BENGALURU: How far are you willing to go to express your love for your favourite actor? For Guru, all it took was one taunt about Shah Rukh Khan from his teacher 20-odd years ago to drop out of school. His story seems no less of a movie in itself, which is fitting, considering that he is the president of the SRK Fans Association Bangalore. The fan club, which is currently preparing for the actor’s 54th birthday on November 2, was formed two decades ago.
Guru was caught for his midday truancy (“I missed the first-day-first-show of Baadshah but I knew I had to catch the matinee show at least,” he says), and was reprimanded by his teacher, who asked him if the actor would help feed him instead. The 36-year-old school-dropout, who runs a tailoring business, still recalls the ‘dialogue’ he came up with as the reply. “I told him SRK may not feed me, but one day, I will feed a 100 people in his name,” he says, adding that his group conducts charity events today.
The members of the association, one of the most active SRK fan clubs in the country, visit Mumbai every year and stand outside the actor’s house, Mannat, to get a glimpse of him on his birthday. This year, 54 of them have self-funded their trip in order to celebrate the occasion. The club’s vice president Deepak S says, “Celebrating outside Mannat is like an annual reunion, where we meet fellow fans from even Turkey, Peru and Bangladesh.”
The members have watched Khan’s films multiple times, bad reviews no bar. Some say they might have watched Kuch Kuch Hota Hai more than 50 times (on consecutive days!), while others say they watch ed three back-to-back shows of Dilwale. But these would still be tame measures of love. Disha PV, 21, has lied to her parents about her upcoming Mumbai whereabouts. Chaitra BV sports a tattoo of the actor’s autograph on her hand. Guru has been known to get Abhinaya theatre to pull down posters of other films and replace them with those of King Khan’s movies during their release. Niharika Bhagavathula often tears up while talking about Khan. “It’s more about who he is as a person than his acting,” explains Chaitra. Adds Disha, “He’s too giving. And he never says no to any of his fans.”
But being a fan is not easy, more so if you are a woman. The club has 69 male and 24 female members. The reason, the women say, is obvious. “We have more restrictions and aren’t allowed to openly express our emotions as a fan,” says 41-year-old Anita Shreenivas.
The men aren’t spared either. Sultan Ali, an artist who has been working for two months on a painting to give to the actor, says while his father has been supportive, his brothers often pull his leg and ask him to live with Khan himself. But comments like these do nothing to Ali, whose response to his brothers is, “Haan, aap dua karo ki aisa hi ho (Yes, please pray that it actually turns true).”