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SRK twenty minutes after the first time I met him at couture week in Mumbai

I met Shahrukh Khan last year at the HDIL Couture Week for the very first time. It was the last day and the whole of Bollywood was in Bombay to support fashion’s great walk. While I had seen SRK on the catwalk with Gauri a year earlier (for Karan Johar and Varun Bahl’s menswear show), he came and left and it was impossible to access him.

Luckily, he was sitting in the front row the next year, again for Karan Johar’s show. Followers will remember the show that featured Amitabh Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan; they pulled SRK up as well and they did three little jigs that made headlines across India. Anyway, before the show started, SRK was in the front row sandwiched between Saif Ali Khan, Kareena and Gauri on one side.

I sat about six rows behind him, wondering whether I should walk up to him risking a major brush-off (he was conversing with Abhishek) or whether I should stay put and keep my ego/izzat alive. I bit the bullet and went up to him.

Intelligent. Intent. Charismatic. Those three words describe him completely. He stood up as soon as I told me I was from Pakistan. He answered a couple of quick questions. Gave me a hug and asked if I wanted an interview. Then he turned around to allow me time for a photograph. Of course my photo-frantic friend Huma was too busy chatting with some random person to take the picture. Opportunity lost, SRK asked me what I was doing after the show. D-uh. Then he offered to meet for an interview.

The human shield of bodyguards that accompanied him out of the show made it impossible to meet him and so that interview never happened that year but good things come to those who wait and a sudden phone call at midnight delivered SRK straight to me.

My editor at Dawn Images told me to prepare a 15 minute telephone interview with SRK, aligned exclusively for Dawn. Fifteen minutes turned out to be half an hour and following is what we discussed. I’m still not satisfied as interviews are best when carried out in person and not online. But I did remind SRK of his promise at the end of this call and he did give me his PRO’s contact to coordinate one when I was in Bombay next. That interview, I told him, must be on his New Year’s Resolution of things to do in 2012.

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