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Shah Rukh Khan: ‘As an actor, I do not perform keeping awards in mind; it just happens

Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who launched the upcoming international film award titled ‘Indian Academy Awards’ says he loves awards and considers them the collective applause for his work.

Shah Rukh Khan. File photo/Solaris Images

“I love being a movie star and I love awards. After working for some time in the industry, we all reach a point from where we need some kind of applause and recognition. My awards are the collective applause for the work that I have done that year or on a film,” Shah Rukh told media here.

Khan added that in his opinion, none of his films so far in the vast body of his work is worthy of a National Award.

“If I haven’t got an award, I didn’t deserve it.. as an actor, I do not perform keeping any award in mind, it happens,” he added.

Indian Academy Awards, conceptualised by Brainstorm Entertainment and executed by Cineyug will held in California to celebrate world cinema of three major film industries — Bollywood, Tollywood and Hollywood.

Apart from Shah Rukh Khan, the event had Vandana Krishna, Saurabh Pandey of Brainstorm Entertainment, US Consul General Tom Vajda and Aly Morani from Cineyung.

Explaining the idea of celebrating cinema on such a huge platform, Shah Rukh, asking people not to compare it to the Oscars or any such awards, said: “Bollywood films are hugely respected by American artistes. Creating this kind of platform will help us to not only promote our Indian films of different industries, but also create awareness of our work.

“India is one of the old filmmaking countries of the world. So as a member of film industry, I feel it is our responsibility to educate people about our cinema that can resolve lot of misconception about Indian films.”

One of the unique factors of the award is film lovers’ participation. People can vote for their favorite films, stars in over 21 categories from the official website of Indian Academy Awards.

IAA founder Pandey said: “The Indian film industry is going global and the Indian Academy Awards is a celebration of that global, democratic academy that is completely transparent and all encompassing. Our aim with these awards is to bring a sense of realism and credibility to cinema awards in the Indian film industry. This is an academy that never sleeps.”

Vajda said: “We are very pleased to support the collaboration between the American and Indian film industries, in a way that recognises and promotes great talent and storytelling in movies. California is a perfect destination to showcase this for both American and Indian audiences”.

Indian Academy Awards will be a two days extravaganza of live performances by various superstars of Bollywood including Shah Rukh that will be choreographed by Shiamak Davar along with music and fashion shows on 7-8 July 2017 in Silicon Valley.

Dangal movie review: Aamir Khan and four lovely youngsters knock it out of the park

Sweaty bodies gripping each other in places strangers should not touch, violence as a form of entertainment, our baser human instincts getting official and mass encouragement – if you ask me why I cannot stand contact sports, these would top my answer.

Young Geeta and Babita Phogat have far more mundane reasons for hating wrestling: no girl they know does it, so why should they? Dangal is the story of their father’s bulldog-like determination to make them gold medal winners for India, and the girls’ own passage from aversion to passion for the sport.

Nitesh Tiwari’s third film as director is based on the real-life story of Haryana’s Mahavir Singh Phogat, patriarch and coach of one of the country’s most unusual sporting families: his daughters are all wrestling champions, the eldest two — Geeta and Babita — are Commonwealth Games gold medallists, and Geeta is the first Indian woman wrestler to have ever qualified for the Olympics.

This achievement is particularly striking considering that Haryana has one of India’s worst child sex ratios and a horrifying track record in the matter of female foeticide and infanticide.

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Dangal is about Mahavir’s single-mindedness which brings him into conflict with his wife, his community, the country’s sporting establishment and ultimately, even Geeta.

The first half of the film is riveting in every way imaginable. Mahavir (played by Aamir Khan) gives up his wrestling dreams to financially support his family. He then decides to turn his yet-to-be-born sons into wrestlers who will bring home golds for India. This dream too is crushed when he and his wife Daya have four daughters instead in succession.

One day when Geeta and Babita bash up a couple of local boys for abusing them, Mahavir sees the light. He forgot, he says, that a gold medal is gold whether won by a boy or a girl.

The songs neatly woven into the narrative in these scenes are catchy, their lyrics steeped in hilarious colloquialisms. The acting is singularly flawless all around.

Geeta and Babita as children are played by two brilliant debutants, Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, who knock it out of the park in every scene (if I may borrow a phrase from another game). And the storytelling matches up.

