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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Shahrukh Khan goes global
Shahrukh Khan
Khan plays the tragic hero Devdas in the 2002 remake

Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan will appear at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this Saturday to talk about his career, the new pretenders to his crown, and why he does not like love stories.

Khan has been a household name in India ever since he first appeared in TV serial Fauji and soap opera Circus in the late 80s.

It may take a little longer for his name to trip off the tongue here, but with the resurging interest in Indian cinema in the UK, his popularity should be assured.

Film fans should recognise Khan from his recent appearances in Bollywood epics Asoka (which he also produced) and Devdas, where he took the lead roles in both films.

The remake of popular love story Devdas and the heroic tale of warrior king Asoka have been instrumental in fostering the globalisation of the Bollywood film industry.

Shahrukh Khan with co-star Aishwarya Rai
Devdas was an international success
Bollywood has been keen to push its films in Europe and the US recently, especially since the industry has not been doing as well in India of late.

Both films were heavily marketed in the West, with Devdas proving particularly successful after receiving a standing ovation at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The film was the most expensive Indian film ever made.

But Shahrukh Khan was not always destined to become an actor; in fact, he did not seriously enter the profession until 1989.

Born in New Delhi in 1965 to a middle class Muslim family, he always had an interest in amateur dramatics but was more focused on maintaining a good academic record.

The story of how his parents met is like something straight from a Bollywood film - his mother needed a blood transfusion after a car accident and his father, who happened to be at the hospital at the time, gave her his blood. Subsequently, they fell in love.

Asoka brought Khan worldwide fame
Khan performed well at school and went on to study economics at college before leaving to run a restaurant in his home city, setting him apart from many of India's big screen stars whose families have a film history.

In 1989, he moved to Bombay to pursue an acting career, landing a part in the TV army drama Fauji, before cutting his teeth in a soap opera, Circus.

His first film role was in Deewana in 1992 and since then, he has gone on to win several awards for his performances in Darr (1994), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Baadshah (1999).

It was Adi Chopra's Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge that catapulted the 36-year-old into the global spotlight.


The all-singing, all-dancing actor, who was once called India's answer to Tom Cruise, added another string to his bow when he formed his own film production and distribution company in 1999.

Perhaps by broadening his talents he was preparing for the day when he must pass on his Bollywood crown.

The latest industry whisper is that up and coming actor Hrithik Roshan - who recently starred in Mujhse Dosti Karoje - is already waiting in the wings.

If that is the case, he has a long way to go before achieving the same status as Shahrukh Khan.

See also:

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