On track with Don

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KHAN HE! Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra aboard the train
KHAN HE! Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra aboard the train

Shah Rukh Khan talks about 'Don'and cricket

Like cricket, it is teamwork. We have done the job. Let's hope Don sees the light of the day One hundred and two media people in a train coach meant to accommodate some 50 odd. When Shah Rukh Khan is around the impact is measurable. The scene is of Pepsi's Blue Billion Express, which travelled from Delhi to Jaipur to give Indian cricket fans a voice. Before anybody can ask the obvious, Shah Rukh shares, "I am travelling on a train after seven years. But I am greedy. I want to own one. Now I need a big enough house to park it." Greedy he is. In the advertisement he says he is doing something for himself for the first time. He breaks into Ooh Aah India, but the trampled media can only reciprocate with an Ooh, Aah Ouch! After the recent controversy over pesticides in soft drinks, both the cola majors have gone into an overdrive. "I have maintained that if the Government thinks they are harmful, they should ban it. Advertising will stop on its own." Somebody who maintains while doing any character he thinks the impact of it on his kids, justifying soft drinks to them must be difficult? "They drink it," comes the curt reply.

For a glimpse

Meanwhile, the train stops at Bandikui, a non-descript station, where among the crowd waiting to have a glimpse of King Khan, is Gauri Shankar, a 70-year-old Amitabh Bachchan fan who wants to see who is challenging the original Don. With the train plastered with advertising, the so-called common Indian fan is denied any access for security reasons. Though Shah Rukh, himself, is smoking is heart out. "I have not seen any of his films but my grandson has told me he is good. I asked him if he is so good why he is doing what Bachchan did in '70s." The agitated old man has a point. Shah Rukh avers he can't think of competing with Bachchan. "It's an ode to him. I see it as an achievement for an actor who entered the industry with a film Deewana and that too in the second half to get the opportunity to say the dialogues, which the greatest Indian actor delivered." Again, will he make a dignified Don, something Bachchan exuded with élan or will he continue to cash in on his boyish charm? Shah Rukh skips and prefers to draw an analogy between cricketers and actors. He says it's the fans, which make us win and lose. "I believe we should be more reliable on our support not only if one scores a century or deliver a hit that he is a darling. We should be resilient and patient. Like cricket, it is teamwork. We have done the job. Let's hope Don sees the light of the day."But why just cricket, why doesn't he promote the game he played as a youth - hockey? "I am all for it, let any opportunity come. In fact, I want all games, which lack commercial appeal should be promoted so that no mother has to ask her kid, if you play table tennis what would you do for a living?" How about his kids? "When I first gave my son hockey stick and ball he started playing pool with it. Now he is more into athletics."ANUJ KUMAR




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