x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Can we do Bollywood? Yes, we Khan

The highly anticipated film My Name is Khan, starring the Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, will have its world premiere in Abu Dhabi.

The protagonist of My Name is Khan travels to the US trying to prove his surname does not make him a terrorist.
The protagonist of My Name is Khan travels to the US trying to prove his surname does not make him a terrorist.

ABU DHABI // The highly anticipated film My Name is Khan, starring the Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, will have its world premiere in Abu Dhabi next week. Thousands of fans are expected to descend on the Emirates Palace hotel in the capital on February 10 to catch a glimpse of the "King of Bollywood".

In the film, Khan plays a man with Asperger's syndrome who travels across the US trying to prove that his surname does not automatically make him a terrorist. The director, Karan Johar, has had a string of successes with films such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, starring Khan and the Bollywood actress Kajol. This project reunites the pair for the first time in eight years. Kajol was on hiatus to marry and start a family.

"My Name is Khan, at its core, is an epic love story between two people who have a unique way of seeing the world," Johar said. "But what sets it apart is the landscape on which the story unfolds." The film will be shown at the Berlin International Film Festival after its Abu Dhabi launch. It is set for worldwide release on February 12. My Name Is Khan is one of the first Bollywood films to be distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures in the United States. Imagenation Abu Dhabi is in a partnership with Fox Star Studios to distribute the film in the Middle East.

"Since its formation, Imagenation has intended to participate in the best of world cinema," said Edward Borgerding, the chief executive officer of Imagenation Abu Dhabi. "Thus, the opportunity to partner on My Name is Khan with its outstanding Bollywood talent is a great first step toward achieving the objective. "The movie itself is a powerful reflection of the current state of racial-profiling and discrimination pre- and post-9/11 in the US, which is told in an accessible and entertaining way. We are convinced it will captivate audiences not only in India and the Indian diaspora, but also audiences around the world."

The actors are currently in the US promoting the film. On Monday they rang the Nasdaq bell in New York to open trading for the day. It is the first time any Indian actors have been invited to the world's highest-volume stock exchange. Meanwhile, in India on Monday, members of Shiv Sena, a right-wing nationalist party, burnt posters of the film in a number of Indian cities, including Pune and Mumbai. They were angered by comments Khan made about the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from the Indian Premier League (IPL). Khan is the co-owner of the cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders, which is part of the IPL.

Bal Thackeray, the head of the Shiv Sena, accused Khan of being a Pakistani sympathiser, which prompted party members to rampage and stage demonstrations outside Khan's residence in Mumbai. sbhattacharya@thenational.ae