his mother made him work for it, "She used to tell me, 'If you get ten out of ten, I'll take you to a movie'."

The SRK Way: "I remember once there was this aunt who wore horrendously pink lipstick and I composed a corny poem in praise of her lipstick. I think she was secretly pleased."

Wedding Bells

The path down the aisle was not an easy one for SRK.

He remembers, "Gauri's parents were dead against the marriage. She was locked up at home and I would tell her that things would be alright. 10 years down the line, we'd be laughing about all the trying times. And that's just what we do today."

"Our wedding took place in the strangest circumstances. We had already rung up Gauri's parents from her aunt's place and told them that we were married. Pandemonium broke loose, her mother stopped eating and the whole atmosphere at their place was like a house in mourning. I entered to meet her father. I felt guilty. I think when I spoke to them they realised that they had no other go but to take this risk. I really identify with this feeling when I do a film like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge ."

But this was not an end to his 'filmi wedding'. "Normally the dulha comes on the ghoda and he isn't supposed to see his bride till the pheras are over. But the car that was supposed to pick her up after her make-up was done, conked out. So I picked her up, dropped her, went back and returned on a horse. And then halfway through, I changed over from the horse to an elephant. Climbing the elephant was a major problem, my friends pushed me up."

Though the wedding was not anything close to the normal celebration, Shah Rukh made it very special. He decided to have all the fun he could at his own wedding, so he danced for the one kilometer stretch to the venue!

Well no one can resist Shah Rukh's charisma for long, not even Gauri's parents. They were all bowled out one by one.

And they live happily ever after!

The SRK Way: "When it was time for the bidaai Gauri sat in the car and started crying. Soon her mother started crying, her father and brother followed. So then in all seriousness I said if you are all feeling so bad then you can keep her I'll come and see her regularly."

The Rising

Known to be one of the most in-your-face men in the Hindi film industry today, he secured his break with Hema Malini's debut directorial venture, Dil Aashna Hai .

Though the movie was a disaster, Shah Rukh rose to the top in a few years time.

Deewana was his first hit. He later dazzled audiences with his emotionally-charged performances in films like Darr , where he played a deranged man obsessed with a girl, Baazigar , where he was a young man seeking vengeance and not to mention Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman , where the SRK magic swept everyone off their feet.

The SRK Way: "Can you believe the next evening I took a flight back Bombay and the day after that I shot for Dil Aashna Hai. Actually I had gone on the sets because the unit wanted to congratulate me but they asked me to shoot one shot and before I knew it, one shot became five and I was late in coming back home and we had a big fight."

Success: His Second Name

Though Baazigar took him to a great height, it was the success of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge that made him a star.

Whether it was 'Raj Malhotra' of DDLJ , the funky 'Rahul Khanna' of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai , 'Raj Aryan Malhotra' of Mohabbatein , 'Rahul Raichand' of K3G or the simpleton 'Ram Prasad Sharma' of Main Hoon Na , the actor has always breathed life into his roles and made it more than just a character in a story.

No matter what the role, King Khan has always managed to add his 'Midas Touch'. But nothing comes without a price.

He never entered the tinsel town with a silver spoon. There was no one to fall back on. All he had in his pocket was a weapon named 'hard work'. And Shah Rukh knew how to use it.

"I remember when my father was ill, he had cancer for eight months, we lost everything we had. One injection used to cost about Rs 5000 and we had to organise about 23 injections in ten days. It was an expensive affair and our business went down. At that time my mother would work day and night. She would get the money some way. After his death in '81 she revived his business and ran it proficiently. I inherited workaholism from her."

The SRK Way: "I don’t get carried away with people calling me King Khan and Badshah of Bollywood. All this is nonsense."

Daddy Cool

The 'dad' began to dream even before he became one. "If it's a boy, I want him to be a badmash . He should do all the bad things by the time he is 16, so that he can sober down after that."

