Why Do So Many Women Love SRK The Actor And The Man So Unabashedly?

We typically see a great deal of respect from the man for the women IRL. The way he champions women and their causes - this is SRK using his power for good.

“I thank my sister, wife and daughter for bringing me up well”, said Shah Rukh Khan when speaking at World Economic Forum in Davos some years ago. Over the years we have seen the King of Romance numerous times on the silver screen and have also seen SRK as the champion of women IRL. Even if the cynics dismiss his pronouncements as cleverly choreographed and his feminism as performative, he nevertheless sets a valuable example.

I was always more of an admirer of SRK the man rather than the actor. After reading Shrayana Bhattacharya’s Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh : India’s Lonely Young Women and the Search for Intimacy and Independence and more recently watching Pathaan, I’m starting to get the fascination for the man and the actor. It isn’t just the undeniable charm or the unconventional looks there are many more reasons women love SRK:

The need to be loved utterly in women

Witness the complete focus the man has on the woman (Kajol) in this video. He pulls her into an embrace without it feeling like an encroachment. He appears to be asking permission at every stage. This is the way every woman wants to be loved: single-mindedly, devotedly, utterly.

I may be a feminist but I am not immune to that kind of laser-focused, self-affirming emotion. The cerebral part of my brain would scorn the silly story, even titter at what I call SRK’s two and a half expressions in lieu of acting – but I understand.

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In our country, where PDA is frowned on and a loving husband often dismissed as a joru ka ghulam (or henpecked), women crave this unvarnished, unapologetic type of love. When Shah Rukh throws open his arms in his trademark style and invites one in, a part of the brain screams ‘cheesy’! But that same brain can also understand how that would be quite irresistible for so many women hungry for love, as the women in Bhattacharya’s book find.


Each of the women in her book simply want the kind of love, the acceptance, regard from the men in their lives. These women may like Khan’s latter day avatar as the action hero a lot less, but even there, his devotion is as evident. When he gazes into Deepika Padukone’s eyes in Pathaan, the action hero becomes secondary – there again we have the man at the mercy of his emotions just for a few moments.


One may argue that films starring Shah Rukh Khan have as much casual sexism and overt misogyny as any other film and they wouldn’t be wrong. However, we typically see a great deal of respect from the man for the women IRL. The way he champions women and their causes, acid-attack victims for instance — this is SRK using his power for good.

When he thanked his wife, sister, daughter for bringing him up well, he also speaks about learning respect and consent. “They taught me the value of requesting and imploring a ‘yes’ from a woman instead of forcing it upon them.” Such humility is disarming, even if one may argue that such public utterances are carefully rehearsed and made.

Public probity, dignity in the face of adversity


Khan has always conducted himself with probity and appears to treat his wife with dignity and respect – at least in public, and never misses the chance to speak about how much his family means to him.

When his son Aryan was arrested on what were clearly trumped-up drug charges, he was the picture of dignity. Clearly suffering, he refrained from public outbursts and accusations. This endeared him even more to his adoring public. Many of his women fans identified with the parent in him and redoubled their support of him.

Pathaan’s success is SRK’s success

Fans had been missing seeing him in movies. They had been seeing how this symbol of syncretic India was maligned and slandered because of his identity. They saw how his son was targeted because he was his son.

Quite simply, too many people love the man for this film not to be the gargantuan hit it turned out to be. Here, Shah Rukh Khan the actor and the man fused together – for those that love him, it doesn’t matter where one ends and the other starts.

As for his legions women admirers, they are like Deepika in this video – dabbing surreptitiously at their tears – simply because they are that moved by his sincerity, his matchless charm, self-deprecating humour and the love he so unabashedly expresses.

Want a copy of this book?

If you’d like to pick up Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh : India’s Lonely Young Women and the Search for Intimacy and Independence written by Shrayana Bhattacharya, use our affiliate links at Amazon Indiaand at Amazon US.

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Image source: a still from DDLJ

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About the Author

Reena Daruwalla

A former lawyer, now freelance writer, fauji wife, mother, singer, knitter and lover of my own cooking, I have altogether too many opinions and too few convictions. The more I learn the more I am read more...

38 Posts | 27,008 Views

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