Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 04/30/20 7:34 AM

Feature: The SRK Revelations, a Fangirl Story

This ran in FEMINA, where I was working at the time I met the Bollywood superstar. 

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 for whom seeing/meeting celebrities is 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 now, 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 then rushed to SRK’s other side.

The friend who I handed  the camera over to asked me 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 button.

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, his, and zillions of gleaming white teeth, belonging to the rest of us.

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


Bollywood starfangirl storyhumourmeeting SRKShah Rukh KhanThe Times of India

Sheila Kumar • April 30, 2020

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