and I shall pass on this clip as family heirloom!” (Photos: The Telegraph, Calcutta)
Kolkata: Dil toh har kisi ke paas hota hai par sab Calcutta ki tarah dilwale nahi hote (Everyone has a heart but not everyone is as big-hearted as Calcutta)
Can Shah Rukh Khan say that in the city he calls his own and not have 10,000 Calcuttans — and some more — react with a deafening ROAR?
The Bolly Badshah, who has become a “Calcuttan” ever since he went Korbo lorbo jeetbo re with his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders seven years ago, was back on Tuesday, bowling over the city with his trademark wit, one-liners, dimpled smile and just that one line: “Calcutta, you are my city.”
The stage: East Bengal Club grounds. The crowd count: 10,000 fans screaming “SRK-SRK-SRK” since 5pm and continuing in the same vein for more than four hours before King Khan took the stage a little before 9pm.
And if having Shah Rukh dancing and dimpling, singing and serenading wasn’t enough, King Khan brought along a bonus: Kajol, the co-star of his latest blockbuster Dilwale and inarguably the actress he’s shared the best on-screen chemistry with over the past 20 years.
For over 40 minutes, Shah Rukh and Kajol made it a December evening to remember for their fans — he playing to the gallery with a smile and a smart quip, she ever ready with a handshake and a hug. The Dilwale duo were appropriately colour-coordinated in black — he dapper in a black suit, she dignified in a black-and-gold sari.
He introducing her to his city, she reminding him that she’s a daughter of the city (courtesy her Bengali father). But as fans screamed and shouted, it was Shah Rukh who took centrestage, dancing with a lucky few, delivering dialogues with some, blowing kisses into the crowd… and just being Shah Rukh Khan.
“Thank you very much Calcutta and East Bengal Club. I am always so happy, so ecstatic to be back in my city,” were his first words as he trod the stage past 8.45pm. “These lights look beautiful… almost like little stars,” he said, pointing to the thousands of phone cameras whipped out in a second to catch every move, mood and moment of The Man.
From that moment on, it was Shah Rukh the Showman who engaged and enthralled the fans — from dancing to his Dilwale hit Gerua with a blushing female fan to delivering the familiar Dilwale line: “Hum shareef kya huye poori duniya badmaash ho gayi.”
The crowd, both in the VIP sections and the galleries beyond, cheered his every move with claps and whistles. But what got almost the whole stadium to its feet was when SRK, who had just slipped on the East Bengal red-and-gold jersey presented by club president Pronab Dasgupta over his black shirt, said: “I grew up playing football and though there were many other teams like Mohun Bagan and JCT Phagwara, the club I followed the most was East Bengal Club. I truly believe that not only in this country, East Bengal is one of the greatest football clubs in the world.”
Yes, deafening ROAR for the “non-playing captain” of East Bengal Club, who was also conferred lifetime membership of the Maidan institution.
As eager fans trooped on stage one after the other, Shah Rukh won them over many times over — be it with the shaping-the-heart move with his fingers from the Dilwale hit Tukur tukur or giving a nervous fan some confidence with a hug and a reassuring word.
All the while, he didn’t forget his co-star Kajol, their comfort level with each other accentuated by their constant chatting and engaging in some good-natured banter. The crowd got involved in their friendly fire when SRK said: “When I was coming to Calcutta, I told Kajol: ‘You are going to my city’.”
“Par mera naam Mukerji hai (But my name is Mukerji),” shot back Kajol in mock indignation.
The quick-as-a-whip reply from SRK? “Aur mera naam Shah Rukh ji hai (And my name is Shah Rukh ji)!”
Kajol spelt out Calcutta mania succinctly: “I am overwhelmed to see so much love. Thank you, Calcutta…thank you from the bottom of my heart. Amaar khub bhalo lagche (I am feeling very good),” said the half-Bengali powerhouse performer, the daughter of producer Shomu Mukerji and yesteryears actress Tanuja.
With crowd favourite Gerua being played in the background at regular intervals, Bolly’s Chemistry Couple took turns dancing with some fans to the song from the Rohit Shetty film that was shot in Switzerland. “I am anyway very hot, so I don’t feel cold,” said Shah Rukh, flashing that dimpled smile that crinkles his eyes, even as fans from six to 60 went berserk. “In Calcutta, I can take off my clothes and show everything,” he added, winking.
Yes, deafening roar again.
The 12th man of Team KKR also had one more reason to thank KKR country for: the city accounts for a sizeable pie of the Rs 75 crore that Dilwale has already earned in India since its release last Friday. “The people in my office tell me that Dilwale has done the best business in Bengal. I am very thankful for that,” said the Red Chillies boss.
And then you had Shah Rukh Khan the ladies’ man, who not only serenaded many a female fan, but also took care to fasten fan Mansi Sharma’s hairclip when it came undone after he danced with her to Gerua.
Yes, repeat the deafening roar.
“It was amazing to see him help a fan put on her hairclip on stage. I was impressed to see how a superstar like him is so down-to earth,” said Reshmi Mallick, a teacher at La Martiniere for Boys, who caught all the SRKajol action seated six rows from the stage.
For all those who couldn’t get on stage for a warm hug and a smile, there was the SRK selfie — a panorama video King Khan took with his Calcutta.
A keepsake moment as much for the fans as the superstar they can’t have enough of.
The Telegraph, Calcutta