From being a part-time door-to-door detergent salesman as a kid to turning into the Bad Man of Bollywood, actor Gulshan Grover has a true blue rags to riches story. His recently released memoir, Bad Man, has all such details and more. But there is one unheard story from his life that he couldn’t add in the book —how Shah Rukh Khan helped him realise his Hollywood dream.
The 63-year-old actor recalls, “Shah Rukh and I were working in director Aziz Mirza’s movie Yes Boss (1997) and that time, I had got selected for a Hollywood movie The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo (1997) to play the main antagonist. It was the final call for me to come to Hollywood and sign the film. I was in a big dilemma and before turning down the offer, I went to Shah Rukh and made him read the script. He insisted that I should take the first flight to Hollywood.”
The actor developed cold feet thinking about the repercussions of leaving the movie midway but Khan came to his rescue. “I was so scared thinking the director would sue me for doing this or cut my salary for making the loss. But Shah Rukh said, ‘Tu ja, agar tereko kisika phone aaya bhi, you come and catch me. I will handle the situation here. You go my friend, sigh this film and make us proud,” Gulshan says.
After he reached the US to sign the film, the actor had to fight another battle as not everyone was convinced about him coming on board. “They said that I’ll not be able to deliver. I was replaced by another actor but after shooting for two days with him, the director was not convinced and he only wanted an Indian actor with big eyes to play the role. Finally, I was called back and since then there was no looking back,” Gulshan says.
Giving credit to Khan for helping him make his Hollywood dream come true, the actor says, “I owe my Hollywood career to Shah Rukh Khan. He gave wings to my dreams. If he would not have pushed me that night to take the first flight for Hollywood, this would not have happened.”
After completing one-month shooting in Hollywood, the actor returned to India and went up straight to the sets to meet the director. “I thought Aziz sir would be very angry with me and might take a drastic step against me. But to my utter surprise, he didn’t say anything. He was happy that I was back and asked me to resume the shooting,” says Gulshan, who has starred in Hollywood films such as Beeper (2002), Blind Ambition (2008), Desperate Endeavours (2011) and Prisoners Of The Sun (2013).