|SRK speaks with Piyush Chawla after the match. Picture by Rashbehari Das
Shah Rukh Khan appeared, disappeared and reappeared.
When he appeared, KKR floundered. When he disappeared they reclaimed lost ground and by the time he reappeared, the “home team” had stormed into the IPL7 final.
On his first IPL night at Eden this year, Robin Uthappa was dismissed as he came on to the balcony. Manish Pandey was gone as the giant screen showed him wave to the 70,000 in purple.
The buzz was that could he jinx it.
He came in the ninth over and disappeared about 15 minutes later as KKR lost Shakib-al-Hasan and Yusuf Pathan in quick succession and a slight drizzle stopped play for a while.
His side was reeling at 113 for five.
In his corporate box, SRK sat down, ramrod straight. He didn’t move from there for the remainder of the innings even as his Knights, Surya Kumar Yadav and Ryan ten Doeschate, rebuilt the innings.
|The many moods of Shah Rukh Khan during his team’s match against Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. Pictures by Rashbehari Das
He didn’t go cheer but you could tell he was ecstatic when Piyush Chawla scooped a four off the last ball. The momentum was KKR’s.
Well, it worked.
KKR co-owner Juhi Chawla, who stayed on the balcony, didn’t shift her position either. She was probably the only one at Eden who kept her eyes closed during crucial moments.
Before he went into his meditative shell, SRK’s animation was on display at his favourite spot — the left-hand corner of the B1 box — after he entered the ground a little after 4.30pm. He waved and took part in a Mexican wave.
If Preity Zinta was doing the moonwalk with the fall of each KKR wicket, SRK looked straight ahead.
That is before disappearing inside.
“I can’t believe he is not coming on to the balcony. He just disappeared,” lamented Vidhina Techchandani. Much more than the match, she was looking forward to capturing SRK in her camera from the Block B seat.
Once the Knights finished the Kings, the Badshah took over. He was waiting near the ropes till the players of both teams finished their pleasantries.
He stormed into the field, blew kisses, hugged, went down on his knees, posed for pictures, did a victory lap and somersaulted with two photographers.
SRK — Happy New Year golden streak and all — unleashed himself on Yusuf Pathan, climbing on his lap and then in his excitement almost falling backwards only for a securityman to step in and support him up.
SRK chose to forget that moment like that odd delivery that beats a batsman in flow and went on to give big hugs to the members of the team to which he is a self-professed 12th man.
Eden was caught in a decibel delirium during SRK’s five-minute slow walk around the stadium. Camera and mobile phone flashes rivalled a professional fireworks display. A seasoned Harsha Bhogle looked disconcerted while conducting the post-match presentation.
The next big moment for the audience came when a beaming SRK spotted Preity and chose to give her the longest hug of all, lasting at least 15 seconds. The crowd went berserk.
After that he started a really slow victory lap, pausing and posing at every individual block.
The icing on the cake, his somersault in front of B Block — the same block where Vidhina missed SRK on the balcony. She got rare shots of King Khan somersaulting at the end of the match.
Diehard fan Madhavi Mandal, a Class X student of Mahadevi Birla World Academy, was ecstatic.
“I have never seen him so excited. He looked so cool as he went down on his knees in slow motion with one hand to his ear urging people to cheer louder. He just loves this place,” she gushed.
“Thank you Calcutta!” he told Metro on his way to the lift. Juhi looked overwhelmed. “Congratulations! Thrilled! Thrilled! Very grateful… Maa has made this happen!” she said moments after the Knights pocketed a comprehensive victory.
The WAGs — Sheethal Goutham (Uthappa’s girlfriend), Umme (Shakib’s wife) and Richa Kumar (Vinay Kumar’s wife) — celebrated every Kings XI wicket with high fives, fist pumps and jumping jhapaks. They were shouting their lungs out even after the match got over.