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'King Khan' is world's second richest actor

Publication Date : 26-05-2014


He is known as "King Khan" for being top of the heap in Bollywood, the world's largest film industry.

And last week, actor Shah Rukh Khan, or simply SRK to his adoring fans, added another gem to his crown - he was named the second richest actor in the world on a Wealth-X Hollywood and Bollywood Rich List.

Khan, 48, the only Indian actor to make the list with a personal fortune of US$600 million, is behind only American comedian Jerry Seinfeld and ahead of Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp.

But in his typical semi-serious style, he brushed off the achievement, saying it does not "define" him and that comparing him to Cruise and Depp is "needless".

"I think I am rich because I have beautiful children," Khan, who has three children aged 17, 14 and one, told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

The humility is for real, which is why the reactions to his being named the world's second richest movie star have been largely positive, with the consensus on social media sites being that it "couldn't have happened to a nicer guy".

He is also witty and outspoken and has an ability to poke fun at himself, qualities that set him apart from other stars and endeared him to the masses.

Khan is hardworking as well, going from New Delhi to Mumbai, India's film capital, as a starry-eyed young man in his mid-20s and working his way up quickly to choice roles, but also taking whatever came his way, sometimes picking roles considered to be unconventional or negative such as that of an obsessive lover or killer in films such as Darr and Baazigar.

However, as he established himself as a bankable lead actor, he went on to deliver blockbuster hits through love stories such as Dil To Pagal Hai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Khan was born in New Delhi in 1965. He lost his transport contractor father when he was 15, and his mother, a magistrate, when he was 25.

Apart from acting, he has danced at weddings of the ultra-rich and appears at stage shows for a price, making no bones about the fact that he will do pretty much anything for money as long as it is not illegal.

He also has a keen business sense, setting up a successful movie production company and co-owning a popular cricket club. He has endorsed everything from colas to cars and watches to whisky and hosted the Indian version of the TV show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Some critics have not approved of several of his activities while others have said he is an actor with a limited repertoire.

But Khan has been an all-rounder since young, juggling studies and sport in school, and graduating with an honours degree in economics from Hansraj College. So it is no surprise that he should dip his toes in so many things apart from the 83 films he has acted in.

Khan is married to Gauri Chibber, 43, a Hindu, and they bring up their children in both their religions, Islam and Hinduism.

But as a public figure, he has had more than his fair share of controversies.

There was tension reported between him and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan over seating at an awards event in Dubai a decade back; he was reportedly involved in a spat with actor friend Salman Khan at a birthday party which resulted in them parting ways. And he has had run-ins with the right-wing Hindu party Shiv Sena in Mumbai as he pushed for the participation of Pakistani cricket players in India's T20 league.

He has also been seen in the company of members of the Gandhi family at a cricket match, sparking speculation about his political leanings.

His biggest scraps, however, were when he was detained by the United States authorities for two hours at Newark airport in 2009 and again for 90 minutes at a small airport near New York in 2012, apparently because of his last name.

The two nearly became diplomatic incidents and the US embassy in Delhi even apologised in 2012 for the inconvenience caused to the actor. As for Khan, he responded with tongue firmly in cheek.

"Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America," he was reported to have told his audience at Yale University after the second incident. "The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom."

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