Sanjay Gupta recalls Shah Rukh Khan`s fearless stand against underworld bullying

Shah Rukh Khan`s Jawan is the current talk of the town. With Bollywood stars, critics and audience praising the film for providing wholesome entertainment, theatres are going houseful. Amid the success of Jawan, director Sanjay Gupta visited a theatre to watch the film. On X (Twitter originally), the filmmaker shared an anecdote and praised Shah Rukh.

Recalling the time when underworld bullying plagued the film industry, Sanjay wrote, “I saw JAWAN. I feel compelled to share this. Back in the 90’s when the underworld bullying of the film stars was at its peak @iamsrk was THE ONLY star who never gave in. “Goli marni hai mar do, par tumhaare liye kaam nahin karoonga. Main Pathan hoon.” He said. He’s the same today.”

According to reports, journalist and author Anupama Chopra stated in her book, King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema, that in 1997, Rakesh Maria, the former Maharashtra DGP, received the information that gangster Abu Salem was on the prowl, looking for an opportunity to assassinate the superstar. The information was reportedly passed through Mahesh Bhatt. The incident reportedly took place right after the murder of music Mogul, Gulshan Kumar. 

The reason behind the same was apparently Shah Rukh`s denial to do a film which was being made by a producer close to the gangster. Immediately after the intel, the superstar was given extra security. Shah Rukh said to Anupama in the book that he did not fear for his life as much as those of his wife and children. “I had this strange misplaced confidence that I will not get shot,” he said. 

In a viral throwback interview from the `90s, Shah Rukh spoke about the underworld mafia making Bollywood a soft target. He said in an interview, “We are the biggest industry in India right now or the easiest industry to take on right now. We`re the largest producers of films in the world. They do try to back a film, they try to create a product. They`ve four-five of their guys here and they`ll say, okay, Shah Rukh you`ve got to do this film, or X hero you have to do this film, X heroine you`ve to do this film. And I said, `Who`s the producer?` He said, `Okay, this is the guy we`re sending. Talk to him, sign the film.` So, if you`re scared for life then you sign it. If you`re ready to take your chances, you say `I`m not going to sign it`.”

SRK talking about the underworld and their influence on Bollywood
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Jawan, directed by Atlee, also stars Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi, Sanya Malhotra, Priyamani, Ridhi Dogra, Sunil Grover, Girija Oak Godbole, Ashlesha Thakur, Lehar Khan and others in pivotal roles. Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Dutt feature in the film in special yet crucial cameo roles.