Ek badshah ek accha dost bhi ho sakta hai, koi shaque?
Ali Peter John
I was at the Santa Cruz Airport that night and waiting for a friend to arrive , when I saw a lonely young man who on second look turned out to be the actor I had seen in some T V serials on Doordarshan especially in Circus which was the most popular serial on air those days. I walked up to him and asked him if I could be of any help .
He said there was someone who was supposed to pick him up , but that someone didn’t come for at least for an hour and I started talking to the young man whose name I knew was Shah Rukh Khan . He told me he was invited by some leading directors from Mumbai and hoped to get some work in Hindi films .
That someone he was waiting for arrived and took him away and I didn’t see him again for the next few months and by the time I met him again , he had signed at least three new films and was the talk of the industry .
I kept meeting him in different studios and was one day taken by shock then he was the centre of a controversy which involved Amjad Khan and Sanjay Dutt .
The venue was the Mehboob Studio . A morcha of some leading stars was taken to the office of the Stardust magazine and he was led by Amjad Khan who was the president of the Cene Artists Association . The morcha had ended with a meeting in the compound of Mehboob Studio which was addressed by Amjad and other stars . Shah Rukh had not joined the morcha and was shooting in the same studio .
Shah Rukh who hardly knew anyone walked past all the stars sitting in the compound of the studio and did not even look at them .
Sanjay Dutt who was sitting with Amjad saw Shah Rukhs behaviour as an insult to Amjad and was so angry that he chased Shah Rukh in a foul mood and was about to attack Shah Rukh when some other stars behind Sanjay and pulled him back before there could be any embarrassing scene.
Was what happened between Sanjay and Shah Rukh the reason why they have not worked together in any film (or have they ?)
In less than another three years , Shah Rukh had become a star and was on his way to somewhere on the top . We were having the ” Screen awards and the event managers wanted Shah Rukh to perform at the show . Shah Rukh agreed , but he wanted a young girl who could dance to perform with him.
I knew about how the daughter of a friend wanted to make it films and was an accomplished dancer . And when I told Shah Rukh about her, he was happy and asked me to call the girl for some rehearsals and after just two rehearsals he said it. would be this girl who would dance with him at the awards night . The girl’s name was Bhavna Pani.
She danced has if her life depended on the dance and was recognised and within no time , Bhavna Pani was a leading star in the south the Shah Rukh Khan magic was making a very strong impact and my friendship grew stronger with him.
I have always had this habit of making people only if I had some definite work with them ( except for man like K A Abbas’ , Dev Anand , Dilip Kumar , Gulzar and the Chopra brothers . ). Some of my colleagues had met Shah Rukh at Mannat and he first asked them where I was and then made a comment saying , ” ye Ali Sahab gajab ke insaan hai . EK baar milte hai aur phir mahino tak gayab ho jaate hai ” I liked it that way .
I had met with my accident in which he had played the role of a messiah and had gone out of circulation for six months which according to the unwritten laws of the industry is enough for any one to be forgotten . But Shah Rukh did not seem to believe in this law . He was.
Celebrating his birthday at Mannat and he not only made sure that I was invited , but had made special arrangement for me to be led into Mannat , given a permanent seat and had his seniors staffers to take care of me till I had my lunch and was taken to the gate by his efficient manager Ms Karuna Badwal who waited out to see that I was put into a vehicle that would take me home .
On another occasion , he was at a five star hotel to promote one of his films and when he saw me sitting precariously on the parapet of a window , he came rushing towards me and led me to a table and a chair and once again showed how much he cared for a senior journalist which is what I cannot say about most of his contemporary , male or female .
And the last time I attended a function to promote his film Om Shanti Om, I was convinced that the Badshah was not only a King among stars but was also a human being with his heart in the right place . I was sitting in one of the back rows during the press conference being addressed by him .
The media was busy making all the noise that they have accepted as a way of life and when the ruckus was growing beyond anyone’s control Shah Rukh spoke out and said , ” aap log ko apne buzurko ka bhi izzat karna nahi ata hai kya ? kya aapkko ek bahut hi izzatdaar insan aur behtreen Patrakar dikhayi nahi deta jo aake beech hai “? what he said cast a spell on the rowdy and ruckus creative crowd of media persons .
And the one time I who spend almost fifty years in the field felt safe and secure about the future of the relationship between stars and so called media personalities was when Shah Rukh called me to his office and after serving me with some high quality tea in a cup which he stirred himself bent down to bring out copy of his biography ” Still Reading Khan” , signed his autograph for me writing ” To Ali Peter John , Lots of love and thanks for being a friend , love and happiness ” and signed it with his signature that could only be signed by a King who still was a very warm , loving and caring human being .
Will we have another Shah Rukh Khan ?Don’t ask me ask all those millions of his admirer and fans who believe that he is not a star , a superstar or a legend , but a King of hearts whose heart beats very much like their hearts beat.