Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan spoke from the heart on Saturday afternoon as he talked up his new film, Raees, and made it his business to charm the local press and his legion of fans gathered at the Bollywood Parks Dubai.
From offering up bombastic one-liners from his film (Main Aa Raha Hoon, which means ‘I am coming’) to speaking about the challenges of playing a bootlegger in Raees, and speaking about always standing up for the Indian national anthem as a mark of respect, Khan had an answer to every question thrown at him. Topics varied, but Khan proved he was a smooth operator.
Dressed casually in jeans, a black T-shirt and flannel shirt, Khan said that he accepted the role of a wily bootlegger in Raees because it appealed to him emotionally.
“There’s a saying in Hindi that goes, there are certain films that you do for the money and then there are some films that you do for your soul and heart. Raees belongs to the one for my heart,” Khan said at a press conference.
However, it was duly noted that Pakistani actress Mahira Khan was absent from the Dubai leg of promotions for Raees.
Following tensions between India and Pakistan, there were widespread protests by some political parties over Pakistani artists working in Hindi films. Films that featured Pakistan actors faced the danger of releases being interrupted.
However, Khan refused to be drawn into any controversy during his Dubai visit and maintained that Mahira and his entire Raees team were exceptionally talented and that all their efforts were directed at giving their roles their best shot.
He also refuted rumours that the song Zaalima was secretly shot in the UAE. However, he was quick to extol the wonders of this city.
“Just coming here feels wonderful. I love hanging out in this city and you are all so wonderful,” said Khan, adding that his sea-facing mansion at the Palm Jumeirah was a haven of solitude.
“Maybe today or tomorrow evening, I will invite my Raees team to chill out by the beach and I can make some egg burji [scramble] and have a relaxed evening with them,” said Khan,
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays a police officer in Raaes, added that Khan is one of the most humble actors from Bollywood.
Following the press conference, Khan toured the rides at Bollywood Parks Dubai. He also met fans outside the Rajmahal theatre.
“I took the Ra.One ride and got myself a bit wet. My son AbRam is already here checking out the rides. If you find him, please bring him back to me,” he joked. Khan even hugged a few of his female fans and danced to the song Zaalima from Raees with them.