Com­mer­cial or crit­i­cal ac­claim – which do you pre­fer?

Friday - - Society -

[Af­ter a long pause] I like the smiles of the peo­ple who watch my films. The com­merce I don’t un­der­stand. Se­ri­ously, I don’t care about crit­i­cal or com­mer­cial ac­claim.

Films are an art form. Do you think a painter when he draws the first line on a can­vas thinks how much it is go­ing to sell for? If you were to write a book, would you spend time wor­ry­ing about what crit­ics are go­ing to say? Would you worry how much each line is go­ing to earn you? No, you write it be­cause it is an out­pour­ing of what you feel. Film­mak­ing is like that. I re­spect crit­ics but their crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tions don’t mat­ter to me. Sim­i­larly, I re­spect busi­ness­men. They can keep dis­cussing how much I make. In­ci­den­tally, I was re­cently de­clared to be one of the rich­est peo­ple in the world. But that doesn’t take away frommy cre­ativ­ity.

As for crit­i­cism, it doesn’t worry me when I am told that my per­for­mance is not so fan­tas­tic.

Re­cently some crit­ics said, “Why is Shah Rukh act­ing like this in Chen­nai Ex­press?” And I tell them, “Do you know why I am act­ing like this? Be­cause I feel like act­ing like this. Go fig­ure that out.” And if you can’t fig­ure that out, well that’s your prob­lem. I act be­cause it is the way I feel. It is an out­pour­ing of my emo­tions for that par­tic­u­lar scene or at that time. If you have is­sues with it, well, you need to live with it. For me, the bot­tom line is how many peo­ple am I able to make smile? Can I mea­sure that by the num­ber of dol­lars I earn? Can I mea­sure it by two peo­ple who have an in­tel­lec­tual take on my abil­ity to make peo­ple smile?

To me, nei­ther com­mer­cial nor crit­i­cal ac­claim is im­por­tant. I have been work­ing for 22 years, 18 hours a day. What I do very few peo­ple can do. I know my craft, I know my art. I know my place in the scheme of things and I know the job that I am made to do.

I al­ways tell peo­ple that I’ve never worked for any­body but for the pub­lic who love me. And when dur­ing such a gath­er­ing a com­plete stranger stands up and says you know you have in­spired me to scale greater heights, or that they love me, that is the great­est mo­ment in my life. This is what I work for – for the kind words from the young girls, the moth­ers, the young men. And when you have the strength and back­ing of peo­ple like this, any­body can say neg­a­tive things or crit­i­cise your work, it doesn’t af­fect you. Be­cause the peo­ple who I work for – th­ese young men and women – they have ac­cepted me. They are like my fam­ily to me.

Decades ago when I came into the in­dus­try, I was an or­phan as my par­ents had passed away. But in the past 22 years I have a fam­ily of more than two bil­lion peo­ple. It’s the love of th­ese peo­ple that drives me. That’s all that mat­ters.

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