The ‘King of Bollywood’ Shah Rukh Khan, actress Priyanka Chopra, actor-director Farhan Akhtar and producer Ritesh Sidhwani took part in an interactive open forum moderated by Anuradha Sengupta yesterday (Thursday 8 December), as part of the eighth Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), in a day dedicated to Indian cinema.
The Bollywood stars are at the film festival to promote their latest film Don 2 with the airing of the film’s 3D trailer and two of its songs.
Shah Rukh Khan is notorious for being extraordinarily late to events and his appearance at the DIFF forum 'An Afternoon with Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani' to talk about his new movie was no different. The event was scheduled to begin at 4pm but Shah Rukh showed up almost an hour later than billed. Earlier, there was almost a stampede as around 1000 fans and members of the press pushed and shoved to be first in line at the Madinat Jumeirah arena to grab the best seats closest to the stars.
Ahlan! Live overheard two security guards commenting that they thought last night (Misson: Impossible red carpet premiere) was crazy, until they saw the madness caused by Shah Rukh Khan.
Dressed casually in a blazer, jeans and white shoes, SRK, as he’s often known, made the wait worthwhile though. “When I’m good, I’m good,” he joked, “but when I’m bad I’m even better," Hmmm...just like his character in Don 2.
Don 2 itself has been converted to 3D, part of the 'make-it-even-better-than-the-first-movie' plan, and SRK thinks that the technology is the way all movies will soon be enjoyed. “It is the kind of experience that a movie audience should have,” says Shah Rukh of 3D. “In the future I think that 3D will become the norm rather than the exception.”
In Don 2 it’s suggested that Shah Rukh Khan’s character’s smokes a lot (he's seen surrounded by swirls of smoke in the trailer, though not actually shown smoking) and the star has come under scrutiny for this, but typically he handles this with his trademark humour. “When you’re as smoking hot as I am you have smoke coming out of every orifice!” laughs SRK, adding more seriously, “I am not justifying the character or the movie – and I don’t see myself as a role model.”
After the success of the first Don film, it was expected that a sequel would be made, but SRK says he didn’t feel under pressure in making Don 2. “I’m hoping to keep making them though,” says Shah, “it’s been successful and now I’m a co-producer as well.”
Don Vs Khan
When asked which character he most identifies with between the don he plays in the Don franchise and the autistic man he played in Karan Johar's hit My Name is Khan, SRK says, “Well, I’m not autistic and I’m not a mafia don either, but the fact is, Don is my favourite character of all the ones I have played in my career because he just has so much fun. There’s so much meanness in him, he’s so conniving – he troubles the girl and there’s no justification for any of his behaviour.”
SRK’s co-star Priyanka Chopra also took questions from the audience and talked about her role in the movie. “I play a very angry character who has a lot of rage built up against Don. It’s interesting to see how the character evolves,” she says.
Priyanka is currently in the process of releasing her first international music album, and feels this movie will also have appeal to an international audience. “There’s definitely a preconceived notion about Indian films – people think they’re all songs and dances, but that’s not true at all,” says says, adding, “When I was recording my album in LA, the trailer for Don 2 came out and my team in LA were so surprised by it - they hadn’t expected it to be so slick.
“Whenever we travel abroad people have so much interest in Indian movies,” Priyanka told her audience, adding “Don 2 was shot in Berlin and we have so many people who obviously don’t speak Hindi so excited about the movie.”
Director Farhan Akhtar was also quizzed about the movie – in particular people wanted to know about whether the ending would be as open-ended as the first film, but Farhan remained tight-lipped, only saying that he didn’t want to fall into the rut of doing the same thing as the first movie.
Producer Ritesh Sidhwani added, “Don 2 is leaner, meaner and sexier than the first movie was.”
Farhan continued, "There's so much affection and attachment that people have for the character, we had to come back with Don."
Plus, Farhan revealed that the sequel will touch upon Don's past, giving the complex character something of a backstory.
Amid the shouts (and there were lots of them!) of “I love you, SRK!” throughout the forum, Farhan also received a compliment for his choice in bright yellow footwear today when one fan shouted, “I love your shoes, Farhan!”.
“What about my shoes?” asked SRK in his usual deadpan fashion. “I love your shoes too, SRK,” came the reply from the audience. SRK simply smiled and said, “Good.”
INFO: Don 2 hits cinemas on 23 December 2011. Stayed tuned for our exclusive interview with Shah Rukh Khan, coming this Sunday (11 December)!