No effort is made to gloss over Mahavir’s flaws: he is a dictator at home and a terror outside. This is, without question, a traditional set-up where the husband/father’s word matters more than anyone else’s opinions or beliefs. Even the local people are afraid of him, but that does not stop them from gossipping about this man who, they are convinced, will drive his daughters to ruin by forcing them into a field they believe no woman should touch with a barge pole.

Dear Zindagi movie review: Incredibly cute Alia, Shah Rukh Khan need a more consistent script

Dear Zindagi is clearly straining at the formula-ridden Bollywood straitjacket to give us a refreshing take on love and family, and for the most part it sticks to its guns. In the end, it does succumb to the pressure to bow to perceived public demand with passing mentions of what we have come to consider inevitable in every Hindi film, but the ride up to that point is so rewarding so often that it is tempting to look past those needless moments.

Writer-director Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi comes four years after her remarkable debut with English Vinglish. If that film brought the charismatic Sridevi back to the big screen as a leading lady after a 15-year hiatus, this one redefines the concept of hero and heroine in Hindi cinema.

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Dear Zindagi revolves around Kaira (Alia Bhatt), a talented young cinematographer in Mumbai who despises her parents, appears confident in her romantic relationships yet is ridden with insecurities about the men she is drawn to. Those insecurities lead her to deliberately hurt her boyfriends before they get a chance to hurt her. It does not take a degree in psychology for a viewer to figure out her behaviour patterns, but Kaira is naturally confused by her fears. She ends up seeking professional help, and with some wise counsel, finds her answers herself.

When one of the biggest stars in the history of Bollywood appears on screen about 40 minutes after the opening credits, it goes without saying that this is an extremely unconventional film. Bhatt’s Kaira is the focal point of the story from start to finish whereas Shah Rukh Khan – playing her therapist Dr Jehangir Khan – surfaces towards the latter part of the first half and is nowhere to be seen in the concluding scene.

In a male-obsessed industry still tending to subordinate women in most mainstream projects, this is a decision that shows guts on Shinde’s part and Khan’s evident willingness to experiment. That other MegaKhan, Aamir, took a similar gamble with rewarding results in Taare Zameen Par (2007), and this is a winning aspect of Dear Zindagi too.

SRK gets less screen time but owns every scene he is a part of. In fact, Doc Jehangir enters the picture just as the film is sagging and appears to be repeating itself. His arrival immediately lifts Dear Zindagi. It sags again occasionally thereafter, but never when he is around. Besides, there is such warmth in Kaira’s interactions with the Doc that it envelops the rest of the narrative too.

It is worth mentioning that Khan in this new phase of his career when he is acknowledging his age gracefully, showing us a dash of gray and a whiff of wrinkles, is looking hot.

Kaira explodes in anger at one point when someone describes her as a pataka (firecracker). Well, that’s precisely what Bhatt is – a pataka with pizzazz and verve. What makes her so impactful is that she has had an internal journey with each of her roles so far, and not so far allowed that journey to be overshadowed by her attractive personality. Kaira is simultaneously exasperating and endearing, and Bhatt remains in control of that difficult blend throughout.

Still, the film needed more matter to wrap around these two lovely stars, and Dear Zindagi too often does not. Some of that comes from the failure to build up the satellite characters who are Kaira’s go-to people in times of need. We get that she is pre-occupied with her own emotional struggles to the point of not noticing their problems, but that is no excuse for the writing to neglect them too.

Who is Fatima (Ira Dubey) beyond being a mature, married friend? Who is Jackie (Yashaswini Dayama) beyond being a sweet, supportive, possibly younger friend? Who and what is that chubby male colleague beyond being chubby and funny? Who is her brother Kiddo (Rohit Saraf) whom she loves, beyond being her brother Kiddo whom she loves? Who and what are her boyfriends Sid (Angad Bedi), Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor) and Rumi (Ali Zafar) beyond being a good-looking restaurateur, a good-looking producer and a good-looking musician?

