October 26th, 2011 – The day had finally come. The TIFF Bell Lightbox was ready. Toronto was about to be hit by the biggest wave in film royalty. Funny enough, it was going to be a one-man army doing it: Shahrukh Khan, also known by his cool short name, SRK. He’s one man that needs very little introduction, having created some of the most successful movies in his 20 year career. Red Chillies Entertainment, his very own production company, brings to Toronto another hopeful blockbuster. However, one would be surprised as this isn’t your typical Bollywood film. The team led by Director Anubhav Sinha & Shahrukh Khan have gone above and beyond the typical process of creating a film to bring the audience of Bollywood fans an experience never before in the history of Indian cinema. Find out more in the upcoming post reviewing the film.
Having an opportunity to be a media representative at an event like this is truly special. The ability to be able to interview the stars of the movie, being able to ask questions that we have always wanted to ask, is quite the deal. Having landed at the Lightbox at 12:30 to avoid transit delays and the extremely bad weather, I had the opportunity to plan out the evening with my team, check out the venue and have the opportunity to speak to some of the other media personnel present. Networking should be on everyone’s agenda as meeting new people does allow oneself to expand ones knowledge of the industry. Nonetheless, this was all inside and as the clock struck 3:45, we headed down to set up. We seriously underestimated the weather. At 7 degrees, rain & wind, we started to freeze the minute we walked outside. Not the most pleasant weather to work in but one has to do what he has to do to bring the story to the public. After a relatively easy check in, we were placed at our positions. What was cool was we got a spot that was supposedly closest to where SRK would be starting his walk on the Red Carpet. That got us excited for a while, until we got the news that just ruined the whole moment. After almost 1 1/2 hours in the cold, we were told that the entrance was changed to another part of the carpet, the carpet would not be extended to where we were and all this was because of “security reasons”. Of course, we were not the only ones in the same boat as there were 5 other media groups there as well. After having simply told to “move to another spot”, we just stuck around to get shots to at least have content to showcase.
It was now 6:30, the “official start time”. Of course, we should have simple assumed that “6:30” meant plus or minus ALOT. The event had not started until 7pm and quite frankly, everyone was getting impatient. Last thing the media or anyone wants is to have a rushed event. At that very moment, cars started to roll in, first with Shahana Goswami. Shahana graced the red carpet in her grayish silver dress, acknowledging fans who were along the red carpet. Those who may not recall her by name, she had a notable role as Debbie in Abhishek Kapoor’s “Rock On!!” back in 2008. She plays Jenny Nayar in RA.One, a video game developer along with Tom Wu’s character Akaashi & SRK’s character Shekhar Subramanium. Followed by her entrance, in came the director of the whole movie, Anubhav Sinha. He was in a bit of a serious mood, or that was likely the massive jet lag after travelling for 3 days straight. Nonetheless, he worked his way through the press..well, the “important” press. Nonetheless, had an opportunity to take some nice photographs. Shortly after, in came the person the whole movie revolves around – and no its not Shahrukh Khan people. Its Armaan Verma. Armaan plays Prateek Subramanium, the son of SRK’s character Shekhar. This is his debut film and even at the age of 12, he showed maturity when walking the red carpet. This was quite nice to see because composure and understanding of how things work is the first step in moving up the ladder. He certainly has a great future ahead of him.
Now that everyone had showed up, it was a simple waiting game for the arrival of the man himself. The King of Bollywood: Shahrukh Khan. His arrival certainly did not go unnoticed. In fact, I think it could have been heard for over 3 blocks. An SUV pulled up, doors opened, and king street was changed into a screaming fest. SRK was here. The one thing that I love about his arrival: he acknowledged his fans first. Walking all around the barricades, hugging & taking photos. As big a star as he is, doing what he did does shows that he cares for the very people who got him up there. As he worked his way through the media, out of nowhere, he was standing right in front of me. I reached out the microphone to ask a question but he had simply shaken my hand & moved forward. This was the moment. If it was not taken, it was gone. After taking a few more shots, I found a gap in the media and waited. He walked by and stopped for me, where I got a moment to ask him about how he felt to be back in Toronto after just visiting the city at the IIFA awards. He said he was very happy to be back as he loved the city when he was here during IIFA and he definitely liked the cold weather here. I also overheard him answer a question about who his favourite super hero was, considering this was a superhero movie. He, smiling away, said it was Batman.
All the cast finally moved down to do the official press and we were packing up to leave. Out of nowhere two of the main organizers presented us with a pair of tickets to watch the movie. That was totally unexpected and not on the agenda but it was an opportunity we could not refuse. This gave us the opportunity to review the film as well, which shall be coming very soon! Stay tuned!
Browse the pictures below, as well as a short video from inside the Theatre!