Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone at an interaction with the press in Mumbai Image Credit: Twitter@@dishaspovs

Shah Rukh Khan has thanked, without naming anyone, "all those" whom he had "made calls to", for enabling "Pathaan" "to be watched by people with love".

He said this at a nationally televised interaction with the media and fans at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. Journalists were not allowed to pose questions at the event organised by Yash Raj Films on Monday.

The superstar's comment brought back the recent memory of his phone call to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, urging him to ensure certain groups were not allowed to disrupt "Pathaan" screenings in his state. Before the call, Sarma had famously declared at a press conference: "Who is Shah Rukh Khan?"

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika address their first press conference in Mumbai

Thanking "the people" he had made calls to, SRK said: "They all took charge of the situation and people were able to see the film with love."

Declaring that the film was an "experience of love", he said: "It was a fun film for fun people. And they were able to come out and watch it with love." In a message no doubt directed at the 'Boycott Bollywood' brigade, he said: "People should enjoy films with love. A film is more than an empty pack of popcorn."

In a nod to the film's mega box-office success and the hordes of fans who showed up to cheer him outside his residence, Mannat, in Mumbai, SRK said: "The love for the film hasn't sunk in yet. Thank you for bringing life back to cinema."

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Seen with him on the stage were his co-stars, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, and the film's director, Siddharth Anand. SRK greeted each of them with a line from a song, showing to the world that he can also croon for his supper.

Deepika, who teared up on stage in the middle of the interaction, said "Pathaan" was a film "made with a lot of love and with the right intentions". She thanked SRK for enabling her big break in Bollywood by showering her with "love and grace".

On the unexpected popular response to the film, she said: "It almost feels like a festival."

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone
Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in a still from the movie ‘Pathaan’. Khan is the fourth richest actor in the world, which makes his detractors see red. Image Credit: IMDB

John Abraham gave his on-screen opponent the biggest applause when he said SRK is the "No. 1 action hero in the country". He also thanked the entire crew of the film, especially the music composers Vishal-Shekhar, whom he said had created two most beautiful song sequences for the film without him, but with "the most beautiful man and the most beautiful woman".

Continuing in this bromantic mode, John said: "Shah Rukh is not a star, he's an emotion. That is why I feel like kissing him after every scene."

At the end, Anand said that he had been associated with making films for 20 years, but for the first time in my career, I was really nervous." He continued: "I always sleep very well before the release of a movie, but I did not sleep before this film."

Anand, who normally goes to see his films at 12 noon on the first day at Gaiety in Mumbai, was in time for a 6 a.m. screening organised especially for the cast and crew. Since then, of course, it has been an unimaginable ride.