MUMBAI: When failure struck him while handling his Indian Premiere League (IPL) team – Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – he took it in his stride. Except for few times, the king Khan always came across as an encouraging team leader, who did everything needed to gear up “his boys”. In the last six editions of the IPL, the team has seen many ups and downs.
Shah Rukh Khan finds his team’s story to be an “incredibly compelling one” from start to finish and thus as the IPL is set to enter its seventh edition, Discovery Channel will present the riveting story of the team’s transformation – from a group of struggling players in the early years to their emergence as formidable champion of the league – in a four-part series, titled Living with KKR from 24 February to 27 February at 8 pm.
“When you’ve won once, and you see yourself on the verge of loss, just overcome your difficulties. I may sound materialistic, but forget emotions, and go ahead and bloody well win, or else you wouldn’t have your own documentary!” quipped Shah Rukh while launching the series on Friday at Taj Lands End.
When asked if he has a say in the management and functioning of the team? “Well, there is no creative input from my side in cricket as compared to films, where I do have a say.”
And like always, he was at his witty best when asked if being a Bollywood superstar has helped in making the team more popular. “Nobody remembers the excellent captaincy of Gautam Gambhir during that last match, where the ball went out the boundary, but people remember me picking up my daughter. So, yes, being popular has its own advantages,” he cheekily remarked.
Not just that, when a question was raised on the much talked about “superstition” surrounding the decisions being taken regarding the team, he had few interesting anecdotes to share. “When people don’t have anything to blame, they blame superstition. There were moments when people said, ‘kale ko neela kardo, jeet jaaoge’, and in fact, Juhi (Chawla) felt quite strongly about the colour! Also, when our team used to bat first, I used to leave late from the hotel thinking if we lose wickets early it is difficult to smile and cheer in front of people. And during that last match when Gautam Gambhir was out, I prayed, and there haven’t been a lot of time where I’ve had to pray because I know, whenever I pray, it comes true, or damn close to it.”
Khan also remarked that the IPL matches have been the most watched program on Indian television in the last five years, making it one of the most successful ventures of his career. During this year’s IPL auctions, KKR lost three of its veteran ball players – Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Mohammed Shami and Manoj Tiwary – but Khan remains undeterred, “We hope all the very best for Laxmi, Shami and Manoj. I do hope they flourish in their respective teams, and hope they can make it for our matches.” He continued, “And we have quite a good team on our hands now with younger Bengali players. We have a strong team town with Gautam Gambhir heading it.”