Published: 02nd November 2019
When SRK missed class, he came home for lessons: King Khan's teacher at Jamia Milia
On the Badshah of Bollywood’s 54th birthday, we spoke to his professor at Jamia Millia Islamia to take a trip down memory lane
Each one of us have aspirations, ambitions, dreams and what not. Like everyone else I too had some, as a matter of fact, I still do. They were always about one man though. No, it’s not my father, husband or anyone in the family or friend circle.
It was, is and always will be the King of Bollywood and my first love Shah Rukh Khan. I remember framing one of his pictures and keeping it in our drawing room placed right in front of one of my family pictures. My mother said, “Either you keep that man’s photo or ours, you choose.”
It might sound very unbecoming of me, but I happily kept SRK’s without a hint of doubt.
SRK in his best element (Source: Twitter)
So, the fangirl (way more I promise) in me decided I had to do something more fruitful on his 54th birthday (apart from cutting cake) to take a step forward in fulfilling my lifelong dream - to interview the man himself.
Before I get to do that I wanted to know more about him. And who better than teachers - one of the most basic pillars of our lives? Yes, I got to interact with Shah Rukh Khan’s professor from Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi where the superstar went to pursue Mass Communication after his graduation from Hansraj College. Professor Farhat Basir Khan from the Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC) at Jamia takes us on a trip down the memory lane on his 54th birthday.
SRK during his college days (Source: Pinterest)
“I was lucky enough to be a part of the interview board that reviewed his application at Jamia in 1988. When we met him for the first time then, he was someone who was already great at acting and performing. I can’t recall exactly what we asked him to enact but he had portrayed some female character to show his versatility. I was impressed right there,” recalls professor Farhat.
He taught SRK Photography and Audio Visual Communication at Jamia as a part of the actor’s first-year course. All his first-year projects were also guided by professor Farhat. “I found to him to be extremely easygoing since the first day. He would attend his classes diligently, interact with others - he came off as somebody who was equally cordial with his teachers and students,” he adds.
Professor Farhat Basir Khan
Professor Farhat continues that the subject he taught required a lot of imagination, visualisation and it was not very straight-shooting. “I must say Shah Rukh was good at conceptualising, he could deconstruct things and present them in a simple manner.”
The one difficulty they faced at the time was that the actor had become busy with theatre as he had joined TAG, a theatre group founded by Barry John. SRK had to juggle both with his academics and acting as well. “He also began shooting for Fauji at that time, so he devoted his time there as well. I was amazed and am still in awe of him how he managed both. It was his attendance that suffered however, the quality of his work did not degrade in any way. He found unique ways to come out of problems,” adds professor Farhat.
SRK with Barry John (Source: TOI)
Farhat shares that he would have scolded other students for not coming to class or missing lessons, but he could never do that to the actor. “Owing to his hectic acting schedule he missed a few classes from time to time. Since he missed out, he used to visit my house in order to discuss the course material. He had already become a bit famous then as he was acting in Fauji and other television serials. The first time he came to my place someone accompanied him and I teased him that he needs a guard to come to my place as well. To which he replied that they were no guards, some other people took him to their places and wanted to take photos when he told them to guide him to my house. We sat and discussed what I taught in class. He could comprehend pretty well. I didn’t quite agree with his methods but he charmed his way through,” he recalls.
Professor Farhat talks about an incident at college that he could never really forget. That was when he had realised that SRK was no ordinary student but he was quite different from the others.“We used to take the entire class out for shooting, as a team to go mingle with people and understand the on-ground realities. But then there was always a call time when everyone has to come back to the van. One person didn’t come back on time and it was him. Then I asked people to go look for him. We were all worried. He had seen a scenery and had been waiting for the sun to be at some angle to take a photo. I was overwhelmed at his dedication,” he shares.
SRK from his early acting days (Source: Twitter)
For his teachers, the world-famous actor came forth as a genuine and honest person. A person who’s friendly, sociable, and someone you can’t ever dismiss. "I wish to shower him with my blessings and encourage him to be his curious self, keep up the good work, put in his 100 per cent in whatever he does and gain more success in life,” the professor wishes the actor on his birthday.
Speaking about the star’s busy schedule, professor Farhat says “He’s quite busy and I don’t want to disturb him. When he came to Jamia we met briefly. His wife keeps in touch. But I think whenever I need him he will be there, he’s just a phone call away that’s what I believe.”
When I asked professor Farhat if he had any photos from the old times, he laughs. “He wasn’t a celebrity then so we didn’t feel the need to take photos. Now that we know I will try to get something from his classmates or teachers maybe,” he adds.
Soon after my conversation was over with the professor, to my surprise, I got a call from the principal of Hansraj College, who handed the actor his graduation degree in 2016. (I was overwhelmed.)
SRK getting his degree at Hansraj College
Rama Sharma tells us that she met SRK in 2016. “When I became principal in 2015, I reached out to him and he promised to come to college. Before his movie Fan came out we decided to honour him with his degree. This was the biggest achievement for me that I got the chance to hand him his BA degree during my tenure. We all told him then that we are his fan and always will be. The Hansraj family wishes him a very happy birthday,” she says.