Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Shah Rukh and Aamir: Khan they?
“We have to reach early,” I told a friend. “Or else we will never find a place to sit.”
Sure enough, even though we reached a good 45 minutes before the actual event, the seats in the first row were occupied.
We contented ourselves by sitting in the second row and discussing what was most likely a “historic moment” — at least for us film journalists — actors Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan on the same podium, speaking in one voice, as “friends”.
Keep in mind that these stars were once taking pot shots at each other almost daily in the media, so this sudden camaraderie was somewhat of a bolt from the blue. No wonder then that pretty much the entire press corps was in attendance, and even before the two Khans entered, their agenda was being dissected.
“They are already in the building… they are discussing what should be said… Aamir was the one who initiated the talks,” were some of the whispers one heard.
Given the anticipation was so great, when the two stars did appear on stage, almost every eye in the room was on them, trying to read between the lines.
Although the topic at hand was the ongoing tussle between producers and exhibitors, it was obvious the real story was the two Khans together on one podium, and each and every action was up for scrutiny.
Why was Shah Rukh looking into space when Aamir was talking? Did Aamir forget to mention any SRK films when he talked about the blockbusters of the decade? Was this a put-on act for the sake of the cameras?
Yes, I know, journalists have an overactive imagination — it’s a professional hazard.
Every time, the two Khans even leaned towards each other, a hundred cameras worked overtime, prompting the evening’s moderator, filmmaker Karan Johar to remark — “We promise you they will both hug at the end of the conference.”
But Shah Rukh Khan said he had “no problems” sitting on the same dais, same car, same house and working in the same film as Aamir, and said all talk of their rivalry was a “non-issue”.
Aamir, for his part, said (jokingly, we hope) — “I think we should get out the boxing gloves now.”
I think I am going to take that with a pinch of salt. What about you? Do you think these two megastars have actually kissed and made up?