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Shah Rukh Khan: 'Return of community viewing is very important for Hindi cinema'

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, the upcoming film marks SRK's third release for 2023 after Pathaan and Jawan

PTI Mumbai Published 03.11.23, 10:11 AM
Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Thursday said he hopes audiences come to theatres to watch his Christmas release "Dunki" as the return of the community viewing experience is important for Hindi cinema.

The actor, who turned 58 today, was interacting with fans at the meet-and-greet which is held annually on his birthday on November 2.


The first look of "Dunki", directed by Rajkumar Hirani and penned by Abhijat Joshi, was released on social media on Thursday. The film, which marks Shah Rukh's third release for 2023 after massive money-spinners "Pathaan" and "Jawan", will arrive in cinemas on December 22.

"Not everyone attends a Christmas party with friends. Some stay at home or do community viewing (of films). The return of community viewing is very important for Hindi cinema. You have come here because what's common with all of you is your love for me.

"Similarly, the love for films should be common. People should come to the theatres and enjoy themselves with somebody else's family too... Where you laugh and cry together. With 'Dunki' too, I hope you do the same," the superstar said during the event here.

Shah Rukh and Hirani were previously in talks for "Munna Bhai MBBS" (2003) and "3 Idiots" (2009). The films eventually starred Sanjay Dutt and Aamir Khan, respectively.

The actor recalled how he missed out on these two superhit films, adding both he and the filmmaker became "so big for each other that it took us some time to come together".

"When Raju was narrating the story of 'Munna Bhai' to me, I thought he is a new director, of course, he will do this film with me. Let's do it after six-nine months, but he went away. Then he came for '3 Idiots'. I thought how big he had become by now anyway, I have become bigger. When he left with '3 Idiots', I thought let's not take a chance now.

"We became so big for each other that it took us some time to come together. We made a sweet, small film when we became so huge... So, during COVID-19 pandemic, I caught him in the bubble and said, 'Please don't go away this time, make this film ('Dunki') with me'. I didn't even let Raju meet other heroes. I'm still not allowing him, you never know he might add someone in a guest appearance," he added.

Hirani and Joshi were also present at the event.

The filmmaker, also known for "PK" and "Sanju", said he wanted to work with Shah Rukh since his days at Pune's Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) after he saw the actor deliver a "long monologue" in the 1989 Doordarshan TV serial "Circus".

"We would watch TV in a hostel room and one day an episode of 'Circus' was on. I saw a young actor perform a long monologue in a scene and I wondered who he was.

"I thought this is so wonderful and he is also not a big actor. I'll sign him up when I pass out. That actor was Shah Rukh in 'Circus'. It took me two years at the film institute. By that time, he had become so big that there was no chance that he would work with me," he recounted.

After 34 years, Shah Rukh and Hirani have finally collaborated for "Dunki", which according to the actor is "a story of simple and real people trying to fulfill their dreams and desires".

The actor revealed he watched "Dunki" a few days ago and hopes people across ages and genders will like the film. The movie has been in the works for almost three years.

"It's got a very sweet tone and lots of nice drama and romance," added Shah Rukh, whose last two outings "Pathaan" and "Jawan" have been high-octane action thrillers.

There is no lead actor in Hirani's films, which is the most beautiful aspect about his cinema, said the actor. "Dunki" also stars Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, Boman Irani, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover.

"The story of Raju sir's films is the lead. Of course, I'm the hero in the film. I'll sing songs, do romance. By the way, I'm romancing in films after a really long time. The romance is beautiful in the film. I really like it. Apart from the main headings like Taapsee, Vicky Kaushal, Boman Irani sahab, we have lots of people in the film." The actor said he regards Hirani's films as a 'maala' (garland).

"I'm the thread which puts all the beads together. It's not that I'm the main locket. It's like a theatrical experience working with such wonderful actors whose names I've mentioned. I got to learn a lot. I'll do acting's 'aisi ki taisi' in the next film," he quipped.

Shah Rukh also talked about 'AskSRK', the Q&A session on the microblogging site X that the actor hosts every now and then to interact with fans. Unlike traditional promotional exercises like press conferences and interviews, Shah Rukh used these sessions to promote "Pathaan" and "Jawan".

"On 'AskSRK', I try to answer as many questions as possible. I'm not always successful but I try to tell you whatever you (fans) wish to know. But, I'll never tell you my dirty secrets," he said.

Besides fielding several fan questions, Shah Rukh also danced to his songs "Jhoome Jo Pathaan" from "Pathaan" and "Not Ramaiya Vastavaiya" from "Jawan". He also shook a leg with Canadian rapper Tesher on the stage.

According to the makers, "Dunki" revolves around five friends -- Shah Rukh's Hardy, Pannu's Manu, Kochhar's Buggu, Grover's Balli and Kaushal's Sukhi -- and their quest to reach foreign shores.

Drawn from real-life experiences, the film charts the arduous yet life changing journey they are about to undertake to make their dreams come true, as per the plotline.

A JIO Studios, Red Chillies Entertainment and Rajkumar Hirani Films presentation, "Dunki" is produced by Hirani and Gauri Khan. It is written by Hirani, Joshi, and Kanika Dhillon.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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