Blogging Challenge – Day 18

Shahrukh in Mumbai. Photo credit: Mayank Singh

The whole of Muscat is abuzz with the imminent arrival of Shahrukh Khan who will be performing at the Oman Automobile Association Ground on February 13. Husbands have been asked not to return home without passes or tickets, children have threatened parents to go on strike, no one has said, ‘I’ll pass this one, thank you’, you get the general drift right, Temptations Reloaded organised by Light & Shadow Enterprises is the biggest star event to happen to Muscat in a long time.

But Shahrukh if old-timers will remember was here in January 2002 for the same Muscat Festival. And yours truly was fortunate to be part of the earlier frenzy too, in a competitive way. I was working for the Times of Oman then, and always too eager to trump the competition when it came to filing stories. So when a reporter from another newspaper filed a report on the Akshay Kumar & Saif Ali Khan show the same night (to appear the next morning), we were livid. So Shahrukh it had to be!

I am not a big fan of Shahrukh in the ‘go woozy in the knees’ sense but I admire the man for his wit, repartee and the phenomenal brand he has become. But I must admit I did like him a lot in his and my younger days, when he acted in all those television serials like Fauji and Circus. I have also liked him in three films, Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa, Swades and Chak De India.

Now that I’ve got my personal ‘opinion’ (not that it matters. But I’d like to be in the clear, you see!) on Shahrukh out of the way, past experience has taught me what kind of ‘star attraction’ a star could have (all those lame jokes in office are really getting to me!). A teenager rang up the editor and insisted that she had to meet Shahrukh and would do anything to accompany the reporter (ahem, that would be me!) when she would go to interview Shahrukh. She even plonked herself in the editor’s room after which he cleverly gave her my number. That girl must have called me a million times. But Shahrukh gave no interview and the poor girl, I safely assume, must have cried buckets of tears.

The show itself? It was Shahrukh all the way with young girls screaming ‘Saarookh, Saarookh’ in the background. My colleague Swati and I sat in one of the front rows and watched in awe, Shahrukh bringing the audience down to its knees… such was his charm. I also remember a lucky lady being taught a few dance steps and Juhi Chawla attempting to sing. There was Rani Mukherji too and it was a combination that made the crowd go berserk with joy. The show finished by 11.30pm and I reached home by midnight. I filed the story at exactly 1am (if you must know, on dial-up internet), by which time my voice was a pathetic squeak (my cough had aggravated in the chilly winter air) and I could hear the editor at the other end saying, “Don’t worry, the page is open. The images have come and I am carrying the story.”

The next day, I came to office and remained silent. The joke was I had lost my ‘voice’ to Shahrukh. A small consolation because many had lost their hearts to him the previous night.

So you see, Shahrukh is a big draw and February 13 promises to be a biggie. My colleague who met the star as part of a journalist delegation in Mumbai recently recounted in great detail how the star’s ‘charm’ works even on the ‘always suspecting’ ones.

So all you Shahrukh fans, keep your date with your star on the 13th. It promises to be a Valentine’s Eve you’ll never forget. And if you think I went a little overboard on this post, have a look at the title again. I did warn you! This is a plug!


3 thoughts on “In which we plug present colleagues, former colleagues and Shahrukh Khan…

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