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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mushtaq Shiekh's Interview, Maker of Om Shanti Om

Mushtaq Shiekh needs no introduction, the journalist turned author has already penned books like Still Reading Khan, The Making of Ashoka and The Making of Om Shanti Om. He has also written the screenplay for movies like Om Shanti Om and Billu and television scripts for soaps like Kahin Toh Hoga, K Street Pali Hill, Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat. In an exclusive interview with Oneindia's Subhadeep Bhattacharjee, Mushtaq talks about his latest book Shah Rukh Khan and his future plans.

You have earlier worked on Shahrukh's life in 'Still Reading Khan', 'The Making of Ashoka' and 'The Making of Om Shanti Om'. Why Shahrukh Khan again?
Why not Shahrukh Khan again? That is a more important question. He is the biggest star we have on planet earth…the there is an unquenchable appetite to know more about him. With every passing day the number of his fans is increasing. Not to mention the other important fact that my proximity or access to the man makes things much easier and possible to do. So when all these factors come to together you get the magic formula of writing books and books on Shahrukh Khan and doing it successfully.

What is the main theme behind this book. Is it a sequel to Still Reading Khan?
Shah Rukh Khan is a revised updated version of Still Reading Khan. There are a thousand things plus one that he has managed to do between after the first edition was published which have been added to this particular edition.

Besides the earlier one was a huge coffee table book, that weighed heavily on one's bookshelves and purse too. Therefore, the decision to bring out the book in a paperback format, so that every fan of his would be able to buy one. This version is my offering to the youth of this country who complained to me after my first book was released that I was being unfair to them and they could not afford to read my earlier book and that it was way past their pocket money. This would reach them all and more at a affordable price of Rs 399. Certainly a throw away price to take Shahrukh Khan home.

What do you think is one part of Shahrukh's life this book focuses which none of your earlier books did?
The other books were about the movies Asoka, OSO, they were movie-specific and not necessarily just about Shahrukh. In our movie industry we never had anyone recording history so that the coming generations know what happened to the making of these movies. Like today when I want to know how Kagaz Ke Phool was made I find it next to impossible to get the details. We have scant respect for our movie history. I began the whole culture of catching contemporary cinema in pages so that we have the information stored forever. The response from readers has been over whelming and I intend to keep doing it. Shah Rukh Khan is a biography which covers every part of Shahrukh's life, personal and professional with lesser known facts about the man, that everyone seems to have missed over the years.

You have known Shahrukh for a long time. What is the difference you find between the Shahrukh you met for the first time and today's King Khan?
I have always maintained that stardom and super stardom has an unsaid factor of corrupting people. But when it fails to do so, the person who passes the litmus test becomes extraordinary. Shahrukh Khan is one such person. In fact the super success has gone the other way to his head. He has become far more mellow and responsible with the super success. He is no longer audacious and irresponsible. He is far more in control and saner I must add. Why do you think he is my muse for almost all my books?

A tabloid carried a story on that you and Shahrukh had fallen apart. How did you react to that?
I do not react to tabloids. I however did write on my blog so that readers and friends who were concerned got to know the truth. Tabloids are better left doing their job...they are great as toilet paper but when the whole fourth estate gets a bad name because of some inept people I get disturbed because after all even I started my career as a journalist …Anyway peace be on all who write such tripe…after all they will have to pop pills to sleep at nights to…for as mischief mongers burn in hell.

Do you think there runs a conspiracy in Bollywood to defame successful stars like Shahrukh Khan?
There is no conspiracy in Bollywood. Like in any other profession there are minor differences in thought and attitude which is played up the media because quite frankly, that is how they reel in their readers and viewers. It’s all part of the circus. After all is there is a price of fame that this is it. This is it. This is it.

You had penned the screenplay of Om Shanti Om and Billu. What is happing with your career as a screenplay writer?
Right now I working on Shahrukh Khan’s next film Ra.One with director Anubhav Sinha. It’s a film on a very huge canvas. Cinema as big as it can get. I am very thrilled about. With the television serials, the biggest film of the next year, and two fiction novels, I can’t be asking for more work. Totally tied up till 2013…ha ha.

Do you plan to write on any other Bollywood star?
At this moment I am more interested in fiction and not on any particular film star. But yes if there is anyone who I could try to visit in pages after Shahrukh Khan then it would be Hrithik Roshan. He is the only one who really fascinates me, there lies a life tale that needs to be told. His journey has been quite incredible.

Lastly do you again plan to write a book on Shahrukh?
I could write hundreds in spite of having written exhaustively on the man, I still feel that there are reams left, words still waiting to be printed, ideas will to be expressed. But am I planning anything right now...no. I can't promise the same about the future. Till then one can wait for my next fiction offering…

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