Fifty-one years ago a star was born on November 2. Shah Rukh Khan, an industry outsider with a theatre and television background, made his cinema debut in Deewana (1992) and there’s been no looking back since then. Over his 25-year career, the actor has played Vijays, Arjuns, Ajays and Aruns in several films. The two names that he has played over and over again are perhaps Rahul and Raj. Two common names he made popular, associating cheesy romance and all things mushy.
Take a look at our top five Rajs and Rahuls played by SRK:
Raj Mathur in Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman
In Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1993), SRK played an unemployed engineer desperate for some validation. He was the sweet boy who finished last, similar to the tramp who becomes rich but realises that love is all that matters. Determined but devoted to his lady love (Juhi Chawla), Raj is quick to learn and quick to redeem himself after tasting the seemingly deceitful world of the rich. He also first said ‘palat’, a dialogue made more famous in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
Raj Malhotra in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
1995 was an important year for SRK. Not only did he play the reincarnated son of Durga Singh (played by Rakhi) in Karan Arjun, he also played brother to Salman Khan on-screen for the first time – paving the way for numerous sibling-like bonhomie in the future.
It was also the year SRK played Raj Malhotra, the banjo-playing, fiddling-with-a-stranger’s-bra-on-the-train kinda boy who fails year after year, ruins many lives, and yet runs off with the girl of his dream because, “Jaa, Simran, jaa. jee le apni zindagi…”
His role in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was also just the first of many Raj Malhotra-like roles SRK ended up playing later on in his career. And the many dialogues that ended up being popular catchphrases, one of which even former US President Obama quoted like a pro.
Raj a.k.a Baadshah in Baadshah
A bumbling detective who goes by the name of Baadshah even though he’s really a Raj on the inside. He tries to be smooth, but fails. He tries to be serious, but comic timing comes calling. He tries to woo the lady, save the world, and fight villains all at the same time. And yet, he’s charming when he does it all. SRK was funny in this film, considering his job included playing a detective who doesn’t take himself too seriously but turns out to be much smarter than what people thought. It’s also one of the few funny movies by Abbas-Mustan. This film also earned him the moniker of ‘Baadshah of Bollywood’.
Raj Aryan Malhotra in Mohabbatein
Gelled hair, drab clothes in sober colours, thin-rimmed glasses and a violin in tow, with a perpetual look of sadness on his face – Raj Aryan Malhotra was just a poor soul who tells his students to live their lives freely while he mourns the loss of his beloved in silence. Considering how so far, the Rajs SRK has played really dote on their lady love. But imagine a Raj who loses the love of his life – there’s sadness and a whole lot of anger. Despite losing her years ago, he still holds their relationship together with her… ghost. But he also gives it back to Amitabh Bachchan, the despotic father who ruined everything between the two lovers.
Raj in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Surinder Sahni, the meek man married to the once-upon-a-time vivacious Taani, really wants to impress the girl he married under unfortunate circumstances. She likes macho, colourful men, whereas he’s none of that. So he goes out of his way to impress by being someone else – a Raj who can’t dance for nuts but is hella charming. It beats us how she never figured out that the two men are the same person, but at least we get a Raj who dances and gives her a good time knowing she has a dull life ahead of her.
Rahul Joshi in Yes Boss
The loyal servant who realises that his boss isn’t quite as perfect as he thought – the easy Rahul Joshi was manipulated throughout the film, only to watch him realise that love is all that matters. The film is eerily similar to Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, where SRK walks away with Juhi Chawla, happy, at the end. But while Raj was less like a lap dog and more like a vulnerable man, Rahul is childish and way too naive to be under a boss like Siddharth played by Aditya Pancholi.
Rahul Raichand in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
The rich (and adopted) Rahul Raichand falls in love with a bubbly manic pixie dream girl from Chandni Chowk. Opposition from his despotic father (played by Amitabh Bachchan again) leaves them to fend for themselves but that’s okay. We watch a man who actually sticks up to the man who keep taunting him about being adopted ergo he has no choice but to listen to everything he says. When Rahul leaves the country, he looks happier and does really well for himself in London. And he and Anjali are a couple meant to be, where they finish each others sentence and pretty much know what’s on each their minds. #CoupleGoals
Rahul Mehra in Darr
Yes, he plays a psychopath in this film where goes to lengths to be with the woman he is obsessed with – K…kkiran. But he’s only on this list because SRK does a stellar job in making us afraid of stalkers. His portrayal as the rich, bratty and extremely dangerous Rahul Mehra is a case study on how stalkers must be taken seriously instead of brushing it off.
What served as a perfect handbook on stalking that one girl who rejects you many times, went on to be a “blockbuster” at the domestic as well as overseas box office.
Not only did SRK’s Rahul try everything out in the rule book, he even went one step ahead in finding the couple’s honeymoon location out in the most vicious way. Especially at an era when there was no Facebook or check-ins!
The dejected anti-hero with a stutter who only wanted the love of his life to love him back is stuff of nightmares, and continues to be relevant given the alarming cases of stalking in the country now.
Rahul Mithaiwala in Chennai Express
He’s a 40-something man heir to a chain of confectionery stores in Mumbai. He has money, the looks, and everything except a woman in his life. He meets 20-something Meena while on a train named Chennai Express and while they initially get off to a rocky start because of the men chasing her and the drama in her village, and so on, somewhere in between, they fall in love. For once, SRK plays a lead hero close to his actual age and makes fun of himself romancing younger actresses. He also gets very meta in this movie, paying tribute to a lot of iconic scenes from his older movies such as DDLJ, K3G and so on.
Rahul Khanna in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Rahul Khanna is sexist and mansplains all the time. He wears a chain that says ‘cool’ and tight fitting, shiny clothes that leave little room to breathe. The film was a cult classic but it also served as a reminder of how every other characters transform and grow, but Rahul Khanna continues to be the man-child who refuses to believe that Anjali is a better basketball player than him.