Calcutta: The wait was getting longer by the minute. Finally, when he arrived a little after 4 pm, Shah Rukh Khan made the Eden Gardens crowd dance to his tune.
Having apologised for being late because of a technical snag in his flight, Shah Rukh made a round of the ground along with Juhi Chawla, Jay Mehta and the team. Swinging his arms, dancing, whistling and gesticulating in all directions, he kept the gathering spellbound.
For variety, there was also Usain Bolt’s signature ‘lightning’ pose. Bowing repeatedly as a mark of gratitude to the fans, as the DJ belted out ‘korbo, lorbo, jeetbo re...’, he ensured there was never a dull moment. Even the sapping humidity couldn’t stop his enthusiasm.
“No crowd is like that of Calcutta. They are simply the best… No doubt about it…” an overwhelmed Shah Rukh told reporters.
“I apologise for being late… I’m really sorry to have kept everybody waiting… Would have been great had I come a bit earlier… Nonetheless, better late than never. All of us had great fun out there in the middle,” said Shah Rukh.
“Thoda sa dhakka bhi khaya (in reference to so many people being inside the ground), par pyar mein thoda sa dhakka khana padta hain.”
Shah Rukh didn’t forget to thank the people for their overwhelming support during the tournament.
“I tell my boys we should try and keep on winning because no one likes to lose. We all feel bad to lose. None of us want to play badly.
“Not just me, but each and everyone in Calcutta prayed for our success, before and during the final… It worked… Many many thanks...”
The superstar was also eloquent in his praise of the city during his short speech from the dais.
“I don’t think any other state or country in the world has this kind of support for their sporting heroes. Thank you Calcutta for supporting us for our second win,” he said.
“Our success for KKR, which is run by Venky Mysore and captained by Gautam Gambhir, is just because of you. I bow to you all on behalf of my team…
“Humko aapki taaliyan bhi pasand hain aur gaaliyan bhi (we appreciate both your love and criticism)... We will keep working hard, keep entertaining, and sharing our happiness.”
To the millions of Kolkata Knight Riders supporters, he quipped: “Don ko agar koi pakad sakta hai toh woh KKR ke supporters hain....”
Shah Rukh thanked chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the warm reception and making them feel at home. “Mamatadi, you have made us feel this is our home, our own house. So three cheers for Mamatadi...
“Piyush (Chawla) just told me he has not seen such an electrifying atmosphere anywhere in the world… I want to thank this whole team... Many of the members have left to catch their flights, but all the boys of Gautam, I want to thank you all.
“Jay and Juhi, our owners and Venky Sir, we all thank you always. Thank you CAB, the police, everybody else who run the Eden Gardens and the outside, for being so loving and supporting. God willing, we will do well and keep winning your hearts and dance all the way to joy every year.”
The felicitation began with CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya handing out gold rings to all the members.
Earlier, the players did a round of the Eden in six open jeeps. Gambhir, Shakib-al Hasan, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Chawla were in the first jeep with the glittering trophy. Shakib and Orange Cap winner Robin Uthappa, who arrived along with Shah Rukh, joined the others on Tuesday.
While Gambhir, Kallis and Vijay Dahiya left after the cake cutting to catch their flights, the others took the stage with Shah Rukh.
The chief minister also felt for the few thousands who couldn’t enter the stadium. She promised that the next time the celebrations would be held at the Brigade.