| Shah Rukh Khan at the Windamere hotel in Darjeeling. Picture by Avijit Sarkar
Darjeeling, Dec. 5: The hill was ecstatic — Raju had returned as gentleman.
After keeping the star-struck Darjeeling residents guessing for three days, Shah Rukh drove into the hill station in a maroon Toyota Qualis from Siliguri around 4.30 pm.
The actor was scheduled to arrive here on December 2 to begin shooting for choreographer Farah Khan’s debut as director Main Hoon Na.
People milled around the Windamere as word spread in the morning that King Khan would reach Darjeeling later in the day. They lined up along the national highway, eagerly awaiting the arrival of hamro hero. But they could not catch a glimpse of the star as he was hidden behind the tinted glasses of the Qualis.
Those waiting outside the hotel were more fortunate as Shah Rukh stepped out of the vehicle, cigarette dangling from his lips, and walked up to the entrance where he was welcomed with a tika by the Windamere staff. “I will be in Darjeeling for a couple of weeks,” he announced before stepping inside.
The three-and-a-half-hour journey from Siliguri told on the superstar, who sent word through his aide Salim that he would meet his fans tomorrow.
“He will meet you all tomorrow after he settles down as he says he is tired. Please understand,” Salim told the people waiting outside the hotel.
Darjeeling, Shah Rukh said while being greeted, was “close to his heart”. “This is also the place where I honeymooned,” he said. “I am happy to come back.”
The actor is also close to Darjeeling’s heart as he started out from here on his journey to fame. Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, the Aziz Mirza film which took him to the Bollywood big league, was about a Darjeeling lad who goes to Mumbai with nothing but dreams of making it big.
Sherab Lepcha, security officer who accompanied Shah Rukh from Siliguri, said: “He was too tired due to the long journey. He dozed off soon after crossing Siliguri and woke up only on nearing Darjeeling.”
Fans like Sitaram Agarawal (57) from Dantaro in Nagpur, who is on a holiday with his family, were sure they would get a glimpse of the actor. “As soon as I heard that he would arrive in the afternoon, I came out and stood with the others. I hope to see him,” he said .
The paramedic had mingled in a crowd mostly comprising college girls who went hysterical as the Qualis entered the hotel.
For the people, the wait could, however, be a long one as most of the movie will be filmed at St Paul’s School, turned into a reel-life college.