Shah Rukh Khan is a certifiable Bollywood superstar, with over 80 films and hundreds of millions of fans to his name. In April, he gave a talk at the 2017 TED conference that touched on everything from his reputation as the “King of Romance” to the ways that the world has changed since the introduction of the internet.
It was a sprawling talk. And while he wasn’t as tightly focused as some other speakers, Khan turned out to be the funniest person on stage at TED 2017 thus far. The talk will undoubtedly be a huge hit when it goes online, helped along by the gigantic audience Khan has no matter what he does. Some of his choice (and very quotable) quotes:
- “Humanity is a lot like me. It’s an ageing movie star, grappling with all the newness, wondering whether she got it right.”
- On the internet: “We had expected an expansion of ideas and dreams; we had not bargained for the enclosure of judgment.”
- “I looked at my face and realised I am starting to look more and more like my wax statue at Madame Tussauds.”
On May 11th, the talk went live online. Check it out here:
It wasn’t just the audience inside the Vancouver Convention Center that enjoyed Khan’s talk. His 24 million Twitter fans started a trending hashtag on the site (#SRKLiveAtTEDTalks). Khan’s local Canadian fans also showed up outside the convention center during his talk. When I left the building about 20 minutes later, dozens of them were still there.
There was an ulterior motive for getting Khan on the TED stage. Later in 2017, he’ll host a TV version of TED talks in India, called Nayi Soch (New Thinking). Khan’s celebrity status — he’s the 8th highest-paid actor in the world — could give the TED brand its largest audience ever.