(Spoiler alert) And then there are those two oh-no moments towards the end – you know the kind that make you say, “Oh no, you too Dear Zindagi”? One of them seems to go along with the traditional view that characters played by a major male star and a major female star must inevitably be attracted to each other if they interact long enough in a story; the other underlines the essentiality of a man in a woman’s life to make her feel complete. Both are fleeting suggestions, but they pull down the film’s assuredness about what it is trying to say until then. Oh no, you too Dear Zindagi? (Spoiler alert ends)

For this and other reasons the film is inconsistent and intermittently lightweight. Yet, there is much else to recommend in Dear Zindagi.

The use of music, Amit Trivedi’s breezy tunes and Kausar Munir’s conversational lyrics are lots of fun, as are Kaira’s many amusing interactions with her friends. DoP Laxman Utekar fills the film with pretty frames of Goa beyond what we are used to seeing of that picturesque state, and is just as imaginative in his focus on Khan and Bhatt’s faces. Watch out for the closing shots of Bhatt on a beach.

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From an industry that usually treats parents as deities deserving to be worshipped, it is also unusual to get a story that does not ignore these gods’ feet of clay, especially considering that Dear Zindagi is co-produced by Karan “It’s All About Loving Your Parents” Johar.

Above all, it is nice to see a film making an effort to destigmatise patient-therapist interactions, in a portrayal far removed from the “paagalkhanas (lunatic asylums)” of an earlier Bollywood era.

Dear Zindagi then is a mixed bag. I loved SRK in the film, Bhatt is always a pleasure to watch, the story visits many themes that are uncommon in Bollywood, and several of the discussions are either witty or insightful or both. Overall though, the film comes across as being not enough because the writing needed more substance.

Dear Gauri Shinde,

You broke the mould with the delightful English Vinglish. Since you have defied convention in so many ways this time round too, you may as well have gone the entire distance without worrying about the consequences. We believe in you. Please do have faith in our faith in you.

Salman Khan and Kabir Khan are teaming up for a fourth film together after Tubelight

Salman Khan is fast becoming director Kabir Khan’s lucky mascot. Or should we say, vice versa?

The duo gave us two blockbusters in Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), and the runaway success of these projects led them to join hands again for Tubelight, which is currently under production, first in Ladakh and now in Manali.

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Now, if recent reports are to be believed, Salman Khan and Kabir Khan will be teaming up again for Atul and Alvira Agnihotri’s home production.

Rajkumar Santoshi was to reportedly direct the movie but things did not fall into place. It was then Salman who recommended that Kabir take the project on.

DNA reports, “Salman has immense faith in Kabir as a filmmaker. When Atul and Alvira were looking out for a director to helm their next project, Salman suggested Kabir’s name. He has become like a family member to the Khans.”

The actor and the filmmaker are currently shooting the second schedule of Tubelight. After its completion, the director will move on to his next – a film, based on the 1983 Cricket World Cup victory of India, which will be produced by Phantom Films. The cricket drama is expected to go on floors later this year.

As for the actor, Yash Raj Films recently announced Tiger Zinda Hai, the sequel to Ek Tha Tiger, starring Khan and Katrina Kaif. The movie will be directed by Ali Abbas Zafar of Sultan fame and will hit the theatres on Christmas 2017.

Everybody loves a bad boy like Salman Khan who makes a good ‘Sultan’

Then comes along a film magnificently titled Sultan, with him being both a good and a bad human, and the fans couldn’t care less about who the real Salman Khan is. What harm can it do to go spend a few hundred bucks to watch him in a langot, rub Bharat mata ki mitti with his hands to literally show what a great son of the soil can do. Except, he does this not for the country but for his love.

This son of the soil is an overgrown middle aged superstar playing a thirty something buffoon jumping across terraces and trees to chase kites (not skirts—brownie point). While at it, he crashes into a helmet covered girl on a bike and her tight slap makes him grin like an idiot and sit on a donkey. Because the grand dilwala is in love with a feisty girl (who is half his age).

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Then to woo her, he crashes into a wedding (but, of course what’s a blockbuster without weddings) and slaps his butt and sings, “baby ko bass pasand hai”.  All right, he’s got some moves there. Why doesn’t he just stick to just that?

But that’s not enough for the Haryanvi ‘baby’ who is a wrestling champion herself and wants someone worthy of her. Finally something makes sense here, but our nonsense man will have none of it.

