A Movie Ranking: Shah Rukh Khan

I haven’t done one of these actor-specific movie ranking posts in a while but after delving deep into Hindi movies for the last couple of months it didn’t take long before I saw an SRK film. And once I started, I couldn’t stop.

I now understand why Shah Rukh Khan, a man I knew vaguely before beginning this adventure, is one of the most famous actors in the world. Not only are his looks and charm undeniably entrancing, which makes his wealth of romantic movies understandable, but his movies are honestly some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever seen. Each story is different from the last and each of his performances, no matter how similar, is uniquely nuanced and memorable. I’ve watched a lot of his movies in the past several weeks and while there were of course some I liked more than others I knew I had to share my movie ranking. Enjoy!

19. Main Hoon Na (I’m Always Here)

Synopsis: An army major goes undercover as a college student. His mission is both professional and personal: to protect his general’s daughter from a radical militant, and to find his estranged half-brother.

I like most, if not all, of Shah Rukh Khan’s movies but this was the only film I’ve seen of his that I couldn’t finish. The storyline was interesting enough.

And while the movie could’ve been likable it just wasn’t. Shah Rukh Khan was the only good thing about it and even he couldn’t save this movie for me.

18. Swades (Homeland)

Synopsis: A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots.

This movie isn’t bad at all, far from it, but I found it to be Khan’s most boring film. It’s a story with an ending I saw coming from a mile away and that made this film particularly underwhelming.

17. Ra. One

Synopsis: When the titular antagonist of an action game takes on physical form, it’s only the game’s less powerful protagonist who can save his creator’s family.

Despite the less-than-favorable reception to this film it honestly wasn’t bad. The story actually managed to shock me early on thanks to a decision I didn’t see coming regarding Khan’s character. And it felt like a harmless children’s movie in the vein of Spy Kids.

Was the CGI questionable? Yes. Was it kind of corny? Yeah. But it still left me smiling at the end.

16. Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (Never Say Goodbye)

Synopsis: Dev, a former football player is married to Rhea, a successful fashion editor. Maya is a kindergarten teacher who is married to Rishi, an outgoing event planner. These couples’ lives intersect and they each question their own marriage.

This movie was okay. Made by the same director behind such great Bollywood movies as Kabhi Khushi Khabi Gham and Kal Ho Naa Ho, there’s no denying the sincerity in this film. And while the story was solid with all of the angst and sensuality you could ask for it played like a 3-hour-long soap opera. Unfortunately, I’m not a soap opera fan, hence why this is so low on my list.

15. Rab ne Bana Di Jodi

Synopsis: A breathtaking, goose flesh igniting, awe-inspiring love journey of an ordinary man Suri and his ‘total opposite’ love Taani.

I didn’t know what to expect from this movie but it pleasantly surprised me. I found myself laughing and yes, I even cried a little bit. I found myself unable to tear my eyes from the screen as I waited to see where this story would lead and by the end, yes, I came away from the film with a warm feeling. It wasn’t the best movie I had ever seen but it did make me smile.

14. Chak De! India (Let’s Go! India)

Synopsis: Kabir Khan, the coach of the Indian Women’s National Hockey Team, dreams of making his all-girls team emerge victorious against all odds.

For once, this wasn’t a romantic movie. It’s a typical feel-good sports movie that did have enough suspense to leave me stressed on several occasions.

13. Chennai Express

Synopsis: A man heading towards Rameshwaram via Chennai express to immerse his late grandfather’s ashes unwillingly gets caught amidst goons after helping their boss’s daughter and them board the train.

It was nice watching a romantic comedy and this definitely fits the bill. I found myself laughing quite often and it wasn’t just the comedy that made this film fun. The story was also pretty good too.

Khan’s character, Rahul, must ride a train that takes him to a city where his grandfather wanted his ashes to be laid to rest. On the train, he meets a woman who lands them both in trouble when she reveals to him that she’s been kidnapped. It’s quite a wild ride of a story that had me totally riveted from beginning to end.

12. Mohabbatein (Love Stories)

Synopsis: A film about the battle between love and fear, between two stubborn men and their opposing beliefs and the outcome of the love stories of 3 couples.

This film features one of Khan’s best performances as a kind-hearted music teacher and by the end, I was a weeping mess.

11. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

Synopsis: After marrying a poor woman, rich Rahul is disowned by his father and moves to London to build a new life. Years later, his now-grown younger brother Rohan embarks on a mission to bring Rahul back home and reunite the family.

One of the most iconic Bollywood movies of all time, this movie was my introduction to Shah Rukh Khan and boy was that an introduction. This movie was undoubtedly very corny in some areas but when it chose to take itself seriously it did so very well. I couldn’t stop crying through the last forty minutes of the movie.

10. Darr (Fear)

Synopsis: A woman plans to marry a navy officer but she is also the object of another man’s obsession.

Do you want to talk about a suspenseful movie that leaves you on the edge of your seat the whole time? Yeah, that’s Darr. This film features Khan as a villain and what an antagonist he was as he portrays the very creepy love-stricken stalker. The frustration and fear I felt while watching this entire movie is the reason why it had to be featured as one of my ten favorite SRK films.

9. Don 2

Synopsis: Don turns himself in and escapes with Vardhaan from prison, following which he recruits a team to steal currency printing plates from a bank in Berlin.

