“It’s alright Senorita, Bade Bade Deshon Mein, Aisi Choti Choti Baatein Hoti Rahti Hain.”
When I was in the 4th grade, I got a whole room to myself, and my parents gave me a free run to express myself and decorate my room in whichever way I liked. I was the classic teenage girl and I painted my room entirely in pink. I hung up a string of fairy lights and felt so proud of my big girl room. Now all that was left was to buy some posters to fill up the big empty walls. I was confused and I kept changing my mind. One day I wanted a Daniel Radcliffe poster (the first harry potter movie had just released) , one day I wanted the Beatles (yes I listened to the Beatles in fourth grade), my mind would run around in a thousand different directions. And then it hit me, for my very first poster, I would buy a poster of Shahrukh Khan. Shahrukh Khan defined Bollywood for me. He was the quintessential romantic hero, and when he said his dialogues on screen, my 11 year old heart would just melt. His movies took me to another world, a world of happily ever afters, and damsels in distress and knights in shining armor.
Of course I grew up, and under peer pressure replaced Shahrukh’s poster with a poster of the Beatles eventually, but for me it was Shahrukh’s poster that transported me into another world. I would lay at night and stare at his poster on my wall and dream of my own prince charming. Even though now I’m a die hard feminist and scoff at the mention of marriage, every time I hear his dialogue from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, the 11 year old girl inside me still swoons.
Today for me Shahrukh is so much more that just that, he represents a generation of people who believed in the power of their dreams and became successful on their own terms. He came to Mumbai with literally nothing and today is the unbiased superstar of Bollywood.
He’s come a long way, and so have I, but the memory of choosing and buying my first poster is still close to my heart.