He will do anything to win her over. Even take off his pants since he has to evolve from the shirtless Dabangg character he has been. He will bare his beefed up torso and his shapely waxed legs, get into a langot, and he will slap his muscled arm and thigh like a true blue desi, Haryanvi wrestler. Since he has never done much beyond driving a few tractors on his father’s farm, he’ll need some kind of a magic wand.

With love is in his mind and heart, and the precious soil on his hands, it takes barely a few weeks for him to become that champion and change the way the Haryanvi baby looks at him. He finally does get her, though. End of story.

Oh but wait. At one point in the film, Sultan alludes to the fact that he wasn’t knocking off big, strong wrestlers for Aarfa. He was wrestling with himself. We soon realise that it’s a story of Sultan vs. Sultan on screen, and a story of Salman vs Bhai, off screen.

But don’t the fans love both really? Somewhere, deep down everyone loves this bad boy who refuses to grow up as he constantly finds a way to redeem himself with his Being Human social work activities and the good son of the soil image on screen. The bad boy paves the way for the good boy on screen. Without one, there can’t be the other.

Salman, with his history of getting into trouble with cars and girlfriends and a few knocks in the court, may just be fighting his own spoilt, brash boy image, and may be constantly trying to fit into a real 50 year old self, the professional that delivers blockbusters after blockbusters. For all we know.

But maybe Salman’s character on screen and off screen needn’t fight. He is doing just fine, creating controversies and ringing in Eid with big box office numbers. It’s a unique duality, but one that is laughing all the way to the box office. Some soil-rubbing, a taut body and kushti/MMA fight scenesand a dance with a pat on the butt does the work for the most part.

Salman Khan rape remark row: Amid growing controversy, no apology from actor yet

Here’s the latest on the Salman Khan rape remark row.

Amid the controversy regarding his comments, Maharashtra State Commission for Women has asked Salman to appear for a hearing on 7 July.

The actor — who had been issued a summons by the National Commission for Women for 29 June, and had been asked to apologise for making a derogatory comment — has now responded to the NCW via his legal representatives.

Salman's lawyers responded to the NCW's notice to the actor over his 'rape' remark

News reports said that the NCW is now assessing Salman’s reply — which, apparently, does not contain an apology for the remark, through his lawyers.

Several TV channels have claimed that Salman has said that he is a victim of his celebrity status, and his comments have been misinterpreted.

Salman had said that the physically exhausting shoot schedule for his upcoming wrestling drama Sultan left him “feeling like a raped woman”.

He made the remark to a group of mediapersons who were interviewing him regarding Sultan.

However, he had immediately retracted his statement, admitting, “I should not have (said that)…”

The actor’s comment, however, triggered national outrage as his flippant remark was seen as the insidiousness of rape culture in our society.

Several fans of the actor rushed to his defence, even as his father Salim Khan issued a public apology on Twitter.

Salman himself has stayed silent silent on the issue, and only made a passing allusion to it at the just-concluded IIFA awards in Madrid, where he said, “Knowing me, the lesser I speak the better”.

At the time of publishing this report, it is not clear exactly what was contained in the reply Salman’s lawyers have made to the NCW’s notice.

Salman Khan just can’t seem to say sorry for his rape remark

Maybe Salman Khan should realise that the solution to the current predicament he is facing involves doing something very simple: saying sorry.

On Wednesday, Khan responded to the National Commission for Women (NCW) via his legal representatives over the controversy created after he had earlier said that the physically exhausting shoot schedule for his upcoming wrestling drama Sultan left him “feeling like a raped woman”.

News reports have said that the NCW is now assessing Khan’s reply — which, apparently, does not contain an apology for the rape remark.

Salman Khan has to apologise for his remark, which used rape as an analogy to describe exhaustion. AFP

In fact, India Today TV reported that in his response, Khan has said that the “NCW should not have taken suo motu cognizance (of this issue).”

Yet again, Khan blew all our minds with his amazing Bhai logic.

Because of course, “the apex national level organisation of India with the mandate of protecting and promoting the interests of women” should take absolutely no interest when an actor with a huge fan following trivialises rape by comparing the trauma faced by a rape victim to the exhaustion felt after an intense shoot.

Reports have also said that the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) has also now summoned Khan for a hearing on the matter on 7 July.

