Shah Rukh Khan, informally referred to as SRK, is an Indian film actor. Often referred to as “The King of Bollywood”, Khan has acted in over 70 Hindi films. In 2005, the Government of India honored him with the Padma Shri for his contributions towards Indian Cinema.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, he started his career appearing in theatre and several television serials in the late 1980s. Early in his career he was recognized for his unconventional choice of negative roles in films such as Darr (1993), Baazigar (1993) and Anjaam (1994). Since then he has played leading roles in a wide variety of film genres, including romantic films, comedies, thrillers, action sports and historical dramas.
Eleven of the films he has acted in have accumulated worldwide gross earnings of over 1 billion dollars. Khan’s films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hata Hai (1998), Devdas (2002), Chak De! India (2007), Om Shanti Om (2007) and Ra One (2011) remain some of Bollywood’s biggest hits, while films like My Name is Khan (2010) and Don 2 (2011) have been top-grossing Indian productions in the overseas markets, thus making him one of the most successful leading actors of India.
In addition to movie acting, Khan is a television presenter, a regular stage performer, and a social activist. He is the founder/owner of two production companies: Dreamz Unlimited and Red Chillies Entertainment, and, along with actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, the owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders. Globally, Khan is considered to be one of the biggest movie stars, with a fan following claimed to number in the billions. In 2008, Newsweek named him one of the 50 most powerful people in the world.
Khan was born on November 2, 1965, to Muslim parents of Pathan descent in New Delhi, India. His father, Taj Mohammed Khan, was an Indian independence activist from Peshawar, British India. According to Khan, his paternal grandfather was originally from Afghanistan. His mother, Lateef Fatima, was the adopted daughter of Major General Shah Nawaz Khan who served in the Indian National Army. Khan’s father came to New Delhi from Peshawar before the partition of India.
After the death of his parents, Khan moved to Mumbai in 1991. He married Gauri Chibber, a Hindu, in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. They have two children, son Aryan (b. 1997) and daughter Suhana (b. 2000). According to Khan, while he strongly believes in Allah, he also values his wife’s religion. At home, his children follow both religions, with the Qur’an placed next to the Hindu deities.
Khan studied acting under celebrated theatre director Barry John at Delhi’s “Theatre Action Group” (TAG). In 2007, John commented of his former pupil, “The credit for the phenomenally successful development and management of Khan’s career goes to the superstar himself.”
Khan is known for keeping a low profile and secrecy on his social commitments and Humanitarian work. Apart from regular donations to organizations and individuals, especially in the case ofAIDS and cancer patients, he is behind the creation of a children’s ward at the Nanavati hospital in Mumbai, in memory of his late mother. Khan is also active with relief funds when the Indian nation faces a natural calamity. He also lent his name to various government campaigns throughout the years, notably those of Pulse Polio immunization campaign, which was established in 1995 to eradicate poliomyelitis in India by vaccinating all children under the age of five years against the polio virus.
More recently in 2007, he collaborated with veteran artist M.F. Husain to create a canvas in celebration of 60 years of Indian independence at a charity auction in Bonhams, London. The painting sold for over 12 million dollars.
During his 2009 appearance at the NDTV Greenathon, Khan adopted five villages in Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara, to provide them with electricity under the solar energy-harnessing project in its title initiative ‘Light A Billion Lives’. The following year, he adopted eight more villages, and again adopted eleven during his appearance in in the third edition of the event.
In 2009, Khan committed to bear all the expenses for the treatment of two Kashmiri orphan children who suffered severe burns during a terrorist grenade attack in Srinagar. He also visited the two orphans at the hospital. In 2011 he was honored with the UNESCO’s Pyramide con Marni award for his charity engagements and social commitment towards providing education for children, thus becoming the first Indian to win the accolade. Later that year, Khan was appointed by The UNOPS to be the first global ambassador of The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council that works to improve the lives of poor people by enhancing sanitation quality and water supply.