It is often said that with a following of billions, much more than Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise put together, Shah Rukh Khan, is the biggest star in the world. Understandably then, there was huge buzz then about his visit to the capital yesterday.
To celebrate the release of Yash Raj Films’ FAN, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has unveiled an adaptation of his famous wax figure at Madame Tussauds London, inspired by the celebrity obsessed character he plays in the film (Gaurav). The change of outfit for the wax figure, transforming Shah Rukh Khan into Gaurav, was the first time the museum has made such special arrangements for a Bollywood star.
Khan addressed the UK media to reveal the new wax figure at the world famous attraction yesterday and said, “FAN is an emotional thriller. The film is very true to its format and doesn’t have item songs. The film opens doors for Indian films that do not have any songs. The story is very unique for India and even for an international audience. We are moving in the right direction and hopefully, audiences in the western world will appreciate the film.”
Shah Rukh said that the film, which features in part the journey of a fan of a Bollywood superstar, was made as much as an ode to his fans as it was for him to experience fandom himself.
‘The age from 15-25 is usually when people get to experience being a fan – when you have the liberty of time and emotions to fall unconditionally in love with someone who you might never meet or see in real life. Unfortunately, I had to start fending for myself from a very early age. Between 15 and 20, I already had to study and find work due to my family’s situation. And then at the age of 25, I became a star myself. So yes, I became a star before I could become a fan!’
Segments of FAN were shot at Madame Tussauds London and the film will see Shah Rukh Khan play a dual role of Bollywood superstar and an obsessed fan.
While speaking to Asian Style Magazine, during the press conference, Shah Rukh, also revealed details of his recent meeting with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their much celebrated Royal Visit to India. Both the Royal Couple and Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan have young toddler boys in Prince George and Abram Khan respectively. When asked if he had been able to exchange notes on the topic, Shah Rukh said that it had indeed come up especially in his conversation with the Duchess, Kate Middleton.
‘Her Royal Highness did speak about the children. Even though this visit was a short visit, she does miss the babies while she is away; which is the exact feeling I have right now. I didn’t ask her if she ‘facetimes’ with them like I do though! I did share with them that I have three of them and how nice it feels to have a child later in life!’
Nicole Fenner, Senior PR Manager, Madame Tussauds London said, “Welcoming Shah Rukh Khan back here after the filming for FAN was fantastic today. Having him engage with the UK media and fans was a wonderful way to celebrate the release of his highly anticipated new film. When we were approached by Yash Raj Films to re-dress the Shah Rukh wax figure and morph him into Gaurav we were happy to oblige, given his globally iconic status. It is a rare but special occasion for us and fans can come and see Gaurav at Madame Tussauds London.”
One of the most important moments in the trailer comes when the fan, Gaurav, asks his idol, Aryan Khanna (both played by Khan) for five minutes of his time. Playing on the same theme, we asked Shah Rukh, who that one person would be that Khan himself would like to get five minutes with!
‘I would probably ask for longer! You can’t really do much in five minutes, if you ask me,’ joked Shah Rukh. ‘I am very shy in my personal life so even people who I really like and want to talk to, when I meet them I get really tongue tied and I don’t know what to say. I would love to exchange, not a few punches, but a few words with Muhammad Ali! More than just five-ten minutes!’
‘But the way my life is going right now where I am working 18 hours a day, I really, really just want more time with my children, especially because the elder two are studying abroad so I get even less time with them!’
Avtar Panesar, Vice President of International Operations, Yash Raj Films, added, “Yash Raj Films have shared a very special relationship with Shah Rukh Khan for over two decades. When attempting to break new boundaries within the realms of commercial cinema, who better than Shah Rukh Khan to collaborate with. As always he delivered… and how! Madame Tussauds London welcomed us with open arms both during the filming of FAN and now for the promotional tour. We are immensely grateful to Edward Fuller, Nicole Fenner and their entire team.”
Yash Raj Films’ FAN, releases in cinemas worldwide on 15th April 2016. Produced by Aditya Chopra and directed by award-winning Director, Maneesh Sharma, FAN is a taut action thriller that examines society’s fixation with celebrity, where the line between reality and fantasy can sometimes become blurred.
All photography credits to: Mizan Rahman and Javed Mohammed