If Shah Rukh Khan ever looks back upon 2012, we wonder if it would be with a sense of pride for ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’s’ box office success or with faint colour in his cheeks for his off-screen antics that kept the Bollywood king in the news headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Loyalties were divided, battle lines drawn and in the centre of the storm was Khan, maintaining a silence that was deafening and yet damning.
The year began on a note of fisticuffs and untoward public brawls, while a simmering war raged with one time good buddy Arjun Rampal, along with whispers of an alleged affair with Priyanka Chopra.
It all came crashing down with the loss of a father figure in Yash Chopra.
How and where did it all start to go wrong? Here’s the lowdown of Shah Rukh’s tumultuous 12 months and signs that either he hires a new publicist on signs on for anger management.
Start the year with fisticuffs
The superstar actor has been on a winning streak of bad luck with months of hardships, bad PR and stifling stories that has finally culminated in the ‘slapgate’ affair of January, which saw him allegedly assault former friend and filmmaker Shirish Kunder.
The same Kunder who is husband to one-time best friend Farah Khan.
The trio had a fall out a few years back when SRK rejected ‘Tees Maar Khan’, Kunder’s directorial venture, which resulted in a bitter parting.
What followed was the slapgate affair, when Khan apparently lost his cool in a nightclub and punched Kunder for badmouthing ‘Ra.One’, first on social media, and then that fateful night itself.
It all started when choreographer turned director, Farah husband, Kunder took to Twitter and said: “I just heard a 150 Cr firework fizzle,” referring to ‘Ra.One’s’ budget, which rumoured to have cost an astronomical Rs1.5 billion.
Insiders say that it was this very tweet that caused brouhaha in the wee hours that fateful morning at Sanjay Dutt’s party.
Is there more to the story than what is being reported in the media, or is it a simple case of a stress-fuelled midlife crisis that has finally snapped Khan into picking fights with friends?
It was only after Farah’s brother Sajid Khan intervened that the trio has called a true.
Although insiders say that the bitterness still simmers between the two men, while Farah maintains a dignified silence.
Let the rumour mills churn as they whisper Priyanka Chopra
While the ‘Ra.One’ fiasco was slowly fading into the background, stories gradually started to filter out that all was not well in the Khan household between Shah Rukh and wife Gauri.
This news came as a shocker for many considering in the notorious corridors of Bollywood, where fidelity is considered just as fickle as your friendships, the Shah Rukh-Gauri marriage was above reproach.
While married actors were being linked with all and sundry, Shah Rukh’s status as a faithful husband was never brought into question. Not until people started to whisper a certain name: Priyanka Chopra.
Shah Rukh’s co-star in several films, the actress and him apparently started to get cosy during the shoot of ‘Don 2’.
Things heated up, allegedly, during the film’s promotions, which even saw the duo jet into Dubai last December with director Farhan Akhtar.
But those whispers became talk when stories filtered out that Gauri refused to let Priyanka into her house for the film’s wrap up party.
Shortly after, Gauri’s close pal Neelam Kothari was being named as the person who was spreading such nasty rumuours. But the former actress, turned jewellery designer, denied such was the case.
Finally, things came to head when news of a clandestine 3am meeting between Shahrukh and Priyanka emerged, prior to the Zee Cine Awards in Macau in February of this year, where incidentally, Gauri gave the younger actress an open snub during rehearsals for the same.
The stories spun out of control to a point when even best buddy Karan Johar got involved and started a war of words with Priyanka before the two finally called a truce later in the year.
While, both Shah Rukh and Gauri have maintained a dignified silence on this matter, the actor continues to add fuel to the fire by recently telling the media that he wants to work with Priyanka in a movie again.
Have yet another public brawl for some more bad press
Come May and he had done it again.
Just when you thought it was safe to skim through the Bollywood gossip pages, Shah Rukh went ahead and filled the section with R-rated column inches courtesy of yet another alleged drunken brawl – this time with the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
With a lifetime ban on entering Mumbai’s prestigious Wankhede Stadium, Shah Rukh managed to upset cricketing officials, the state government and fans for supposedly abusing security officials who were only performing their duties.
In words of MCA treasurer Ravi Savant to Times of India, he said: “He [Shah Rukh] misbehaved and abused the MCA security personnel, as well as
MCA officials, including our president Vilasrao Deshmukh, after the IPL match (between KKR and Mumbai Indians).”
No comment from the Shah Rukh camp was ever issued on the incident, but then the actor has not been one to punch and tell if his last few altercations are any indication.
Start weeding out old friends such as the Rampals
One-time best buddies, Shah Rukh and Arjun Rampal were inseparable – even spending New Year’s Eve together in Dubai – but all allegedly went sour post ‘Ra.One’ and the rift is for all to see.
Rumours were afloat during the shooting of ‘Ra.One’ that the two actors were indulging in a war of words on the sets, but it was only a few months later that close pals of the two started gossiping when Shah Rukh and wife Gauri decided to skip Rampal’s and wife Mehr’s 14th wedding anniversary celebrations.
Considering that the Rampals would always be one of the first few to arrive at any celebration by the Khans, this absence was being called ominous by many.
Insiders say reasons for the rift were also over an argument the Rampals had with Shah Rukh, defending Gauri when the actor’s ‘close relationship’ with co-star Priyanka Chopra came under scrutiny.
Khan wasn’t impressed with the intrusion.
The rift hit headlines once again in November at the sidelines of the Marrakech International Film Festival when wife Mehr threw a birthday party for
Arjun and it was said that even though Shah Rukh attended the event, he failed to show for the party.
Smile for the cameras even after a personal tragedy
It was no secret that Shah Rukh shares a very close relationship with the late Yash Chopra’s family.
However, close friends of the actor say that he took the sudden demise of Chopra due to complications from dengue very personally.
In fact, Shah Rukh was by the bedside of his ailing father figure, with whom he worked on in the latter’s final film, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’.
But despite his personal loss, the show must go on. And within a few days, the actor was on stage, dancing at a Diwali function with a smile on his face.
The film went on to become a box office success, despite some negative reviews, and the actor can now only look ahead at 2013 more positively.
Only time will tell if Khan emerges as a hero in the next few months or seals his fate with continued erratic behaviour.