What do you get when you put SRK, one of India's most popular actors ever and sharp-talker extraordinaire on the stage for a TED Talk? You get more than you signed up for. You get funny, emotional and honest talk, by "an ageing superstar" that will tug at your heartstrings.
On 27 April, Shah Rukh Khan became the first Indian actor to deliver a TED talk. SRK has also been roped in for the Hindi version of the popular talk series. TED Talks announced that the show will be aired on Star India and will be called TED Talks India: Nayi Soch.
According to a report in the Business Standard, hordes of fans were waiting for the star to arrive at the venue in Vancouver, Canada.
"I've been made to understand there are lots of you here who have never seen my work, and I feel really sad for you," Khan joked to the excited audience. "That doesn't take away from the fact that I'm completely self-obsessed, as a movie star should be," he added, according to TED Blog.
Referring to himself as an ageing superstar, the 51-year-old actor said, "Humanity is a lot like me," he says."It's an ageing movie star, grappling with all the newness around it, wondering whether it got it right in the first place and still trying to find a way to keep on shining regardless."
"I started to feel that I couldn't be who I wanted to be or say what I actually thought."
From his early childhood, which was when — Khan confesses — he had learned the "crude tools of survival", to the simpler days when one married the first girl they dated and became an engineer if one could fix the car's carburettor, the megastar has come a long way.
He spoke about his move to Mumbai and his meteoric career trajectory. He was 40 years old and had done some 50 films, with about 200 songs. However, things began to change with the advent of the Internet. Everything he said was scrutinised, everything he did drew a comment, and hate was free-flowing.
"The future you, has to be like an ageing movie star, who has been made to believe that there is a possibility of a world which is completely, wholly, self-obsessively in love with itself."
"I started to feel that I couldn't be who I wanted to be or say what I actually thought," Khan revealed. "The whole world, and all of humanity, seemed as lost as I was."
What does that mean for the megastar today? As far as he is concerned, he is optimistic. You could be ageing, your popularity could be taking a hit, but that does not warrant the loss of hope for a better world.
"I've learned that whatever moves you, whatever urges you to create, build, whatever keeps you from failing, whatever helps you survive, is perhaps the oldest and the simplest emotion known to mankind, and that is love," Khan sums up eloquently.
"The future you, has to be like an ageing movie star, who has been made to believe that there is a possibility of a world which is completely, wholly, self-obsessively in love with itself," Khan wrapped up his straight talk with this thought-provoking quote.
The man himself posted a picture on Instagram for the event:
You can read the TED Blog here.