As the clock struck 12 on Sunday night, the road outside Mannat turned into a sea of humanity and chants of "Shah Rukh, Shah Rukh" rent the air, drowning the noise of roaring sea waves at Bandra Bandstand. A few seconds later, superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who turned 50 yesterday, climbed the fence of his bungalow and waved to his fans, who kept shouting out his name until he vanished into his house for some private celebrations.
A troupe performs at SRK's 50th birthday celebrations at a suburban hotel as the star looks on
The crowd remained more or less constant throughout the day, holding bouquets and placards that screamed adoration. Many fans had come from as far as Turkey and Dubai. They erupted in joy when SRK appeared on his balcony in the morning, cradling his younger son, AbRam, who also waved to the fans. Later in the evening, the star made his way to a five-star hotel close to his house to celebrate his birthday with select members of his fan clubs across the globe.
Shah Rukh Khan with son, AbRam waves to his fans
After cutting the cake, he took questions from mediapersons and fans on a range of issues. As far as making resolutions go, Shah Rukh said he has decided to "smile a little more" now that he has hit a half-century. "If you want me to give up a bad habit, I won't," he joked, before adding: "I have no attachment to a number, be it age or box office collections."
Fans gathered outside Mannat to catch a glimpse of SRK. Pics/Nimesh Dave
He reflected on his 25-year journey in filmdom and said it has been wonderful, no less. "There have been happy, sad and frustrating moments, but I wouldn't want anything changed. I want to make at least five films to be remembered by and I hope 'Fan' (upcoming film) will be one of them. My fans are my best friends; they make up for the kamee (lack) of friends in my life," he added.
He went on a nostalgia trip, recalling his parents' demise as the low point of his life and the birth of his children, Suhana, Aryan and AbRam, as the most memorable. "I want to go back to Old Fort
in Delhi. I used to go to the canteen (run by his father at National School of Drama) and watch a lot of plays. I fell in love with acting there. I would like to go back to my old house, in DD colony, near Deer Park. Raj Babbar and Ajit Vachani used to come and help my dad make tea," he remembered.
Asked if he would join the ranks of writers, filmmakers and scientists returning their awards protesting against the alleged climate of intolerance in the country, the star shot back, "No one can ask me to give away anything that I don't want to give. I respect them and am all for the freedom of creativity, but that kind of symbolism (returning awards) is not what I believe in. Also, I don't have an award; first give me one and then talk about taking it back. I feel creativity is secular — there's no religion or caste. If there is some tension, the one thing that can bring us together is art."
Getting back to his next, Dilwale, SRK said he feels sad that it is slated to clash with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Bajirao Mastani'. "It is unfortunate. I hope their film works. All our love is with them," he expressed.
Taking his fans by surprise, he admitted that he has not been offered international projects so far and wants to made Indian films for the international audience. He also talked about his dream to set up an acting institute. "My daughter wants to learn acting, but I don't know where to send her," he added.
Finally, on his friend-turned-foe-turned-friend Salman Khan, he smiled, "I love him; let's not create a controversy. I want his children to take his name forward."
SRK Turns 50