Dubai: Indian superstar Salman Khan took the lead role in the Bollywood equivalent of Gone in 60 Seconds on Thursday, only this one won’t make movie theatres.
Khan visited Splash, Mall of the Emirates, to launch his charitable clothing line Being Human, where more than 1,000 people gathered catch a glimpse of the actor and attempt to get his autograph.
Khan’s visit consisted of a wave, a few hellos and a quick exit after the crowds became too much.
Muttering in Hindi as he arrived, Khan urged the crowd to “get back” and said “this is dangerous for the children”.
Raka and Dakshesh Advani waited for Khan from 2pm. “It’s disappointing to say the least,” said Raka. “You would think he actually would like to spend time with the people who will buy these clothes. It isn’t much to ask. He wasn’t in any danger, he just didn’t want to be here. What a waste of an afternoon.”
A Splash sales assistant said Khan was in the store for less than three minutes in total. “He said it was dangerous and wanted to leave. The clothes were falling everywhere and the barriers were not achieving anything.”
It wasn’t all bad for Khan though as the Being Human range, consisting of men’s T-shirts and jeans, continued to receive a lot of interest with customers even after his swift departure.
Priti Bakshi, 20, said she caught a glimpse of her hero and that was worth it. “Of course I would have loved for him to stay but he is still so great and I’m glad I got to see him, if only for 60 seconds.”
Commenting on the event, Splash CEO Raza Beig said: “I felt the hysteria in my bones and had a few minor heart attacks. People’s love for Salman and Being Human was phenomenal. And I wish the cause and Salman all the best”.
An hour or so later, Khan repeated his quick appearance at the Iconic store at Deira City Centre to a similar number of fans.
Earlier in the afternoon at a press conference to announce Being Human’s association with Splash and Iconic stores, Khan kept the atmosphere lively with his trademark monosyllabic answers and one liners.
He told the press at The Address Dubai Mall that the concept was “given birth to” by his parents. “We only made a charitable trust out of something my parents have been doing all their lives. That’s all”.
He said all proceeds from the sales, after tax deduction in India, go to charities. “The trust has no administrative cost at the moment as it’s within the family. We don’t get to spend the money at all. So, there’s no ‘a’ percentage of but hundred per cent of the money goes to charity,” Khan explained. Currently, the proceeds go to charities in India only due to foreign remittance permissions, Khan said. Eventually they will be used in the cities where they are collected. The range is stocked in the UAE, India and France.
Khan being a painter himself, when asked if his designs would be on the clothes, he said they would show up on future lots. “We have a team that designs the shirts. I give my input as what I wear and what my fans would like to wear and once they’ve done it, I improvise here and there. Usually they chuck the stuff I don’t like”.
With fake versions of the brand also on the market, Manish Mandhana, the manufacturer, has decided to add a hologrammed logo on the products. “This will be on the wash care label that will identify the original. It’s not easy to replicate that. Apart from that, the quality of merchandise is a big give-away,” Mandhana said.
Khan also visited Shaikh Rashid Pediatric Therapy Centre on Wednesday. “You can tell kids are so happy there,” he said of the environment created by the special needs school. “When we were kids, we would cry that we didn’t want to go. But, it seems these kids want to run to school as soon as they wake up. The teachers are amazing, there’s a lot of activities, computer learning, swimming, painting. They seem to be having a blast. The ambiance of the place is so good that you’re so happy you have tears in your eyes. And I want to open a place such as this in India”.