Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

FEATURE: FEMINA/THE SRK REVELATIONS

I cannot, in all honesty, say that meeting Shah Rukh Khan changed my life. But yes, it shattered some long-held myths and reinforced  some others.

The meeting occurred when SRK was shooting in my office for his home production ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hain Hindustani’. When the news sizzled – and I use the word ‘sizzled’ advisedly – upwards  to the fourth floor of the Times Building, it caused a flutter in the Femina office, where I was at the time. A couple of journalists  shrieked, one was seen smoothing her hair and the Beauty Editor actually pulled out her compact.

Myth shattered: That hard-bitten journalists who see their share of celebrities all in a day’s work, are a blasé lot. Not.

After smoothing my hair (okay, that was me!), I went over to the Filmfare desk and infusing a sense of urgency in my tone, told them they must bring SRK to our floor. After the initial amusement subsided, the Filmfare guys realised we were serious (by then, I had backing), and that their image as star buddies was at stake. SRK was there for a day,  but we were their colleagues with unlimited heckling potential for life.

Myth reinforced: Women will take devious routes to get their way.

The Filmfare journalists delivered. Mid-morning, SRK walked into our office area. He was singularly unremarkable in appearance, a nut-brown complexion and a prominent nose being his chief characteristics. That didn’t stop us drooling. He looked a trifle  uneasy and uncomfortable when the aforementioned Beauty  Editor walked over to him, arm outstretched, hand held stiff in anticipation of a momentous shake, announcing in  a bell-like  tone, “I’m such a great fan of yours!”

Myth demolished: That women acquire maturity as they age and lose all the giddiness of their teenage years. Not.

Mid-drool, I realised I had a camera in my handbag. Oh,  fortuitous circumstance! So I walked up to SRK, got duly introduced by the Filmfare colleague who had a positively triumphant look on his face, and putting my hands in poem position (as one about to recite Gunga Din),I asked, “Mr Khan, can I have a photograph taken with you?” All I can say in my defence, now that time has imposed its own perspective, is that a momentary madness had overtaken me.

In any case, `Mr Khan` graciously  obliged and at a colleague’s urging, even put an arm across my shoulder. The Beauty Editor and another colleague rushed to SRK’s other side. The friend who had the camera asked which button she must click. SRK’s arm across my shoulder had driven all coherent thought out of my head so I stared blankly at her. Till he stepped forward and looking  at the camera, said it must be the black one.

Revelation: All one’s education is liable to desert you at crucial times.

SRK and I didn’t exchange profound thoughts, just a couple of sentences. He had a job to do and I had to return to my desk , to  regain my equilibrium. A veritable queue of women asked for a copy of the photograph. When it was developed, it came out  shaky and barely discernable. Alas and alack! But there was a prominent nose, slightly askew in the picture and zillions of gleaming white teeth.

Myth reinforced: Into every life, some rain must fall!

 

Bollywood starhumourmeeting SRKShah Rukh KhanThe Times of India

Sheila Kumar • April 30, 2020


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