If you haven't already heard of Shah Rukh Khan — First, where have you been? Second, why?! — it's beyond time to get to know the Bollywood megastar.
When he isn't dominating headlines in South Asia or trending all over news aggregation apps, the 57-year-old Indian icon is cranking out big-budget, Hindi-language films. With his physical energy and magnetic charm, he's been bolstering the billion-dollar movie business in Asia for years, including with two blockbusters this year: the action-packed "Pathaan" and the revenge thriller "Jawan." The films mark his cinematic comeback after a four-year hiatus, and they've broken several box-office records of his own making.
"SRK is indeed one of the most iconic and popular Indian film stars ever," said Rajkumar Akella, the managing director of Comscore Movies India, who is based in Hyderabad, India. "His appeal and cultural influence on India and Indian diaspora and even global audiences are far larger than the box office data can ever justify."
To date, the actor has appeared in at least 109 titles — per IMDb — during his decadeslong career. Reps for SRK couldn't respond by the time of publication to the L.A. Times' request for comment.
Here are some key facts to know about the influential cinema icon:
He goes by SRK
Sometimes you might see his named spelled Shahrukh Khan too, but he's affectionately known as SRK to his fans and active social-media following. His many other nicknames include the regal "King Khan," "Baadshah of Bollywood," "King of Romance" and, occasionally, Bollywood's "most important cultural export," with his star power likened to that of Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks — combined.
The New Delhi-born entertainer grew up in the industrial west coast port city of Mangalore. He described himself on social media in 2010 as "half Hyderabadi (mother), half Pathan (father), and some Kashmiri (grandmother)."
Since we're on the topic of fractions, SRK is one-third of the affectionately regarded "Bollywood Khan triumvirate" that also boasts Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, none of whom are related.
SRK succeeded influential Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan, who was known as the Angry Young Man of Indian Cinema during his reign over Indian theaters from 1973 until the turn of the century, Akella said. But what's unique about SRK's ascent to stardom is that he doesn't hail from an influential film family. Instead, the Baadshah of Bollywood trod the more humbling boards of TV sound stages.
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