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Why did Shah Rukh Khan refuse to discuss demonetisation, Raees & ‘religious stuff’?

As Shah Rukh Khan’s publicists gagged media on Raees and demonetisation in Delhi, we wonder for how long can the superstar duck the question of Pakistani actors in Indian films? By Karan Bhardwaj

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan addressing media in Delhi for Dear Zindagi/SHAZID CHAUHAN

To be honest, it was very unlike of Shah Rukh Khan to refrain from commenting on buzzing issues when he came to Delhi for Dear Zindagi promotions. The King Khan appeared extra cautious of any questions over Pakistani actors in Indian films, considering his forthcoming release, Raees. Not just this, he steered clear of the burning issue of demonetisation as well.

After the press conference, some select scribes were gathered in another room for interviews with Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt. But before the stars arrived at the spot, Shah Rukh’s publicity team intimidated journalists not to poke the superstar on Raees and other uncomfortable topics. “Everything went smoothly in the day so far. So let’s not talk about religion-related stuff, Raees or demonetisation,” said a publicist from Shah Rukh Khan’s team. Her colleague, in a rather threatening tone, repeated, “If anybody asks questions on these topics, I will have to chuck you out of the room,” she said dominantly.

Worse? Media obliged. Those select 10-13 scribes, including the writer, accepted diktats like lame and spineless ducks and didn’t ask anything beyond Dear Zindagi.

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We know such diktats by film stars and their publicists are nothing new. “No personal questions” is a mandatory request in almost every interview. But Shah Rukh Khan refusing to talk on national issues and taking a shield behind publicists is absolutely shocking. We understand his concerns as he might have wanted to avoid controversies to let Dear Zindagi release without any glitch. But wouldn’t it have been better had the superstar himself asked the press to wait for another opportunity to discuss ‘other matters’? And why can’t he discuss the issue of demonetisation when he has already tweeted on it? Here’s what he wrote: “Farsighted. Extremely smart. And not politically motivated. Will bring such a positive change for Indian economy. Great move @narendramodi. (sic)”

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PS: Dear Shah Rukh, as we all know, Zindagi is the best mentor itself. We all are ‘alive’ in the truest sense because we are able to think, act upon ideas and engage with people on a variety of issues. If that spirit is suppressed, there’s no point of calling Zindagi a dear one.

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