Shah Rukh Khan on Kajol: ‘I don’t know if we could have made Dilwale with anyone else’

The couple, along with co-stars Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon, were in Dubai over the weekend for the Filmfare ME red carpet gala at the Dubai International Film Festival, and also to promote their new film.
Kajol, left, and Shah Rukh Khan rank among Bollywood’s best on-screen couples. Their last film together was 2010’s My Name Is Khan. Sarah Dea / The National
Kajol, left, and Shah Rukh Khan rank among Bollywood’s best on-screen couples. Their last film together was 2010’s My Name Is Khan. Sarah Dea / The National

Since they first appeared in the crime thriller Baazigar in 1993, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol have gone on to become one of Bollywood’s most beloved on-screen couples, starring in 12 films together, including the 2010 drama My Name is Khan, their last collaboration.

Five years later, the duo are back together, this time for Dilwale. Directed by Rohit Shetty and produced by Khan’s wife, Gauri Khan, the romantic drama is one of the most-anticipated films of the year, especially because fans are expecting a throwback to Khan’s and Kajol’s 1995 blockbuster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ).

Khan shakes his head.

“If people expect us to be like we were in DDLJ or, then they will be disappointed,” he says. “It would be really strange at this age. Love may not change, but how you express it does.

“The story of Dilwale covers a period of time – 15 years in the past and 15 years in the future. There are moments when we play our younger selves, which could have been [a throwback to] DDLJ, but we avoided that because we wanted to create something new. Dilwale is very different. For instance, the second half of the film is full of angst, and that is something Kajol and I have never done before.”

Ever since the film was announced, the return of the star couple became a focal point, eclipsing everything else. But Khan, 50, and Kajol, 41, insist that there is a lot more to the film than just their pairing.

“On one hand it makes me feel good, but on the other hand it makes me want to scream,” says Kajol, wringing her hands in mock frustration. “I want to tell everyone ‘No, it’s not just all about us, there’s so much more to it.’ Because Dilwale has something for everyone: action, comedy, romance – all nicely interwoven.”

Khan interrupts. “My films with Kajol have been immensely successful, but I have done films without Kajol, which, by Allah’s grace and the audience’s love, have become iconic, too,” he says. “Similarly, she has done films without me that have done very well. Each of us has something to offer separately, not just because of each other.”

That said, there is no doubt that the chemistry between the two is crackling. Off-screen, the two share an easy camaraderie.

“We may not have worked together for the last five years, but Shah Rukh and I have a very nice relationship,” says Kajol. “Even though we don’t stay in touch on a daily basis, when we do meet – even if it is after a long time – there is no awkwardness, or wondering ‘What do we talk about?’. It’s always very comfortable.”

Which was why the opportunity to work together played a part in signing on to do the film.

“Since Shah Rukh was going to be in it, and I knew it would be great fun to work with him, of course I wanted to do it,” says Kajol. “But first and foremost, I believe that the script and the screenplay are very, very important. It has to be as good as an ‘unputdownable’ book.”

“We have done each other very well in the cinema that we have shared. We just complement each other really, really well,” Khan says. “It’s a very strange relationship. It can’t be equated with anything I can think of in words. When people call us friends, it’s awkward. Chemistry? That’s awkward. We don’t know what we have! I think we are the only couple in the world perhaps who have grown through the cinema that we have created.”

But Khan admits that “there are scenes in Dilwale that would not have worked if there wasn’t a history of ‘Kajol and Shah Rukh together’”.

“I don’t know if we could have made this film with anyone else,” he says, reflectively. “Of course, it’s a really nice story regardless, which is why Kajol agreed to do it in the first place. But with her in it, it becomes even more special.”

Dilwale comes to UAE cinemas on Thursday, December 17

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: December 14, 2015 04:00 AM

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