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I'm a better father than an actor, says Shah Rukh Khan

Inside Mannat, it is difficult to tell what hour of the day it is -- mobile phones ring incessantly, marketing and publicity plans in the run up to Chennai Express release are being discussed, over 20 journalists await their chance to interview the film's stars, trays laden with sandwiches and other food items are brought in at regular intervals for everyone present.
 
The constant flow of caffeine and nicotine -- the two things that are sustaining all those present -- betray the fact that it is perhaps an unearthly hour.
 
At 1 am, the caffeine and nicotine also prove to be the unifying factors -- between a boss and his team, between an interviewee and his interviewers, between a film star and everyone else present.
 
In the hours that he has been seated in his office, Shah Rukh Khan has sipped on endless cups of black coffee even as flecks of ash rest on his black Pathani kurta pyjama.
 
Lighting a cigarette as he settles back into the couch, the actor confesses: "I like to work through the night and go to bed at 6 am. I sleep very few hours in a day, a habit I cultivated at a very young age."
 
In Class V, he returned home after an exam and overslept by six hours. When he woke up panicking about his History exam the following day, Shah Rukh Khan's father, offering him a glass of orange juice and head massage, told him that he had the whole night to study.
 
"But I got weary by 3.30 am. So my father asked me to sleep while he sat by my bed, reading out chapter after chapter to me as I slept. The next day I seemed to remember everything. The following night I managed to stay up till 4.30 am and the day after that till 6am, so my father didn't have to read out to me at all. That's been my routine ever since."
 
On weekends, much to his wife's protests, his son Ayan and daughter Suhana stay up till the wee hours too, spending time with the father they sometimes don't get to see for weeks.
 
Keen to add to the the joy of parenthood, Shah Rukh Khan recently became a father once again -- his wife Gauri and he had a baby boy, AbRam, through surrogacy.
 
Although celebrations are underway, they have not come without a spot of controversy regarding speculation of gender determination tests.
 
"These days, I have started to expect controversies four times a year," admits Shah Rukh Khan who seems to have turned into controversy's favourite child over the last few years with incidents such as his public brawl with filmmaker Shirish Kunder and a fight with a Wankhede Stadium official that resulted him being banned from entry into the venue among other incidents.
 
But Shah Rukh Khan says that contrary to what is being perceived, he isn't short-tempered.
 
"But the four times I do lose my temper makes it to news and turns into controversy," he quips.
 
The 47-year-old may puts up a brave front when it comes to controversies, but he isn't immune to anxiety that precedes a film's release.
 
Shah Rukh Khan says he is following a relentless publicity schedule in order to keep the thoughts about film's reception at bay.
 
"It is the filmmaking process that I love; to wake up in the morning and prep for a shot. I don't like to hurry my directors because I savour the creative process; it's something I have learned from Dilip (Kumar) saab. There are moments in a film that no one will find magical but I remember them for the challenge they may have presented while shooting," he explains.
 
Yet, Shah Rukh Khan doesn't aspire to turn either writer or director.
 
He believes that every job is best done by one specialises in it. However, a voracious reader, Khan does have stories to tell.
 
They come in form of children's stories, he says, which he pens for his children.
 
"And I am writing a book; incidents and events of my life that I may some day publish. But even if I don't I want it all filed away for my children to read some day. They may not understand me now but I want them to know later why I do what I do. It may help explain also to my fans what I find difficult to clarify when controversies happen," he says.
 
Shah Rukh Khan realises that although he shares a deep relationship with his children, their view may be clouded by the star status he has and the unusual life he lives. Thoughful, he adds, "I want to recreate for them what my parents gave me. I think I am a batter father than an actor."
 


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