Over the weekend, Shah Rukh Khan received a special tribute at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). His 2010 film My Name Is Khan was also screened there. Interestingly, during a conversation, Hollywood director Brett Ratner (of the Rush Hour series and X-Men: The Last Stand fame; 2006) said that “one day” he would want to make a sequel to Rush Hour with SRK in India. HT chats with the actor about the honour, and to find out if Hollywood is on his mind.
You are the first Indian actor to receive a tribute at the SFIFF. How does it feel?
It’s very humbling. Firstly, I would like to thank the SFIFF, Noah (Cowan; executive director of the festival) and everybody else involved with it. Also, I think I know why I have been given this tribute (smiles). You know, when I got there (San Francisco, USA), I saw so many people from our country, so many Indians. It’s their love that attracts people and [causes] the diaspora to convince other people in different cities around the world that Indian films are important.
My Name is Khan was also screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival…
Like I’ve always said, I just happen to be at the right place and at the right time. And so, I’m getting the right kind of love. It’s extremely humbling and wonderful to see so many people screaming, shouting, and watching My Name Is Khan again. So, I can only say that I felt really grateful.
Brett Ratner said that he would like to make the sequel to Rush Hour with you in India. Would you be game to star in it?
Yes, whenever he has a film. He asked me, ‘What role should I pen you in?’ And I said, ‘it can be whichever role and I’ll do it’. But we’ll see how things go. But one thing I did request him to do — whether it’s with me or not – is to get Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker to shoot in India because Rush Hour is all over the world (laughs). And it’s high time that such a wonderful and beautiful action-comedy film came to India. I’ll get involved in some way or the other. I’ll do the production for him if I am not acting. I’ll be seeing him again and would love to discuss the aspects of bringing American screenplay writing and other stuff down to India. I will also ask him to help Indian film-makers gain access to it.
Ratner also said that you are Tom Cruise, The Rock, Tom Hanks and Jackie Chan rolled into one…
Brett is very gracious and sweet. When he said that, he was not trying to compare me to any of those wonderful stars that he mentioned. But he kept saying that my body of work has been quite varied over the last 25 years and he respects that a lot. So, I think that’s his way of showing appreciation for the fact that I’ve done different kinds of roles. In no way whatsoever do I think that I’m better than even one of them. But it was sweet of him to say that. He also said that, ‘I smell very delicious’. Now, this part is true, but I don’t know about the other.
You have had interactions with Brett Ratner on social media. What was it like to meet him?
Brett is a very sweet guy, and we’ve spent some time together. I’m a big fan of his work. He’s produced Prison Break, which is one of my favourite TV series. And, of course, he made Rush Hour (1998) and one of the X-Men movies, besides producing so many other great films like The Family Man (2000). I’ve known him for some time. Till I met him, we had only interacted on social media. It was very nice to meet him. I must say he’s even more charming in real life (smiles).
You have always been passionate about seeing Indian films going to the international level…
Hopefully, I could be involved in it through our company or in any other capacity. That [taking Indian cinema to the global level] would be my dream. And when you take Indian cinema to the international level, the whole idea is that the world is watching it. In that sense, it’ll be like Hollywood or any other international film [industry]. So, Inshallah, I’ll try and work towards that. But, as of now, nobody has offered me a role [in Hollywood]. I’ll just have to take Brett Ratner’s word for Rush Hour 4 and live by it.
After ruling the Hindi film industry, are you also aiming to work in Hollywood?
Let me put it this way, I’m happy making films. I don’t think I will constrict myself to calling it Hollywood, Bollywood or XYZwood. I think I’ve been in Indian cinema long enough to believe that I could participate in taking it or a Hindi film to a level wherein the whole world watches it. That’s my dream. I’ve said it a 100 times before. And I’ll maintain it till the time — as a producer, director, actor, cameraperson or in any other capacity — I could take Indian cinema to a completely international level.