The week saw megawatt Bollywood film star Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) enthralling a jam packed audience at the April 27 TED conference in Vancouver, with many in the audience having a little clue about who he was. While they might have entered the venue not knowing who he was, but they left the talk truly acquainted with King Khan’s (as he’s famously called in India) humour and wisdom.
SRK walked on the stage after a clip from his 2007 blockbuster film Om Shanti Om played on the big screen. He immediately had the audience in his grip when he said, “India decided that somehow I, the Muslim son of a broke freedom fighter, would become its king of romance.”
He further lightened the mood by saying “I’ve been made to understand there are lots of you here who have never seen my work, and I feel really sad for you.”
The 20-minute talk, which included Khan sharing about his pre-acting days, journey to Bollywood and doing a step or two from his famous “Lungi dance,” earned a standing ovation from the TED audience crowd, which included Silicon valley leaders, scientists, and academics.
SRK has done over 90 films and danced to 200 songs in his 25 years long career, and has received countless awards, including the Legion of France’, one of the country’s highest civilian awards. He is also a recipient of an honorary doctorate from United Kingdom’s University of Edinburgh for his philanthropic work.
Sharing his personal anecdotes, Khan recalled how the invention of internet affected him and his life. He said, “Everything I said took a new meaning; everything I did — good, bad, ugly — was there for the world to comment upon and judge.” “Everything I didn’t say or do was also met with the same fate.”
He further shared that in the new world, reality has become virtual, and virtual has become real. He connected this learning with his own life and shared that when the World Wide Web was taking over the world he started to feel that he could no longer be who he wanted to be or say what he actually thought. He said, “And humanity at this time completely identified with me. Both of us were going through our midlife crisis. Humanity, like me, was becoming an over-exposed prima donna.”
“The whole world, and all of humanity, seemed as lost as I was,” he added.
But, Khan believes even with all of the complex problems and confusion happening in the world right now, there has never been a more momentous time for humanity.
Khan added that instead of wasting our times thinking about our future or cribbing about the past, we all should try to live in the present. He said, “The present you is brave. The present you is hopeful. The present you is innovative and resourceful. And, of course, the present you is annoyingly indefinable.”
According to Khan, in his 51 years on planet Earth, he has learned one of life’s most important learning. “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.”
Earlier this year, TED announced about its plans to bring a major network series in India hosted by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan. The program, TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, which translates to “new thinking,” is the first time that TED is collaborating with a major network to produce a TV series featuring original TED Talks in a language other than English—Hindi.