It might be hard to imagine a time when Shah Rukh Khan was a just-out-of-college struggling actor, making do with roles that weren't written to suit his stardom status. Yet, he did an excellent job with roles early on in his career, which established him as a fine actor.
And now, Khan's fans can relive those days. Circus, a comedy-drama TV show from 1989 that starred Khan in the lead, will have reruns on Doordarshan, the channel announced on Twitter. It will be aired from Sunday, February 19 onwards at 8 pm on DD National.
Back then, Khan was still a newcomer, a young scrawny kid with dorky glasses. Circus was his second silver screen appearance, after Fauji, which released the same year. Directed by Aziz Mirza and Kundan Shah (known for the cult hit Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro), the show ran for two years.
Khan played a Malayalee circus manager called Shekharan. Back from America, he is handed over control of the circus from his father. While initially reluctant, he soon comes to like the circus and his team.
Besides Khan, Ashutosh Gowariker was also a prominent face in the show, along with Haider Ali (writer of Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar), Renuka Sahane and Pavan Malhotra (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag).
Gowariker acted in several films before debuting his director stint with Pehla Nasha in 1993. Mirza, on the other hand, went on to direct Khan in his films such as Yes Boss (1997), Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000) and their last collaboration, Chalte Chalte (2003).
An outsider to the film industry, Khan made a mark for himself in TV serials before moving permanently to Mumbai to star in Bollywood films.
In Fauji, he played a lieutenant who receiving training in an army school. Though it ran only for a year, it was well received. Other popular roles during 1988-90 include his short stints in Umeed and Wagle Ki Duniya. He starred as the lead in Arundhati Roy's 1989 English telefilm In Which Annie Gives It to Those Ones.
In 1992, Khan acted in Mani Kaul's four-part mini-series Idiot (or Ahamaq), based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel of the same name. He played a negative character, which probably prepared him for his later film, Darr.
His debut film in Bollywood, Deewana (1992) earned him a Filmfare Award for male debut, while also becoming a hit. But his real talents showed in subsequent films, starting with Darr and Baazigar, both in 1993. At a time when actors went great lengths to establish themselves as a 'hero' or the 'good guy', Khan was seen as unconventional when he took up anti-hero roles. After Karan Arjun and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge in 1995, he rose to become the superstar we know of today.