Karunya had all the right to be on cloud nine, as she got what others had only dreamt of. She was able to share the stage with the ‘king’ of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan.
The Delhi-based girl, who arrived in Kochi to attend the silver jubilee celebrations of the International Advertising Association India Chapter, had tried all the tricks to get the attention of the star.
In desperation she walked down from the seating area, arranged for delegates, borrowed a microphone from the security guard, and requested Khan to perform a romantic piece, only to be followed by another request, “Shah Rukh, can I join you there?” King Khan immediately invited her to the stage, planted a kiss on her hand, before bidding her goodbye, as he crooned the beginning lines of ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’.
It was enough for the girl to cherish the moment for a lifetime. And for others, it was a time of jealousy and anguish.
The venue, Le Meridien Kochi, had become a security fortress, while the hall itself was cordoned off to prevent any intrusion by fans.
The hype was such that even an inspiring speech by Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India, seemed disappointing, although it was a well-articulated one. Ending the speculation, Shah Rukh entered the arena, amidst thunderous applause and whistles,while the music from the film, ‘Don: The Chase Begins’ played in the background.
During his speech, which often bought a guffaw from the audience, thanks to the humourous asides, Khan highlighted that public figures also had the right to have private spaces. But he added that he never longed for it. “If I get it I am thrilled,” he said. “If I don’t, then I am okay, too.”
While responding to a question from the audience, Shah Rukh let the cat out of the bag, on what makes him attracted to women and vice versa.
“I have always been surrounded by women: mother, sister, daughter, wife and wonderful actresses,” he said. “To me, a woman asking for equality is on the wrong side, as they are more equal than men. I don’t have any psychology for you (boys) to lure women. But the mantra is: be gentle, courteous, and extremely respectful to a lady. And treat her like a partner. It may sound old-fashioned, but it will win hearts.” In response to a question on being a role model, Khan said, “I am not a teacher. And I am not someone to be inspired about. For youngsters I have this to say: just do what you feel like and be honest. There is no point in denying that I have been fortunate enough to reach where I am now.”
He also said that there is a pressure on public figures to hold back their opinions on controversial subjects fearing a backlash. “Many times they have been misquoted. I believe that at some point, they should have the right to speak out like that of an ordinary guy. But during a time of turbulence I follow the simple logic of keeping my mouth shut, even though I have an opinion.”
Like that of his entry, which was unexpected, his retreat was also sudden. The audience, who were under the spell of the ‘dream boy’ for 45 minutes, were roused from the same only to learn that their ‘Baadshah’ had gone.
They might have been reminded of the dialogue from the film ‘Don’: “Don Ko Pakadna Mushkil Hi Nahi Namumkin Hai.”