Production designer Rajat Poddarr on how Shah Rukh gifted books to the Pathaan team, as a mark of appreciation
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan is known to be a generous producer, often showering his directors and co-actors with gifts. It wasn’t different on the sets of producer Aditya Chopra’s Pathaan that marks the superstar’s return to the big screen after over four years. After he wrapped up the shoot of the spy thriller, the actor gifted books to some members of the technical team —including production designer Rajat Poddarr, cinematographer Satchith Paulose, and associate director Abhishek Tiwari—as a mark of his appreciation.
Each book was chosen personally by Khan, keeping in mind the taste of the technician. Poddarr, who had previously worked with the actor in Yes Boss (1997), reveals that he was gifted The Cinema of Satyajit Ray penned by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay. “When the team was celebrating my birthday during Pathaan’s shoot, I told SRK that I first worked with him in Yes Boss, and showed him a picture [from the set]. SRK was so thrilled that he showed the picture to everyone on the sets. Since I am a Bengali and a fan of Ray’s work, he chose this book for me. I found it a thoughtful gesture coming from a superstar like him,” says Poddarr.
The production designer goes on to reveal that Khan penned a personal inscription for him, thanking him for standing by 'Pathaan'. Poddarr reveals that when they were filming 'Jhoome jo Pathaan' in Spain, he got a call from YRF informing him to go to Bhopal to work on their other project, 'The Railway Men'. “Siddharth [Anand, director] and I share a comfortable rapport. He didn’t want me to go, so he told SRK about it. Shah Rukh, in turn, told me, ‘Dada, how can you leave us at this time?’ Such was their appeal that I stayed back in Spain.”
The actioner, starring Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, is a visual spectacle. The leading man’s favourite sequence is the train scene with Salman Khan. “We had to construct multiple parts of a train, including a burnt compartment, one with a broken roof, and a broken bridge. That set took a week to be built. When Shah Rukh told me that he found my finishing excellent, I was surprised. I wondered when he had the time to observe the details. But he spoke so specifically about the set that I knew it was observed keenly by him.”
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