Ali Peter John
I have been a witness to the madness outside Mannat, the unique palace built by an unusual King who is popularly known as Badshah Khan . The crowds outside Mannat have to be seen to be believed . There are thousands of his fans ( or are they his devotees ? ) every day, men, women, and children waiting anxiously and excitedly just to have one glimpse of the man who has been living in their hearts for more than a decade. These devotees come not only from every corner of the country , but even from different parts of the world . I have met and talked to some of these devotees and tried to ask them what they see in an ordinary looking man and I have seen the anger in their eyes for asking them what seems to them like a very silly question and some of them have even asked me how I could dare to ask them a question like that about the man who they have accepted and treat like God .
These crowds have now according to some who have been watching the behaviour of people outside the homes of stars like Rajesh Khanna , Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan have been bigger than the crowds seen outside any other homes of stars and super stars even in the south .
The frenzy of the fans keeps growing as the week progresses , reaches a new high on weekends and rises to dizzy heights on Sundays and turn into a festival on any festival day of any religion . According to the 81 year old John Misquita who has been living near Mannat for more than 50 years , " I have seen crowds in an around Bombay for years . I have been seeing the massive crowds at the Mount Mary feast close to Mannat , but I have not seen so many people gathering to show their love for just one man ." The crowds on Shah Rukhs birthday on November 2 reach the rocks near the sea outside Mannat and the atmosphere is like the atmosphere at any big festival anywhere . And what do these people who sometimes spend days and nights outside Mannat want ? Only that one moment when their king comes out of Mannat , waves his hands at them and blows kisses at them which makes them swing and sway like they never have had in their lives.
Two months ago , it was still a very silent and scary scene all over due to the pandemic and the lockdown . I took an auto and went around all the homes and bungalows of the stars and it was like one big scene of a funeral with a strange kind of darkness surrounding the star - lit homes once . But when reached Mannat , I too stood outside the now fabled Mannat and asked my auto driver to take a photograph of me standing outside Mannat and I felt a strange kind of thrill as I had once stood in the same place when there was only an old khandhar and I wondered how one young man's talent and ambition could change the entire surrounding .
And as I was leaving Mannat , I saw a group of people still standing outside Mannat and I asked some of them why they were standing there when it was so clear that their king was not inside Mannat but was not even in the country and they all said in one voice , " hum hamaare Badshah ko dekhne aaye hai aur unko Dekhkar hi jaayenge , chaahe iske liye jaan he dena pade ".
HOW WILL YOU RETURN THE LOVE , DEDICATION AND DEVOTION OF TOUR MILLIONS OF DEVOTEES , MY DEAR SHAH RUKH KHAN ?