BY INDIRA PRAHST
THE King of Bollywood Shahrukh Khan, who just charmed his way into the heart of the South Asian community in the Lower Mainland, told me at Vancouver International Airport that he was very glad that people recognized him here as well as in “the rest of the world” thanks to Bollywood.
He added: “I am very happy we are here and talking about cinema. … I hope [the people here] like us, enjoy what we do and the good stories we tell in films. I hope we can make them happy with it (all).”
I felt very fortunate that he walked over to where I was standing and answered my questions.
Screaming fans carried posters, autograph books and bouquets to greet him at the airport and he thrilled them by walking up to them even as his anxious bodyguards tried to hold them back.
Shahrukh was very receptive to his fans, signing autograph books and posing for photographs with them.
Shahrukh also spoke about his performance at Saturday’s TOIFA Awards Presentation Ceremony at B.C. Place, saying that he was going to give a solo performance, not with other Bollywood stars.
The buildup for Shahrukh’s performance actually started at Thursday’s Musical Extravaganza when Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia pumped up the audience by asking them if they wanted to see Shahrukh Khan – to which, predictably, the audience yelled back: “Yes!”
On Saturday, at B.C. Place, where Bollywood stars such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra delivered magnificent performances, the audience had to wait until the very end for Shahrukh.
The signal that he was about to perform came from the camera zooming in on a little girl holding a sign which read “Shahrukh Khan is the cutest,” followed by the host Ranbir Kapoor and hostess Anushka Sharma introducing him as the “one and only Shahrukh Khan,” which evoked thunderous applause.
And so, there he was, the King of Bollywood wearing a black outfit with a red coat with a fake fur collar (he specifically informed the audience that the fur was fake). He was the only performer who really engaged with the audience when he took the stage and spoke directly to them. He said that the first round of applause should go to the host and hostess who were doing such a good job. The second round of applause should go to TOIFA and those who brought him over to Vancouver.
He seemed to really like Vancouver saying: “You are the warmest and craziest (people) that I have ever seen in the whole world – thank you very much.” He also thanked Premier Christy Clark and really appreciated the respect he was shown throughout his stay.
All that wait was worth it as Shahrukh delivered a powerful performance choreographed by the legendary Shiamak Davar.
He performed to popular tracks such as Suraj hua maddham, Challa ki labh da phire, Chamak Challo and a few others, working up a real sweat which was very visible at the end.
In closing, Shahrukh Khan remains not only the King of Bollywood, but also a humble and genuine man for his diehard fans. This sentiment was echoed by a young college-aged student who shared her views with me after actually receiving a hug from her idol. She told me: “I am so overwhelmed at the moment.”
When I asked her what Shahrukh meant to her, she replied: “I grew up watching his movies . I got him to sign my book titled the King of Bollywood Shahrukh Khan. So I am really happy. I got lots of love – he was very genuine. He tried meeting people as much as he could and made a few comments. He was very humble and very respectful.”
Indeed, not only is he the King of Bollywood, but he’s also humble, genuine and very much aware of his identity not only as an Indian, but one with the name of Khan as well.
BY INDIRA PRAHST