Because of his stubborn refusal to apologise, Salman Khan is actually creating more troubles for himself. But despite all the media outrage, summons by a government body, an apology from his father and even Bollywood’s divided views on his rape remark, Salman Khan simply refuses to apologise.

This points out something very important: Either Khan actually believes that he did absolutely nothing wrong or he has such a big ego that an apology is simply not an option. Because after all, how can Bhai, the superstar, apologise?

Sultan’ in legal trouble: Complaint filed against Salman Khan and director Ali Abbas Zafar

Salman Khan recently thanked the administration and general people of Muzaffarnagar after shooting for his upcoming film Sultan.

A certain Ehtesham Siddiq, however, does not seem to reciprocate the actor’s feelings. Ehtesham has filed a complaint in a local court against Salman Khan and Sultan director Ali Abbas Zafar alleging the movie was shot in Morna area of the district but the location was shown as Rewari in Haryana.

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According to the prosecution, the judicial magistrate has fixed May 3 for hearing the case. The complainant alleged that crew has been shooting in Morna area but the place was shown as Rewari. He also claimed the people of Muzaffarnagar are annoyed.

On April 29, Salman had tweeted about his shooting experience in the town claiming he had “2 much fun”.

Shah Rukh Khan subtly disses obsessive fans in ‘Fan': Your turn, Rajini Sir?

She came up to me as I waited for my car at a Mumbai hotel a few years back, the real-life person behind a social media ID with which I had exchanged a handful of tweets over time. She (let us call her X) was disappointed when she discovered that I had just finished recording a TV interview with John Abraham.

Bumping into John as he left the set of my show would have meant notching up two stars in one day for her. As the winner of a contest run by a film producer in collaboration with a corporate house, X had just spent some time with a major actor as her prize. An unplanned encounter with another would have been a windfall, she explained.

It was a routine polite conversation with a random star-crazed stranger that will sound familiar to any journalist who has covered films. The tone changed though when X decided to confide in me. Being a huge fan of Ranbir Kapoor, she was furious with Deepika Padukone for splitting up with him, she said. So she sent multiple entries to a contest where the prize was a chance to dance with DP. She won.

“There were others there, but I made sure I was standing next to Deepika,” said X, “and while we were dancing, I stepped hard on her feet to hurt her, then I pretended it happened by accident. How dare she break my Ranbir’s heart.”

I have no clue whether such an event actually took place or was a fiction created by X, but the pride with which this creepy youngster narrated it to me was disturbing.

That chance meeting popped back into my mind as I watched Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan last week. Some analysts have called the film a risk for SRK because it is songless and, in comparison with most of his blockbusters, understated. To my mind though, the risk of the project lies in another of its elements.

Imagine Ranbir Kapoor telling X to get a life. That is pretty much what Khan does in Fan in which he plays movie star Aryan Khanna and his lookalike Gaurav Chandna who calls himself Junior Aryan Khanna, impersonates the actor on stage and at one point, when his idol snubs him, turns into a psychopathic stalker. In short, Chandna is a nut.

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theseus says: “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet / Are of imagination all compact.” You could add another creature to his list: the fanatic. All-consuming fandom is, and perhaps always will be, completely incomprehensible to those who have never felt such passion for distant figures they are unlikely to ever meet in person.

For the record, possessed fans do not necessarily see their deity as a far-away being, assuming instead that s/he is reading their words or hearing them somehow and imagining that some day they will indeed meet.

A reporter colleague recalls interviewing Rajinikanth fans outside a theatre after the first day first show of a new Rajini film in Delhi. Off camera they admitted to being highly disappointed, on camera on a live show they praised the film to the heavens. Why did you not speak the truth, the journalist later asked? Because we cannot upset Thalaivar, they replied in all seriousness, as if they were genuinely convinced that Rajinikanth was glued to that particular news programme on that particular channel to see what they in particular had to say about Kuselan.

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Bizarre? Inexplicable? Perhaps that is why Gaurav Chandna in Fan dispenses this punchline to explain it away to Aryan Khanna: “Rehne de, tu nahi samjhega” (Forget it, you will not understand).

Khanna, who is furious at the intrusion into his life and clearly does not want to understand, offers Chandna this advice that could well be seen as coming from Shah Rukh Khan himself: establish an identity for yourself beyond me, make something of yourself instead of being just a fan.

