Okay. I'm going to put this out right up front. I do not like Shahrukh Khan. I don't like his films. I don't like how he acts and don't think I'll ever understand why my mother's eyes gleam that special gleam (just like so many other women) when she sees him on television or in a film. Maybe it's just jealousy. Maybe it's just the fact that I have good taste. But that's not the point right now.
I was going through the news to work on a current affair comedy show I'm currently writing for when I came across this article on the Hindustan Times website. (I strongly suggest you read it if you haven't already) But if you do not wish to, the article basically "calls out" SRK for not giving credit to J.K Rowling for some lines he used in the speech.
Initially, I was glad. The more a public figure messes up, the more ammo I have as a comedian to spread a little joy through some critical observation veiled as a joke. I think every comedian has a strong responsibility towards society and him/herself to talk about issues that matter. And though gossip about an actor may not be something that one would imagine carries much weight, the fact is that an actor in SRK's position MUST give credit to his sources. So I did what any obsessive-compulsive, insomniac comedian with an internet access would do. I google the blog post the article was sourced from, Then I googled and heard/read the AIMA speech. At this point I was licking my lips at the prospect of this little take-down I had perfectly planned in my head. That was until I read the following:
"Let me forewarn you, this is a recycled speech. Whenever I am called to give speeches at ypo or some such big organisation…I use this speech. Its generic…simple…and makes me give no commitment in our first meeting. Somewhat like the corporate world itself."
I'm not sure if this is exactly how SRK wrote it (if he did, expect jokes on his grammar soon) but those lines got me thinking. Maybe there was something I was missing out. Maybe there was more to this and maybe I was pointing my finger at someone prematurely. Now I know these words sound odd coming from a comedian. But the fact is that I take my jokes seriously. I make sure I know what and who I'm making fun of.
I searched the many dark depths of the internet (and my facebook friends list) and caught hold of the YPO speech *that SRK was referring to. (Knowing SRK fan girls has it's advantages) When I read it I realised that he had clearly quoted JK Rowling in the speech.
My likes and dislikes aside, I respect him as much as I respect anyone else and so I believe that we should judge him by the same standard as we would judge anyone else with. Must one really harp on a mistake such as this? The man's probably given that speech 50 times. He forgot to quote her once. Why resort to death by over-analysis? Is there really nothing else that is as important as this right now? Let's move on.
*The speech has been copy-pasted from what my friend sent me. She was present at the time and wrote it all down. I've put the JK Rowling references in bold.