Shah Rukh Khan: 'When films didn't do well I was planning to start a restaurant called Red Chillies Food Eatery'

At a recent press conference in Mumbai post Pathaan's success, Shah Rukh Khan spoke with disarming honesty laced with his trademark wit about recent struggles.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

Shah Rukh Khan at the press conference and fan meet.

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At a recent press conference in Mumbai post Pathaan's success, Shah Rukh Khan spoke with disarming honesty laced with his trademark wit about recent struggles. "The last few years for me have had good parts and bad parts, like in all our lives, because of covid. For about two years I didn't work and hence got to spend time with the children, with my family and friends," he said, while sharing the stage with co-actors Deepika Padukone, John Abraham and director Siddharth Anand.

"My last film had not worked, and people were saying that now my films would not do well, so I started to think about alternate businesses. I started to learn cooking, especially Italian, so that I could start a restaurant called Red Chillies Food Eatery (after Red Chillies, his production company). Pathaan's director, Siddharth Anand loves eating food and I would make food and take it to the set daily, and he especially liked the pizzas I made," Khan said amid loud cheers from the audience, which comprised both the media and a huge chunk of his most ardent fans who had come dressed in Pathaan t-shirts and SRK posters.

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The 57-year-old then went on to talk about how through Pathaan he finally got to work with John Abraham, who he had first met when he came to Mumbai, but never got the opportunity to work together. "There is a famous saying that 'one scabbard can't hold two swords' but we managed to be part of the same film, post which I thought that if I'm part of a project with him I need to build my body. In fact, I felt like kissing him a few times too and John felt the same," he said, eliciting resounding excited hoots from the audience and a continuous chuckle from John.

At the end of its second Sunday, Pathaan seemed like an unstoppable force, grossing over INR 500 crores in India, and INR 800 crores globally. With its India collections, the film has set a huge record, now behind only Baahubali 2: The Conclusion at the top (INR 1,030 crores) followed by KGF Chapter 2 at INR 859 crore. At number three with INR 772 crore is RRR. When Pathaan crossed the INR 500-crore mark, they moved ahead of Baahubali (INR 421 crore) to come in at the fourth position. Earlier, it had also become the first film to cross INR 400 crores in India, simultaneously getting ahead of Aamir Khan's Dangal numbers.


However, to look at the film only as a box office blockbuster would be missing the totality of its achievements. In doing so, King Khan has made a phenomenal return, the scale of which no one had expected. The period in between included trying personal times when his son Aryan had been arrested and also the 'boycott Bollywood' brigade, which wasn't only a formidable force on social media, but had played a scary role in wiping out major films such as Aamir Khan's Laal Singh Chaddha. With a few weeks to go for its release, there had been protests at certain theatres and Pathaan film posters had been torn down, videos of which we had seen splashed all over our social media feeds.

However, somehow, a combination of reaching out to 'the powers above' as SRK stated in the press conference, the love of the fans and obviously a well-made film turned the unpredictable tide in his favour.

The author can be reached at and

Kabir Singh Bhandari

Senior Associate Editor

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