Shah Rukh Khan has a friendly, jovial real-life persona which is clearly visible in his interviews or personal appearances in award functions and TV shows. His funny side, however, remained unexplored on the silver screen until Rohit Shetty's arrived Chennai Express arrived. We explore his on and off screen comic sense.
SRK is always jovial and his co-stars vouch for his sense of humour. He is often seen with perfect comic timing in awards functions, shows or personal interviews. However, his previous on-screen attempts at making people laugh did not quite deliver. Shah Rukh co-hosted Zee Cine Awards with Shahid Kapoor. SRK wonderfully makes fun of Shahid's flop movies and his affairs and break-ups, without hitting below the belt.
He also effortlessly made the audience sway to his funny tunes at the Star Screen Awards 2013.
Shah Rukh Khan's comic ventures, namely - Duplicate (1995) and Zamaana Deewana (1998) - did not work at the box office. Only Baadshah (1999) scored better than the others, averaging Rs. 14 crore. While Duplicate earned around Rs. 9.25 crore, Zamaan Deewana grossed Rs. 4.5 crore. SRK has also attempted comic scenes in films like Chamatkar (1992), Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), Yes Boss (1997), Duplicate (1998), Baadshah (1999), Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000) and Ra.One (2011), Main Hoon Na (2004) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008).
The King Khan has also essayed roles with shades of comedy in films like Chamatkar (1992), Yes Boss (1997), Duplicate (1998), Baadshah (1999) and Ra.One (2011). In Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, SRK plays the innocent guy who tries to woo the leading lady in a few comic scenes. He is cute at best in these scenes. SRK woos Juhi Chawla in his own funny-way in Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, and Yes Boss. The romance king also funnily flirts with his on-screen love interest Anushka Sharma in his modern avatar of Raj in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2009).
And then Chennai Express happens. This is the first comedy that has helped SRK rake the moolah at the ticket windows. At best, he has played the witty sweet guy but not out-and-out funny before Rohit Shety's Chennai Express. The movie that also stars Deepika Padukone, is a mindless comedy meant for fun - though several people did not find it funny, most of them have - at least the opening weekend collections indicate that!
Mayank Shekhar, for one did not like Chennai Express. He writes," Throughout, at least I couldn't spot a single moment that had me even mildly chuckling."
Shubhra Gupta agrees, "This is a pair trying to have some fun, and coming up with some genuinely funny moments. Padukone looks lovely in a just-about-to-burst-into-a-Bharatnatyam-dance sort of way, and sticks unwaveringly to a spunky over-the-topness, till she's made to go all emotional. That's when her graph dips. That's when Shah Rukh's raffish charm slips. And that is also when Chennai Express derails. And the laugh-out-loud wannakum becomes okay, wannago."
However, with Chennai Express, SRK has tickled funny bones, which is why the film is on a record-breaking spree in box office collections. Chennai Express has left 3 Idiots far behind. While Aamir Khan's mega hit earned Rs. 2.7 crore from paid reviews, SRK's film earned a whopping Rs. 6.75 crore.
On the day of its release, the Rohit Shetty's venture averaged Rs. 33.12 crore, making a new record over and above the collections of Salman Khan-starrer Ek Tha Tiger. Before this, Ek Tha Tiger was the highest grosser on day one with Rs. 31.25 crore. And, even as the movie enters its fourth day of release, the SRK, Deepika Padukone-starrer has already made an average collection of Rs. 100.42 crore, the fastest entry to the club. Before this, Ek Tha Tiger crossed the 100 crore mark in six days.
There are several scenes in Chennai Express where SRK evokes bouts of laughter. There is one where Shah Rukh Khan is being beaten up by the goons of Meena's (Deepika Padukone) father and he breaks into a song - the Tamil words from Jiya Jale, Dil Se - the actor is too funny.
Also, when Khan encounters the goons on the train he behaves like the common man who is trying to play a hero - you can't stop smiling when you see SRK doing that, and convincingly so.
Donning the willing-suspension-of-disbelief cap is a must though.
Have you watched Chennai Express? Share your favourite scenes in the comment box below.