But about a baby girl? "I'll give her all the love that's stored within me. I'll want her friends to say, "Wow what a handsome father you have! When she's with her boyfriend in the backseat of our car, I'll be at the wheel, driving her around."

Whether Aryan is as naughty as dad had dreamt or Suhana's friends call him the handome dude... oops! dad... that's too watch out for.

But the paly papa and son are all set to play reel-life father and son with Shah Rukh as Mr Lajaawab and his son Aryan in the role of Lajaawab's son, Tez in the Hollywood film for its Hindi version - Disney Pixar's animation adventure The Incredibles .'

The SRK Way: "My parents were my yaars. Similarly, I'll be my baby's best buddy."

Mirror Mirror On The Wall...

Taking a five-month sabbatical the actor has been busy working on his autobiography. "I'd like to share my hard work mantra."

He revealed, "I was really impressed with President Abdul Kalam's writing. Hey, I am reading this book on grammar, also another one on why men never listen..."

Well we've loved him as an actor and we've seen his love as perfect friend, brother, son, lover and husband... so now it's time to watch out for his new role: Shah Rukh Khan, the wordsmith. 'Experiment' seems to be an important ingredient of his success recipe.

The SRK Way: "I think I'll do a film with a newcomer and if it does not run, then people will feel I have done something different."

Taste For Beauty

What happens when the cameras are off, the spotlight fades and the glamour tag is put aside? SRK slips into his original self and does thing to enjoy life his own way.

Maybe play a video game or watch anything and everything on Discovery channel.

His favourite book: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Admires: Mother Teresa

Historical figure he identifies with: Gengis Khan, Hitler and Napolean.

Favourite actors: Amitabh Bachan, Dilip Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Amir Khan, Akshay Kumar

The SRK Way: ” In the gifts (marriage) there were none of the things that I wanted. No computer games. People are so stupid, they should give me what I want."

And Now...

He feels he's always playing the coy, cheeky lead and has established himself as an eternal hero. But playing the good guy all the time can be a burden.

For SRK the next stop is to be something different. "I want to beat people up. I tell them [directors], 'The next time I knock on a door and a girl opens it, can I slap her? Or shoot her?'"

But one thing all of can be sure of, nothing is impossible for the Badshah! So is there something to watch out for in his upcoming ventures!

The SRK Way: "I get people who fall sick and think I can cure them. I get people who write in blood. Normally very short letters like 'I love you'."

Wish the Badshah a grand b'day


The King Khan, the 'Shah' of Bollywood, the BO Badshah. Unstoppable, indefatigable, unbeatable. Be it nick names or be it adjectives, Shah Rukh Khan is no stranger to either.

A decade and two in the Hindi film industry and Khan is steadily rising – if not already at the top of – the popularity charts.

It's not popularity alone. Khan is indisputably the only bankable star that Bollywood has today. Children love him, women adore him and men have a grudging admiration for him. When Khan debuted on the silver screen with Deewana , a number of things, mostly rude were said about him.

'He has no looks, no hair style, runs through his dialogues and hops in the dance numbers', is the summation of most. Many industry pundits and trade analysts had already penned his epitaph and waited gleefully for him to perish.

Wish the Badshah a grand birthday

Deewana was a hit. It was labelled as beginners luck. Close on the heels of Deewana was Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman . Second time lucky screamed voices from the balcony.

Then there was news that he was appearing in a negative role. 'Suicide' yelled industry insiders. Baazigar made film history and Shah Rukh Khan, the Anti-Hero made women weep, children cry and lovers emulate him by throwing their girlfriends off terraces all over the country. It was encore with Darr – role refused by Aamir Khan and a movie where ostensibly Sunny Deol was the lead.

'How long will he do negative roles?' was asked next. The answer was Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge in 1995 and with it was the advent of the King of Mush. He has not stopped since.

Today, on his 39th birthday and awaiting the release of two big films, with big directors and bigger expectations, SRK has no time to listen to his detractors.