It is natural to wonder if SRK maniacs are pleased to hear these words from their hero. Is it not suicidal for a star not to pander to even his most maniacal fans?

Without fandom, can there be stardom? Chandna, who seems not to recognise the role of Khanna’s talent and hard work in his success, offers this answer in the film: “Main hoon toh tu hai” (I am, therefore you are). And: “Gaurav hai toh Aryan hai, Gaurav nahin toh Aryan kucch bhi nahin” (Aryan is who he is because Gaurav exists; without Gaurav, Aryan is nothing).

Curiously enough then, Fan seems to be gently chiding the leading man’s core constituency: not sane supporters who respect his art and are drawn to his charisma, not mere admirers, but devotees. This then is the risk the film holds.

It is a risk worth taking. After all, extreme fandom can pretty quickly turn from a non-aggressive fixation to verbal or even physical violence. Fans who watch the same film 25 times in the week of its release, deem it their duty to ‘make’ it a hit and build shrines within their homes, are just a hop, a skip and a jump away from the ones who take it upon themselves to spew venom at a star’s rivals online, who try to intimidate critics before a release and afterwards troll those who wrote negative reviews.

They are so mired in their own infatuation that earlier this week they lacked the discernment to realise that Ram Gopal Varma was, in all probability, having a lark at their expense with his tweets mocking Rajinikanth’s looks, posted possibly after more than a couple of shots of whatever it is RGV consumes before he tweets.

Offline, they have built actual physical temples to Amitabh Bachchan and Khushboo, and bathe giant likenesses of Rajini in milk on the morning of each new release. They sent letters written in their own blood to Rajesh Khanna and threw themselves at the Beatles’ cars. They weep at concerts and faint at premieres. And when it gets worse, they are that stalker claiming to be Taylor Swift’s husband, against whom she had to get a restraining order from a Los Angeles court; that woman who scratched John Abraham and told him with satisfaction that she now had his blood and skin under her nails; that man who allegedly followed Shruti Haasan around, finally turned up at her Mumbai home and assaulted her.

This is not admiration, it is obsession to the exclusion of sense, sanity and self-respect. Psychologists say such people see the star as an extension of their own selves, and derive their self-worth from her/his achievements. Witness their excited online chatter, for instance, about how “our film is a hit” and “we did it”.

As mediapersons we often end up being abused, praised, harangued and harassed by such people. To be honest, the word that comes to mind for them is “loser”. The problem with that label though is that it is a casual expression of irritation that fails to consider the dangerous aspects of fandom.

Working with Shah Rukh Khan was a dream come true': Sunny Leone

Sunny Leone hoped to work with Shah Rukh Khan since the beginning of her Bollywood journey and the actress recently shot a song in Raees with the superstar. Sunny says she found it difficult to control her emotions.

Sunny will be seen shaking a leg with the Dilwale actor in the reprise version of the 1980 chartbuster ‘Laila O Laila‘ in the film.

The Mastizaade actress feels proud to have worked with Shah Rukh, as she had wished for the opportunity “every single day”.

“Working with Shah Rukh was unbelievable, it was a dream come true. When you wish for something every single day and then you get a chance, just the offer to work with somebody like him, it was a very proud moment for me,” she told PTI in an exclusive interview.

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Even though the 34-year-old actress has made a mark for herself in Bollywood with several films to her credit, she got very emotional when she saw herself with Shah Rukh in one frame.

“I was the happiest ever. To see myself and Shah Rukh on the screen, in one frame, that was the first time I saw, the first shot, it was very emotional for me. I was like ‘I have make-up on, control your emotions’. I was constantly saying, ‘Oh God! My first shot with him, thank you’.”

Usually bold and confident in her demeanour, Sunny, was a bundle of nerves when she met the 50-year-old actor on the movie’s set. The Ragini MMS 2 star said that she behaved like a “dork” in front of him.

“He is very nice, respectful, and professional. I am such a dork, I get shy. I am like that person who doesn’t know what to talk when that person is standing in front of you. You admire them, look upto them and you think ‘they have accomplished so much’, and then they’re in front of you and you just don’t know what to say,” the actress said.