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Shah Rukh Khan: Indian heartthrob and King of Bollywood

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Shah Rukh Khan: Indian heartthrob and King of Bollywood

Shah Rukh Khan is Bollywood’s most popular star and at 57 still its biggest sex symbol, whose silver-screen repertoire of dance, romance and shoot-em-up heroics made him the cinematic avatar of a changing India.

“King Khan” — whose moniker reflects decades of box office dominance — is a rare unifying figure across India’s multiple geographic, linguistic and religious faultlines.

His latest film “Pathaan” was an event akin to a national celebration, shrugging off boycott calls by Hindu hardliners and packing out theatres with boisterous crowds.

Fans regularly make the pilgrimage to the gates of his Mumbai mansion and wait through the day to catch a brief glimpse of a man who basks in his status as a public icon.

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“I am very happy being a star. I can never be tired of it,” Khan said in a 2013 interview.

“I love the amount of people that love me, the crowds that collect, the controversies, the responsibilities I have, the success and even the failure. It’s an exciting life.”

Khan was born to a Muslim family in New Delhi and did not hail from an established acting dynasty.

His early 1980s TV roles showcased his natural charisma but it took him several years to break onto the big screen, and he risked being typecast as a villain after his riveting performance as an obsessed stalker in “Darr” (Fear).

But the biggest Indian blockbuster of 1995 catapulted him to international stardom and resonated with the profound social changes underway in his country.

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“Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” (The Big-Hearted will Take the Bride) saw Khan play a Londoner who falls in love with another diaspora Indian while sightseeing in Europe.

They decide to wed — against the wishes of her father, who has promised her in marriage to another man back in India.

It was released in a decade when the country’s economy and its urban middle class were liberalising, with young men and women enjoying a lifestyle more affluent than their parents while chafing against their rules.

The film remains one of the most popular in the Bollywood canon, and it has screened at one Mumbai cinema every day — except for a Covid interruption — for the 27 years since its release.

‘Feelgood India’

Film critic Namrata Joshi wrote that Khan spearheaded a new kind of “romantic family hero” in Indian cinema, displacing the angry young man archetypes that matched the angst-ridden national mood of earlier decades.

“Many see SRK embodying… the spirit of post-liberalisation, feelgood, ambitious, assertive India,” she said.

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Along the way, Khan’s self-deprecating humour and striking good looks cemented his place as India’s chief heartthrob.

The book “Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh”, published in 2021, discusses the intimate desires of modern Indian women through their shared fandom for Khan and the sensitive masculinity he represented.

No film in his extensive repertoire has done more to burnish this persona than 1998’s “Dil Se..” (From the Heart), in which Khan pursues a mysterious woman across India’s most spectacular natural landscapes.

Today it is fondly remembered for its dazzling choreography — elaborate even by Bollywood standards — including Khan’s serenade to dozens of dancers atop a moving steam train.

‘So much love’

Khan’s visage on movie posters became a virtual licence to print money and a string of hits over the next two decades made him fabulously wealthy.

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His assets include the Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team in the Indian Premier League, and a film production company.

Recent years have seen a string of personal and professional setbacks, including the 2021 arrest of his son in a drug related case that was later dropped.

Khan, like other acting stars from India’s Muslim minority, has also increasingly been targeted for criticism by Hindu nationalists.

“Pathaan”, Khan’s secret agent action thriller comeback after a five-year absence from the silver screen, was the latest of several highly anticipated Bollywood films subject to a boycott campaign.

Ultimately Khan’s star power triumphed over his critics, and ticket sales for “Pathaan” smashed India’s opening day box office record.

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Khan afterwards was lavish in his praise for fans who made the film a success.

“There is so much love from all sides,” he said, “and we can never show enough gratefulness”.

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Kareena ignores Shahid Kapoor at award show

Kareena ignores Shahid Kapoor at award show

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Kareena ignores Shahid Kapoor at award show

The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards (DPIFF) 2024 took place in Mumbai on Feb 20. 

On the red carpet, exes Kareena Kapoor Khan and Shahid Kapoor had an awkward encounter, which is now going viral on social media.