Considering how much I enjoyed the first one I wasn’t expecting the sequel to be almost just as good and yet, it was. Sure, it got a bit boring at parts but it made up for it with a fascinating last forty minutes and a conclusion that had me clapping my hands with elation.

Shah Rukh Khan knows how to play a villain and his performance as Don is honestly one of my favorites of his. Plus, it has Priyanka Chopra in it which is also a nice bonus.

8. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Something Happens)

Synopsis: During their college years, Anjali was in love with her best-friend Rahul, but he had eyes only for Tina. Years later, Rahul and the now-deceased Tina’s eight-year-old daughter attempts to reunite her father and Anjali.

Like Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham, this movie had its various moments of corniness but when it took itself seriously the movie was absolutely fantastic. I’m not a fan of love triangles but this movie handled it so brilliantly that I found myself completely invested. By the film’s conclusion, I, once again, couldn’t contain my tears.

7. Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Synopsis: A woman is made to realize that her prayers and sacrifice to save her boyfriend’s life may have led him to a fate worse than death.

This was a movie that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I did yet as the story unfolded with plot twist after plot twist it quickly became one of the best Shah Rukh Khan movies that I had ever seen. It eventually got to a point where I had no idea how the story would conclude and again when it did, my eyes were wet.

6. Don

Synopsis: Vijay is recruited by a police officer to masquerade as his lookalike Don, the leader of an international gang of smugglers. Things go wrong when the officer is killed and Vijay is left to fend for himself.

Move aside The Bourne Identity, have you seen Don? This movie had me worried because its poster wasn’t too engaging but when I watched the film I was instantly intrigued. Khan doesn’t play a good guy in this film but instead plays an appropriately villainous crime boss. The plot twists in this movie made it unforgettable and cemented it as one of my favorite SRK films.

5. Devdas

Synopsis: After his wealthy family prohibits him from marrying the woman he is in love with, Devdas Mukherjee’s life spirals further and further out of control as he takes up alcohol and a life of vice to numb the pain.

This is one of those timeless novels that gets adapted in cinematic form over and over again with the newest talent poised to portray the iconic characters. When I watched this film I wasn’t expecting one of the most tragic love stories I’ve ever witnessed in a movie but that’s what I got.

I’ve never watched a romantic film more depressing and boy did this put me through the wringer emotionally. Its final minutes were the epitome of shocking, leaving me literally slack-jawed as the credits began to roll.

4. Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge

Synopsis: When Raj meets Simran in Europe, it isn’t love at first sight but when Simran moves to India for an arranged marriage, love makes its presence felt.

Becoming the longest-running movie in Indian cinema (yes, you can still watch it in theaters) this film is beloved for a reason. This was the film that would become Shah Rukh Khan’s breakout hit and transform him from the guy who always plays villains to the “King of Romance” in an instant.

This movie has it where it counts. A great story about two young Indians (Khan and Kajol) traveling across Europe and falling in love with one another, great musical numbers, and plenty of humor/suspense to make this film one of the most memorable in Khan’s long collection of films.

I’ve seen it twice now and both times I couldn’t stop smiling.

3. Dil Se(From the Heart)

Synopsis: A radio broadcaster’s intense attraction to a mysterious woman opens the door to a tidal wave of powerful emotions and desires.

This movie was…a lot. I love a unique love story and this was undoubtedly one of the most unique I’d ever seen. There were so many unpredictable moments in this film but it was the movie’s final minutes that left me in utter shock. I’m talking jaw-dropping levels of shock.

When the credits began to roll I had to sit back and process what had just happened because it was that appalling and bold. And the performances in this movie were both intense yet not overly dramatic. It was a nice balance that contributed perfectly to the story.

2. Kal Ho Naa Ho (Tomorrow May Never Come)

Synopsis: Naina, an introverted, perpetually depressed girl’s life changes when she meets Aman. But Aman has a secret of his own which changes their lives forever. Embroiled in all this is Rohit, Naina’s best friend who conceals his love for her.

This was a film that had its corny moments but why it’s so high on my list is because of the movie’s second half. A plot twist arrives that flips the film’s story completely upside down and I found myself crying profusely nonstop for literally the last hour. This movie absolutely shattered me, in fact, it’s the hardest I’ve ever cried while watching a film.

And that’s saying something considering how hard I cried at the end of Braveheart. This movie was exceptional in its ability to make me care so much about these characters that it invoked that much of a reaction from me.

If you ever choose to watch this, have tissues at the ready.

And 1. Veer-Zarra

Synopsis: “Veer-Zaara” is a saga of love, separation, courage, and sacrifice. A love story that is an inspiration and will remain a legend forever.

There are a few reasons why this is my favorite Shah Rukh Khan film.

  1. It’s one of the best, if not the best, romantic movies I have ever watched.
  2. It’s got an astounding screenplay that delivers so many unpredictable plot twists.
  3. It’s got some of my favorite musical numbers of any Hindi or Telugu movie I’ve seen so far.
  4. And like Kal Ho Naa Ho, it’s another one of those films that had me crying for an extended duration of time.

This film is utterly exceptional from top to bottom and if you ever get the chance, you should definitely check it out.

So, that’s my list so far. I’m missing some films like Asoka the Great, My Name is Khan, and Dear Zindagi but until then, this will do. Do you have a favorite SRK movie? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.

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