Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 January 2020

Shahrukh Khan captivates fans in Dubai

Crowds of devoted fans swarmed into the Madinat Arena for a glimpse of their Bollywood idol, Shahrukh Khan, and to listen to chat between the star and others associated with his new film, Don 2.
:From left, Farhan Akhtar, Shahrukh Khan, the moderator Anuradha Sengupta, Priyanka Chopra and Ritesh Sidhwani at Madinat Arena yesterday.
:From left, Farhan Akhtar, Shahrukh Khan, the moderator Anuradha Sengupta, Priyanka Chopra and Ritesh Sidhwani at Madinat Arena yesterday.

DUBAI // Hordes of screaming fans descended on Jumeirah's Madinat Arena theatre yesterday to see the man dubbed The King of Bollywood.

"I love Shahrukh Khan from the bottom of my heart," said the Dubai socialite Meena Ramchandani. "My friend called me and said she had a spare ticket so I rushed here in 15 minutes.

"I wanted to get a blow-dry but I thought forget it. I just have to get here and see him."

The mum of two, who can proudly recite lines from Khan's complete back catalogue of movies, said the star stands head and shoulders above other Bollywood actors.

"There are plenty who have talent and can sing, dance and act, but his way of doing things is very different," Mrs Ramchandani said. "He takes things to a new level and has a very down-to-earth attitude. And of course, he is the best looking."

Dressed casually in jeans, trainers and a black jacket, and with his hair swept back in a ponytail, Khan was in town to promote his coming action thriller Don 2, which is set for release on December 23.

The Indian cinema star took to the stage for an informal question session alongside his director Farhan Akhtar, co-star Priyanka Chopra and producer Ritesh Sidhwani.

"An Afternoon with Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka, Farhan and Ritesh" was part of the Dubai International Film Festival's celebration of Indian movies.

"I really enjoyed [playing] Don for many reasons," said Khan. "He is my favourite character - his meanness, his sensuality, the no-justification manner.

"And I've said to Farhan, let's do part 3, part 4 - please, keep making them. And for part 10 we've decided Priyanka will become Don," he said, laughing.

The latest instalment sees Don, having conquered the Asian underworld, take on the European bad guys while deftly avoiding arrest and assassination.

"We've seen examples of sequels having to be made and it was crucial not to fall into that trap," said Akhtar.

"There has to be a balance between whether the audience wants more - a genuine affection for this character - and then you really have to have a good story."

Having previously said the first film was the vision of his father, the screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar, the director said this script was penned by ardent fans, the writers Ameet Mehta and Amrish Shah.

"They're the coolest lines you could write for anyone," Akhtar said. "You could never use them in real life."

Chopra, the actress and former Miss World, agreed and said she loved the direction in which Akhtar and Sidhwani had developed the title character.

"He makes bad look so good," she said. "He's an alter ego to all of us."

As for Roma, the vengeful femme fatale she portrays, Chopra relished the chance to shrug off the conventional female romantic lead role.

"She's become angrier. I'm a tough chick and I love it," she said. "There's a love-hate relationship between the two characters and that was the best part of the film - because she hates him then falls in love with him."

The movie trailer drew rapturous applause from the 200-strong crowd, whose 3D glasses showed the chase scenes to full effect.

"The next step is to take the glasses off so you can watch it without," said Khan. "India is hugely ready with the new technology and formats. And in a few years 3D will be the norm, not the exception."

Filmed in locations from Malaysia to Germany, the movie should have international appeal, Chopra said.

"Hindi cinema is expanding despite having a language barrier," she said. "There's the preconceived notion that Indian films are all song and dance, and people springing out of gardens. But we also make slick action films."

rduane@thenational.ae

Updated: December 9, 2011 04:00 AM

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