It looks like Kareena ‘royally’ ignored Shahid and went on to pose for the paparazzi.

The viral video, which is now doing the rounds, shows Shahid Kapoor holding a trophy in his hands and posing with director duo Raj and DK.

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As the photo session was underway, Kareena Kapoor arrived and greeted the directors as she moved past them to pose for the paparazzi.

Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s past relationship has always made headlines.

The two worked in superhit films like ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Udta Punjab’. In several interviews, they have spoken about sharing a cordial relationship after they moved on with their respective lives.

But, the recent video seems to indicate otherwise.

Work-wise, Kareena Kapoor Khan will be seen next in ‘The Crew’ and ‘Singham Again’. Shahid Kapoor’s upcoming release is ‘Deva’, which is currently under production.

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Faryal Makhdoom threatens to expose ITV after CBB axe

Faryal Makhdoom threatens to expose ITV after CBB axe

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Faryal Makhdoom threatens to expose ITV after CBB axe

Faryal Makhdoom has threatened to expose ITV after she was dropped from Celebrity Big Brother, just days before the show airs.

The wife of Amir Khan was reportedly signed up for the show.

However, Faryal later said Celebrity Big Brother axed her over her pro-Palestine views on social media.

On Instagram, Faryal said: “As many of you know, I was offered to do a show for which the producers had offered me a few years ago and I had previously refused.

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“This time, they made a very lucrative offer and after a lot of convincing, I finally agreed to sign for the show.

“I also wanted to do this show to make it more inclusive for the Muslim community.

“But it seems from my social media activity and being pro-Palestine is not appropriate for ITV and its sponsors.

“Mind you, ITV and this particular show has had many controversial people on it before, but for some reason, I was singled out.

“I was told to step down 10 days before going in.

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“I have never in my life been treated like this. It’s a violation of free speech.

“This is why cowards with a huge following (especially Muslims) refuse to speak on this issue because they deprive you of opportunities and so you have no choice but to support them and stand them.

“Bear in mind, I was offered substantial money not to speak on this issue but I rejected it.

“For me, no amount of money will ever stop me from speaking on the injustice happening in Palestine.”

ITV responded and denied Faryal’s claims, with a spokesperson saying: “We meet numerous prospective housemates when casting for Celebrity Big Brother, however the final lineup is not confirmed until closer to transmission.

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“As per our welfare protocols, we are unable to comment on the casting process for individual prospective Housemates, other than to say that suitability to participate is determined by a number of factors.”

Faryal hit back, sharing what appeared to be a screenshot of her contract between herself and Celebrity Big Brother producer Banijay.

She wrote: “Attempting to downplay a situation when I have my contract right here.”

In another post, she said: “Do better with the lies ITV.

“I had gone through all of the relevant and necessary assessments, including a mental health assessment.

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George Michael honoured with UK collectible coin

George Michael honoured with UK collectible coin

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George Michael honoured with UK collectible coin

Late British singer-songwriter George Michael is being honoured with a personalised collectible coin.

Britain’s Royal Mint said on Monday the new coin, which depicts Michael wearing his trademark sunglasses, pays tribute to the music star’s 1987 hit solo single “Faith”.

Officially approved by Michael’s estate, it was designed by artist and sculptor Sandra Deiana.

“From his debut with WHAM! to becoming one of the bestselling solo musicians of all time, George Michael is a global superstar whose work has inspired and influenced generations with his music and his unique style,” said Rebecca Morgan, director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint.

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“Loved by millions of fans worldwide, we are delighted to be introducing an official UK coin celebrating his life and legacy,” she said in a statement.

Michael, who rose to stardom in the 1980s with Wham! before embarking on a successful solo career, died on Christmas Day in 2016 at the age of 53.

Wham!’s enduring 1984 festive song “Last Christmas” finally secured the “Christmas Number 1” spot for the first time on the UK music charts in December, 39 years after its release.

The new coin is the latest addition to the Royal Mint’s “Music Legends” series, which has previously honoured David Bowie, Elton John and Queen with coins, and will be available to purchase from Monday.

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