SRK was his charming self, keeping his audience hooked and chuckling.

I sell dreams peddle love Shah Rukh Khan becomes the first Indian actor at TED in CanadaPhoto courtesy: TEDTalks/Twitter
news Bollywood Friday, April 28, 2017 - 18:55

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan has many nicknames that he goes by – ‘King Khan’, ‘King of Romance’ and so on. And it’s not just his Indian fans that he can charm. The man has proven time and again his ability to sweep almost anyone off their feet with his humour and candour.

And that’s what happened on Thursday, when SRK delivered his first ever TED talk at Vancouver, Canada. He spoke about many things: his life, his journey as an actor, the fast-evolving technology and the world which doesn’t have the time to stop. The topics may sound heavy, but Shah Rukh made sure to keep his audience hooked and chuckling.

“I sell dreams, and I peddle love to millions of people,” began Shah Rukh. What followed, according to TED blog, was a hearty dose wit and self-deprecating humour that the actor is known for.

He told his foreign audience that he felt sad for them as many of them hadn’t seen his work. He topped that by saying that he was still “self-obsessed, as a movie star should be”.

Following from his ‘self-obsessed’ comment, Shah Rukh went on to compare ‘humanity’ to himself. He said that humanity was like an “aging movie star”, struggling with the novelty and newness around and contemplating whether “it got it right in the first place” and trying to find a way to keep shining anyway.

Speaking about his journey from almost nothing to one of the biggest and most sought after actors in India, Shah Rukh recounted his early days in New Delhi. He spoke about being born in a refugee camp in the national capital and about losing his father when he was 14.

He says that that night, “akin to humanity in its adolescence”, he learnt the “crude tools of survival’. He then explained how life was “simple”. “You went wherever life took you for work, and people were mostly welcoming of you … Most important, you were who you were, and you said what you thought,” he said.

Shah Rukh narrates how his worldview changed when he shifted to Mumbai in his late 20s. He met people from all around the world, ideas were exchanges with more freedom and innovation was something you could experience. He used his creativity and resources that the city offered and was catapulted into stardom.

He also spoke about the internet and how the ‘virtual became real’, and how he felt that he couldn’t be who he wanted to be or express himself freely. He and humanity were both going through a “midlife crisis” and becoming “an over-exposed prima donna”.

Even so, the 51-year-old actor told his audience that through all the complexities, he believes that there hasn’t been a more momentous time for humanity. He also spoke about the significance and beauty of being in the present.

In a profound statement then, he defines what love is for him: “I’ve learned that whatever moves you, whatever urges you to create, build, whatever keeps you from failing, whatever helps you survive, is perhaps the oldest and the simplest emotion known to mankind, and that is love.”

In a world where everything is out there yet interpersonal communication suffers, Shah Rukh says that we have the power to build walls and keep people outside as well as the ability to use that power to let them in.

In a veiled reference to extremism perhaps, he added that “faith” can be used to scare people and “terrify them into submission”. But it can also be used to give them courage, “so they rise to the greatest heights of enlightenment,” he said.

He concluded his talk, coming back in a circle with his ‘aging movie star’ comment. “The future you have to be like an aging movie star, who has been made to believe that there is a possibility of a world which is completely, wholly, self-obsessively in love with itself.”

TED has not released the video of the talk yet, but we sure hope it will be out soon! A few Twitter users meanwhile have praised Shah Rukh over his wise and witty words. 

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