Monday, April 22, 2024

`Sultan’ of Bollywood woos Indian Kiwis in Auckland

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Star of the show Salman Khan (third left) with actor Manish Paul (extreme left), actress Bipasha Basu, show organiser Samuel Sen, choreographer Prabudeva and upcoming actress Daisy Shah at a press conference in Langham Hotel. Photo supplied.

Fame is heady. It’s intoxicating.

When the Times got an invite for a one-on-one interview with one of Bollywood’s biggest and highest paid film stars in the world Salman Khan, must admit I was a bit excited about meeting the star who is said to have more twitter followers than Beyonce.

The actor/producer/philanthropist with millions of fans all over the world, and almost 35 million fans on facebook alone, was flying to Auckland after a successful show in Hong Kong as part of the Da-Bang-The Tour that will head to Australia after the New Zealand show.

Funnily enough, I couldn’t help wondering if  India’s Tom Cruise and George Clooney rolled in one, would remember one of the first photo-shoots of his career that we had worked on together–almost 30 years ago.

As a newcomer to tinsel town, he was naturally nervous and a bit awkward then as he nervously unbuttoned his shirt to show off his physique for a magazine photo-shoot.

“Do you think I’ll make it?” he had asked, waiting to be assured that he could stand his ground despite being pitted against an influx of star sons (with a distinct advantage) who had stormed the film industry in the late eighties.

Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu is part of the Da-Bang tour

Now sitting across him at a press conference hosted at the Langham Hotel along with one of Bollywood’s hottest actresses Bipasha Basu as well as actor/television host Manish Paul, upcoming actress Daisy Shah and famed choreographer/actor/director Prahbudeva—strangely it was endearing to see that Salman was unspoilt by fame.

There was none of that arrogance that comes with being rich and famous and being fawned over by millions.

Instead, he seemed vulnerable and down-to- earth as he openly admitted: “I am nervous about dancing on stage, talking to the audience and speaking at a press conference,” he said, as hundreds of fans waited in the hotel lobby to have a glimpse of their favourite star.

“It reminds me of the time when we were really young and my brothers and I would throw a party and anxiously wait for our friends to turn up. And no one really did,” the actor said light-heartedly.

“Finally just one girl turns up. She notices there are only boys around and then walks out,” he laughed saying.

Salman Khan’s self depreciating humour woos the media in Auckland. Photo supplied.

Keeping the mood upbeat, he squealed on his co-stars as he grabbed the paper they were doodling on. Holding up scraps of paper for all to see, he joked saying, “now you know what actors are up to when a press conference is on.”

A meet-and-greet with the box-office star followed soon after, with some fans paying up to $3000 to meet their heart-throb.

The entertaining show this evening at the Vector Arena, touted to be the best ever show of pyrotechnics was a sell out.

Viraf Toddywalla, a resident of Bucklands Beach said he booked 108 tickets alone, for his family, friends and colleagues, for what he described as “an experience of a lifetime.”

And yes, if you are wondering if he recollected his very first shoot for a film magazine, he said he did!

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