Shah Rukh Khan, his KKR shirt dripping with sweat on a sultry Tuesday afternoon, dances on stage during the IPL victory celebration at the Eden Gardens. Picture by Anindya Shankar Ray
Der aaye durust aaye (Better late than never)
So said Shah Rukh Khan a week ago after keeping his fans waiting for four IPL matches this season to make an appearance at the Kolkata Knight Riders’ home ground.
On Tuesday, he kept a 50,000-strong crowd at the Eden Gardens waiting for two extra hours before turning up at 4.04pm to rock the house with a 60-minute blitz that overshadowed everything that had taken place before.
The SRK…KR show saw King Khan dance, cheer, climb and woo the packed Eden like only he can. Metro gives a ringside view of Shah Rukh’s IPL victory celebration.
“Aaj Kolkata ko entertain karna hai (I have to entertain Calcutta today),” SRK declared on arrival.
Mamata Banerjee was busy managing the gifts and Manvinder Bisla was in the middle of receiving a tray of mangoes when SRK made his much-awaited appearance to deafening cheers.
“Shah Rukh has arrived and our prize distribution ceremony will now start. Our heroes and heroines from Tolly and telly-wood will be handing over the gifts,” chief minister Mamata said as SRK asked Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta to step out from the crowd of players and stand next to him.
“But first we will cut the cake,” Mamata added.
A knife was brought as SRK asked Mamata to come close to the table along with skipper Gautam Gambhir. SRK and Mamata jointly cut the specially made Sandesh Cake, the first bite of which he had before putting a piece into Didi’s mouth.
Next came the trophy that the state government had got made — a gold-plated stand with a cricket ball on top — for SRK and his Knights. On the base of the trophy were the words: “Congratulations KKR. Mamata Banerjee.”
As Mamata handed over the prize to Shah Rukh, he bent down to touch her feet. He then held her hand as she patted his head. All the players received a small trophy each along with a casket.
The victory lap
At 4.15pm, Shah Rukh tied the uttariya around his waist and put on his hat. “Jara maathey aachen, aapnara boshey porun. (Those on the field, please sit down),” Mamata exhorted, as if on cue.
“Police-er theke kintu aami bhalo bhir shamlate paari (I can control the crowd better than the police),” added the chief minister in jest.
King Khan gestured to Robin Uthappa to lead the walk with the trophy in hand and joined in alongside Juhi and husband Jay. The victory lap started from the clubhouse at 4.20pm and moved clockwise from Block L to B and so on. Click-click went the cameras, accompanied by deafening cheers and Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re in the background.
The trademark SRK wave, clap, bow and climb atop the police post were the five primary elements of the lap that were generously distributed among all 12 blocks at Eden.
As he walked past blocks L and K, Shah Rukh stopped, lifted his hands and bent down to touch his knees in a show of gratitude. The crowd screamed. A few steps ahead near Block J, he spotted a police watchtower. SRK paused, loosened his T-shirt dripping with sweat and climbed the flight of iron steps to reach the top. A shower of coloured confetti followed.
As SRK waved from atop the 15-foot post, Mamata asked the police commissioner: “Majboot achhe toh (Is it strong enough)?”
The stage show
King Khan took the stage at 4.38 pm, his six-pack peeping through the drenched white T-shirt, to shake a leg to 1,2,3,4… Get on the Dance Floor with actress June.
Mamata asked the crowd to settle down for the KKR team owner to say a few words. Shah Rukh pulled Juhi, seated on the right side of the stage, to the forefront before he began his speech.
“Sar jhukake saare team ke taraf se main aapka dhanyawaad karta hoon, thank you (Head bowed, I thank you on behalf of the entire team),” said SRK, bowing to the crowd. “Humko aapki taaliyan bhi pasand hain humko aapki gaaliyan bhi pasand hain (We love your bouquets as well as your brickbats).”
The ultimate tribute came next. “I don’t think any other state in any other country in the world has this kind of support for its sporting heroes.”
Later, as the national anthem was played, SRK sang along, eyes shut. A selfie with June and a picture with singer Soumitra Roy later, he was off the stage.
“Thank you very much for your support and kindness,” SRK told police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha as he was leaving. “Hope to see you again soon,” the police chief replied.